Experience Proves Positive for WTAMU

June 5, 2018

CONTACT:    Dayna Schertler, 806-651-2343, dschertler@wtamu.edu
                      Becky Warren, 806-651-2870, bwarren@wtamu.edu

COPY BY:     Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

Experience Proves Positive for WTAMU’s First High School Intern


CANYON, Texas—She’s a newly minted graduate of the class of 2018 at Randall High School (RHS), but it was a rare internship opportunity at West Texas A&M University that helped cement Katie Evans’ plans for the future.

During her senior year at RHS, Evans was a member of the Pursuing Real Opportunities (PRO) class which connects students with local businesses in careers they plan to pursue after high school. She was interested in exploringKatie Evans and Becky Warren counseling as a career and ended up as the first high school intern ever with WTAMU’s Office of Counseling Services.

“I really wanted to be a homicide detective,” Evans said. “I did an internship before my senior year and found out it wasn’t for me. I joined the PRO program at school and started looking in the direction of counseling, but I was having a hard time finding a clinic that would take me as an intern.”

The PRO teacher, Denise Logan, contacted Dayna Schertler, director of WTAMU’s Office of Counseling Services, about serving as a mentor for Evans in the area of psychology and counseling.

“I sat down with Mrs. Logan and explained the highly confidential nature of what we do and the associated rules and regulations Katie would need to follow,” Schertler said. “Mrs. Logan believed Katie would respect that aspect of our profession, and I was aware Dr. Wendler [University president] thought it important for WTAMU to provide internship opportunities and also promote relationships with the community around us.”

Evans began her WTAMU’s internship in the fall and spent the academic year working with Becky Warren, professional counselor, in counseling services. The first-ever high school intern spent two hours every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at WTAMU. She sat in on triage appointments with new clients, the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) group as well as with test anxiety groups and test anxiety sessions.

“All interns fall under our ethics and have to follow the rules,” Warren said. “I met Katie, interviewed her, and she seemed responsible, understood confidentiality and the importance of that. I felt like she was a good candidate for an intern, and it proved to be a good experience for us.”

A component of the PRO intern experience is that the student intern must accomplish something that benefits the internship as part of their final project. Evans’ project was to work with the University’s Mobile app to include information from the Office of Counseling Services. The WTAMU Mobile app provides instant access to parking and shuttle location as well as a variety of other University news and information. Thanks to Evans, the Mobile app now also includes the counseling staff, basic crisis info as well as confidentiality information.

“This has been a great experience,” Evans said. “Counseling was my second option, and I really didn’t see myself being a counselor until I started doing this internship.”

The internship helped Evans decide to major in psychology, and it also helped her earn an award at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan. The award, usually reserved for junior and senior students, is presented each year by a professor in the psychology program and covers housing expenses for one year. Evans, as an incoming freshman, received the award for the 2018-2019 academic year, based in part on her internship experience at WTAMU.

The first-ever high school internship proved to be a win-win for everyone. The experience proved to be a positive one for WTAMU’s Office of Counseling Services, and Evans found her true calling and decided on a major. Plus, the experience helped her win a housing award. And best of all, Evans is already thinking that she will be back at WTAMU in a few years to work on her master’s degree.


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