SECU Internship Award Winners
Spring 2020 brings Appalachian State University a new group of SECU Internship Scholarship award winners. The ten recipients are serving in rural communities focused on bringing access and resources to the Western Counties of North Carolina. The scholarships are made possible by a generous donation by the North Carolina State Employee Credit Union Foundation to provide immersive learning opportunities for students and support local nonprofits and government agencies. Each student applied with essays on the impact their internship can help provide and how the funds will assist them with increased travel costs, lodging, meals, and professional clothing, amongst other expenses including tuition.
The students, all of whom are seniors, are engaged in their Field Practicum for the Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree program. They are utilizing this experience to build on core competencies of social work practice and community engagement. Two students, Monique Tyson and Mackenzie Upchurch, are serving as Guardian Ad Litem interns to promote the best interests of abused, neglected, or dependent children though the state court system. Teresita Paz is working in partnership with the Elk Park School Counselor to assist in providing support and advocacy for the students and families she serves. Another student, Diana Rivera-Gomez, is also working in partnership with the local schools through GEAR UP Watauga. GEAR UP educates students in the 9 Western Counties of NC about attending colleges and universities. Saralynn Gaillard is riding along with Ashe County Paramedics with the goal to lower utilization of costly ambulance & ER charges by providing care services, identifying gaps in health care services, connecting clients to resources, and providing follow up for clients. Wesley Dorsey is also working to connect programs and services provided by RAIN that target underserved and hard to reach communities dealing with medical crises. Early intervention services help newly diagnosed and those who have fallen out of care pathways to achieve continuity of care.
Reaching out to marginalized and socially isolated LGBTQ youth is the mission of Outright Youth, by providing a safe and inclusive space in Catawba County. Liam Waller is interning there to help build on the programming for youths 12 to 21 years of age. Hailey Von Krusze is interning at the Watauga Project on Aging that provides essential services and information to elderly community members and the families that care for them. At Summit Support Services, Nancy Wait is assisting the Ashe County non-profit in the gentle teaching to individuals with disabilities. The goal of Summit is to provide opportunities for participants to interact within their communities with housing, social, vocational, education, and worship opportunities. Our final SECU Internship Scholarship winner is Chris Cardwell. Chris is working with the Social Work Collaborative in Boone working off referrals from Hardin Park Elementary, establishing an evidence based support group for Caregivers through the High Country Caregivers Association.
The work these students do builds on the foundation of community established by these various organizations, Appalachian State University, and the NC State Employee Credit Union Foundation. Appalachian State University would like to thank the NC State Employee Credit Union for their generous support of our students.