My name is Elizabeth Haudrich, and I am a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh. During the spring 2022 semester, I will be an Honors College STEAM Ambassador at the Pitt Community Engagement Center in the Hill District.
As a freshman in her second semester of college, my academic and professional goals continue to change as I discover new interests and fields. Nevertheless, I am currently pursuing a Psychology Major, an Applied Statistics Minor, and the Joint Honors Degree. After completing my undergraduate education, I plan to attain a master’s degree in clinical psychology and eventually become a licensed clinician. I have yet to join many extracurricular activities, but my hope is to become more involved in clubs that allow me to explore my love of dancing and singing during the next 3 ½ years.
I was informed of this internship opportunity by an email I received from my honors advisor, Leesha Greene. I was initially hesitant about applying as I was only a few days away from my first exam of final weeks and had little experience in community engagement. However, after giving it more thought, I realized that no one has experience until they put themselves out there and obtain it. So, I crafted my resume and cover letter, submitted my application, and crossed my fingers.
My Role as a STEAM Ambassador
As a STEAM Ambassador, I am responsible for assisting Hill CEC faculty in supporting and monitoring existing programs in the Hill CEC’s STEAM Studio. The STEAM Studio is a collection of programs that provides Hill District residents with opportunities to engage in various STEAM fields. My role in the development and execution of these programs is in the creation of marketing and recruitment materials – utilizing my experience in graphic design – and monitoring program implementation alongside the CEC Director and Outreach Coordinator.
However, I am not only supporting existing programs; I will also be involved in the development of new programs. This is one of the aspects that really intrigued me about this internship, as I will be able to engage and support the Hill District community in creative and exciting ways. Based on the needs of the Hill District residents, I will assist in the development and implementation of new programs by liaising and collaborating with students, faculty, and staff at the University as well as identifying potential STEAM resources that the University can provide to the CEC’s Digital Equity and Inclusion efforts.
Internship Opportunities are Learning Opportunities
Over the course of this spring semester, I hope to learn more about the Hill District and neighboring Pittsburgh communities, as well as my role in my community as a student and an aspiring clinician.
Being a clinician requires knowing how to attentively listen to another’s experience without prejudice or biases, and then develop a course of therapeutic treatment that would best address that person’s needs. At the Hill CEC, I will play a similar role by listening to the thoughts and concerns of the community members and then designing a program that will comprehensively address those needs. With the STEAM Ambassador position being so similar in function to that of a clinician, I am confident that my time at the Hill CEC will show me what it truly takes to unbiasedly listen to others and meaningfully contribute to one’s community.
Being a college student means knowing how to converse and collaborate with fellow students, university faculty, and community partners to achieve a common goal. My current skills in interpersonal communication are sufficient for a freshman in college, but I still feel uncomfortable when initiating or maintaining conversations, especially those with a person of authority. My hope for this internship is to become more initiative and proactive in my personal and professional lives. However, considering this internship will involve constant communication with various groups and individuals on a daily basis, I believe these skills will naturally improve over the course of this semester.
Being a person interested in studying human behavior involves interacting with others outside my immediate community. To develop an accurate and comprehensive account of how humans behave and interact with one another, I must interact with people across all demographics and diverse backgrounds, even if they may differ from my own. Cultural humility is a quality that is heavily emphasized at the Hill CEC. The ability to reflect on one’s own privilege and identity in a society is necessary for any internship or academic opportunity, especially one that involves engaging in a community that is as rich in culture and history as the Hill District. While I already have a firm understanding of my own privilege and place in society, it is integral to acknowledge and learn of other people’s stories to fully understand the complexity of our social world.
I am very excited to begin interning at the Hill CEC, and I look forward to seeing how my experiences in community engagement will influence my professional, academic, and personal journey at Pitt.