Internship Spotlight: Meet Kristelle!

Roadrunners, meet Kristelle Cefre, the Rowdy Intern under today’s spotlight!

Kristelle is from Dededo, Guam, but she currently calls the beautiful University of Texas at San Antonio home, where she majors in psychology. This past summer, Kristelle participated in a Los Angeles based internship for the University of Southern California Graduate Program.

Kristelle’s outstanding list of extracurricular activities sure seem to have helped her land such an amazing internship opportunity!

“I am a member of Active Minds,” she said. “I am also an advertising chair officer of the Student Psychology Association and treasurer of both the Pre O.T. Society and Tau Sigma.”

She explained she obtained her position as a Visiting Scholar Fellow by reaching out to Dr. Eisenberg, a former professor in the Psychology Department here at UTSA. “Dr. Eisenberg found the Diversity, Inclusion, and Access (DIA) Jumpstart Program which exposes undergraduates to research opportunities in various PhD disciplines. She helped me make my personal statement and assisted me in the application process.”

Kristelle’s internship was ten weeks long and filled with responsibilities:

“I would record participant assessments, set up imaging cameras and eye trackers for MRI sessions, and conducted paper and video data backups and reviews. I was also tasked with data management duties such as entering data, assisting in questionnaire creations, and becoming reliable in scoring an assessment of imitation ability called the Praxis Assessment. The most prominent role of them all would have to be coding data from the Praxis Assessment, where I would watch videos of participants and identify the types of errors they made based on the instructions given to them.”

Such thrilling responsibilities urged us to ask her to share which aspect of her experience was the most exciting:

“Other than being in a beautiful city with pleasant weather, it was the professional expectations given to me that were most exciting: expectations such as the dress code I had to follow, the data work I would take initiative on, or the networks given to me while I was there. In order for me to understand the whole premise of the research study, I would read research articles pertaining to the topics of dyspraxia, the mirror neuron system, as well as developmental coordination disorder.”

Kristelle also shared a few challenges she faced over the course of her internship:

“Adapting to a new environment away from my friends and family was the most challenging part of the first few weeks I was in California. It was lonesome at times when I was off the clock in an area that was foreign to me. I wasn’t too sure which areas were safe to explore or visit. Overtime, I gained friends, advice on where to explore, and familiarity on the downtown premise I lived in. These obstacles made me more courageous to apply to out-of-state institutions and increased my grit when things started looking bleak.”

This hardworking roadrunner certainly did not let these challenges stop her from enjoying her internship!

“I definitely enjoyed the work environment and culture most,” she continued. “I had time to read or enjoy the university landmarks before or after work. I also enjoyed how much freedom was given to me for tasks and responsibilities. I was able to work on different things at my own pace since most of our goals and deadlines were long-term.”

Kristelle feels this experience helped prepare her for her future career as an occupational therapist, but she does not wish to stop there:

“I hope to someday be a mentor and motivational speaker to encourage, empower, and inspire others to do their best in their academic journey. This internship exposed me to the research setting and gave me more knowledge about the various clinical settings occupational therapy could be a part of. The DIA Jumpstart Program provided me with resources to help me write professional statements, design infographics, and taught me what to anticipate when applying for graduate programs.”

When asked to give students advice on internships, Kristelle had this to say:

“Take initiative, and always have a set of questions to ask. The people you work with may be important figures in your future, so stay in touch with them even after the internship ends. Look for ways to get more involved in the internship so your skills and knowledge can increase. Most importantly, do not doubt your worth once you get the internship. They handpicked you for a reason.”

She left us with the following quote which she feels best defines her:

“We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us.” -Andrew Ryan

Stellar work, Kristelle! Go ‘Runners!

By Jacqui Cantu
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