Learning from Each Other



Interns at the Austen Riggs Center reflect on their experience working to support strategic initiatives at Riggs during the summer of 2017 .

There is a culture of learning and curiosity at the Austen Riggs Center that extends beyond the clinical work with patients, beyond the work of the Erikson Institute, and into the wider world. We have much to learn and much to share and it is within that spirit that Riggs offers internship opportunities.

This past summer, Riggs welcomed three interns:

  • Eli Gold, a cognitive neuroscience major at Indiana University, class of 2020  
  • Ashley Juskhas a psychology major at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), class of 2018  
  • Mariza Sfakianaki, a psychology major at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), class of 2018   

Eli and Ashley both worked on projects related to the Neural Mediators of Psychotherapeutic Change Strategic Initiative and Ashley also worked on projects related to the Human Development Strategic Initiative, while Mariza worked in the Austen Fox Riggs Library on tasks related to our archive and upcoming 100th anniversary.

Beyond their specific tasks as interns, Eli, Ashley, and Mariza all had an opportunity to meet with staff from across disciplines during a series of “Lunch and Learn” gatherings to better understand Riggs – the unique treatment offered here and the administrative aspects of what it takes to operate an open and voluntary psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center.

We’re doing a lot of learning - learning how to do effective research and learning what it means to work at a place like this – it’s great to be a part of the research going on here,” remarked Eli. 

Ashley noted that the experience was different from what she originally expected. “I feel like we have a great deal of freedom to work on what we want to work on, to pursue what we want to learn more about based on our individual interests and, as a result, I have learned so much,” she said.

Mariza explained her time as an intern by stating, I’ve been learning more about the history of the Austen Riggs Center and the people who have worked here in the past – it’s been very fun and very interesting; I feel like here, people learn from each other.”

The ongoing learning, the freedom to pursue individual interests, and the importance of relationships with one another are not only aspects of the internship, but are central aspects of the overall culture at Riggs.

For more information about internship opportunities at the Austen Riggs Center, please visit our website

NOTE: the MCLA summer internship(s) are funded through a donor bequest.

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