Summer Centered: Rylee Fennell '20 Lends a Hand at Weisman Children’s Hospital
Supported by the Gertrude Albert Heller Memorial Grant and the CCPA, the linguistics major with minors in neuroscience and child and family studies is helping children find their voice.
For Rylee Fennell ‘20, spending a summer interning with Weisman Children’s in New Jersey is a stepping stone to achieving her dream of becoming a speech pathologist. As a linguistics major with minors in neuroscience and child and family studies, Fennell’s academic course load reflects her commitment to the study of speech and desire to pursue a career in the field. And now this internship experience, which is being funded by the Gertrude Albert Heller Memorial Grant and the Center for Career and Professional Advancement (CCPA), will offer her some much-desired hands-on, real-world experience.
"My courses allow me to explore all areas of speech,” said Fennell. “I plan on taking linguistics courses that focus more on sound production and neuroscience courses about the cognition behind language. Since I want to work with children ages 0-5, my minor in child and family studies gives me access to classes focused on children, social work, and education.”
As a student aide at the Bi-Co Phebe Anna Thorne School during the academic year, Fennell already has experience working with children in both the typically developing classroom and the language enrichment classroom. When she found out about the Gertrude Albert Heller Memorial Grant, Fennell saw a chance to extend her commitment to helping others into the summer.
"I was immediately drawn to this internship opportunity because of its focus on direct contact with individuals with neurological or developmental differences,” she said. I hope to work with this population in the future, so it was a great match.”
Weisman Children’s Hospital is one of only two rehab hospitals in New Jersey focused on teens, children, and infants--has a maximum of 18 beds and is, therefore, able to deliver individualized patient care. As a volunteer in the medical daycare, inpatient hospital, and outpatient facility, Fennell will be able to observe and study a variety of treatment options.
"I hope to see the diversity of speech pathology in those receiving treatment,” said Fennell. “The children in each facility often have very different needs, so this opportunity allows for me to witness and interact with all three types of patients and treatments.”
Once her time at Weisman Children’s concludes, Fennell plans to seek out similar experiences and pursue research opportunities in her field of interest.
"My current internship has only strengthened my desire to work in speech pathology,” she said, though she has only been on the job for one week so far. “After this volunteer experience, I am even more eager to begin working in the field as a speech pathologist.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.