Career practicum is handy for students, employers

October 12, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

Hundreds of student packed an event to meet potential practicum employers.

Hundreds of students packed an event to meet potential practicum employers.

Story and photos by Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau

With resumes in their hands and smiles on their faces, hundreds of Grand Canyon University students flocked to meet representatives from as many as 17 behavioral health organizations Tuesday at the first annual Counseling and Psychology Career Practicum.

The event, co-sponsored by GCU’s Career Impact Center and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, was as much a win for the organizations seeking interns as for students seeking practicum placements.


Kathy Britton, of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, was one of the event organizers.

“This is so wonderful,” said Susanne Tso Grant, a second-year master’s student in Professional Counseling. “It’s pulling all the information together that I have been trying to gather on my own with little success. It’s eye-opening.”

Every student working toward a master’s in counseling is required to undergo an eight-month practicum, said Kathy Britton, GCU’s counseling program manager and the recruiter of the organizations in attendance.

“One of the biggest fears from Day One is, ‘Where am I going to do my practicum?’” Britton said. “This brings the companies to the students.”

And not just any company, but those that have brought on at least one GCU student intern in the past and are excited about working with more in the future.

Several representatives visiting campus once were interns who were hired by the organizations after they graduated. One of them, Carly Kerr, said she was able to stay on at Banner Thunderbird because it tends to hire from within.

Cindy Elms, co-owner and dietician of the Glendale-based Empowerment Treatment and Counseling center, said they had a positive experience with one GCU intern.


Master’s in Counseling students, undergrads and more benefited from talking directly with organization representatives.

“Now, we’re are looking for two more,” Elms said. The center has positions in the Intensive Outpatient Program for eating disorders.

Jacqueline Smith, executive director of GCU’s Career Impact Center, said the event was one of a series the center is organizing that brings employers on campus to interview students from particular colleges.

“It is so important for students to have a meet-and-greet with prospective employers before they are ready to graduate,” Smith said. “This is a safe place for them to practice interviewing and job-seeking skills.”

Up next is an IT Career Consortium, scheduled for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 2 outside Building 57, said Alexa Wennet, Career Impact Center employer outreach supervisor.

Students said it was rewarding to meet with representatives from such places as Touchstone Health Services, Arizona Trauma Counseling and the Meadows of Wickenburg addiction treatment center.

Student Roger Wallmueller said the two hours he spent at the event were invaluable in learning about his practicum.

That sentiment was echoed by Nicole Baker, a Master’s in Professional Counseling student. “This is a great opportunity,” Baker said. “I can talk to so many companies at the same time.’’

“I love it,” Master of Science in Counseling student Shayna Landry said.  “It has been incredibly helpful.”

Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or [email protected].

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