Nothing can Substitute for Experience



The undergraduate research internship at the Austen Riggs Center provides a rich, psychodynamically-focused learning experience for students. In this two-part blog series, we will hear reflections from two of this summer’s research interns. 

The program is now accepting applications for internship opportunities for some time during the period of October 1, 2015 – April 30, 2016. Later in the fall we will post more details on opportunities for summer 2016 internships.

  • This week we hear from Amanda Meczywor, a 2015 graduate from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and the recipient of a donor funded internship scholarship. 

Amanda Meczywor reflects on her undergraduate research internship at the Austen Riggs Center.Every thought I had about being an intern was tied to what I had seen in popular movies: a young intern thrown into a chaotic work environment, shuffling papers and doing the boring, dirty work. I quickly learned that my new role as an intern at the Austen Riggs Center was going to be vastly different from that of the interns in the movies. 

I was never viewed as a "lowly intern," but rather as a valuable and active member of different teams within the Riggs community. I immediately was given multiple responsibilities and meaningful projects. My opinions were not only asked for, but also respected. 

I was initially afraid to intern at Riggs, mainly because of how distinguished and recognized it is within the world of mental health treatment. But, underneath my fear was a great deal of excitement. It is intimidating to work in an environment with so many passionate and intelligent people, yet their dedication and expertise inspires and motivates me; their passion for the work is contagious. 

One of my favorite aspects of Riggs is everyone's eagerness to help one another. There is a focus on teamwork and respect throughout Riggs that I believe is rare within many professional environments. I think this is borne out in the work atmosphere here; walking through the hallways or into the kitchen to get coffee, there is always someone flashing a smile or asking how your day is going. I also received priceless advice and knowledge from the staff at Riggs, which I believe will help further me in my professional goals. I am especially thankful to my mentors, for all the guidance, support, commitment and encouragement they continue to give me. The selflessness and overall concern for others displayed by all members at Riggs still leaves me in awe.

This summer has been a phenomenal and eye opening experience. Through this internship, I have learned my own strengths and weaknesses; I have had the opportunity to observe staff doing what they love, and work both individually and in teams to reach goals; and I have gained a greater understanding of the therapeutic process, which has ignited my own passion for psychology and helping others. I hope to one day make an impact like the staff at Riggs does, and to do it with the passion and determination they exhibit.