Anderson University psychology students are educating local youth on the basic lessons of life.
Students majoring in youth leadership-development, a complementary major offered by the department of psychology, are required to take many of the courses in the psychology curriculum. These courses focus on functions of the brain and the process of thought. However, they must complete an additional senior capstone course that examines the direct social interactions of children, followed by an internship where these lessons are directly applied to area youth.
“The internship is not a situation where they go and shadow someone or stuff envelopes,” said Dr. Lee Griffith, professor of psychology. “The students are going out into a setting where they use skills and give presentations which have been developed in the capstone class. The presentations can be about topics such as bullying, boundaries, gossip, or self-image — anything they believe will be relevant to the group they are working with.”
[Photo: Anderson University senior Trista Meadlo writes a thank you note with a youth group participant at Maple Grove Church of God.]
Griffith, along with Dr. Linda Swindell, places youth leadership-development interns with local organizations that already focus on building basic social skills in children. Students have interned with Alternatives Inc., Dove Harbor, and area youth groups.
Senior Trista Meadlo, a sociology and youth leadership-development major, is currently working with the Maple Grove Church of God youth group. Meadlo and another intern use the weekly meetings with the children to bond over a community dinner, play team-building games, and to teach presentations developed in the capstone course. She ultimately hopes to apply her experiences during the internship toward working with inner-city youth.
“I want to show the kids that they do have options for the future. They do not need to accept what they are given in life. They can do whatever they want,” said Meadlo.
Swindell credits employer and graduate school interest in AU students to the senior capstone course and internship.
“It allows our students, at the bachelor’s level, to use their training, get involved with an internship, and let others know who they are. If they go back to school and get their master’s degree they already have that really good experience,” said Swindell.
[Photo: AU seniors Trista Meadlo and Troy Jones lead the youth group in a get-to-know-you game at Maple Grove Church of God.]
Although an internship is required for the youth leadership-development major, all psychology students are encouraged to volunteer in the Anderson community. This form of hands-on education upholds the university’s emphasis on service-based learning.
— Eva Christine McKnight is a sophomore from Batesville, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in dance performance and English. McKnight is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.