For social work major Taylor LoConte '11, the internships she completed during her junior and senior years gave her the opportunity to utilize various social work skills and roles independently while working with diverse populations on the micro, mezzo and macro levels.
As part of her junior-year internship, LoConte facilitated two after-school programs - an all-girls self-esteem group and a kindergarten books and crafts group - and two early intervention groups that encouraged parent and child interactions through movement. The internship also allowed her to mentor a first-grade boy. With Parents as Teachers, LoConte was able to make independent home visits to families with children enrolled in Newport's Sullivan and Underwood elementary schools.
During her senior year, LoConte interned at the Groden Center, where she co-facilitated a social skills group for middle- and high-school students with Asperger's syndrome. She also worked with parents and co-facilitated a support group through the early intervention program. As part of the internship, LoConte had the chance to serve as a special education adviser for the Best Buddies program and participated in the Individualized Education Program process, the screening process, the home assessment process and both psychiatric and clinical sessions with clients.
After graduation, LoConte served with the AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps, completing a year of service as a community health worker at Manet Community Health Center in Quincy, Mass. She worked within Manet's HIV/AIDS case management and prevention program, Quincy South Shore AIDS Cares. LoConte performed a variety of duties while on the team, providing HIV/STI testing and counseling, facilitating HIV/STI educational groups, and assisting at health fairs and outreach events.
While LoConte's year with AmeriCorps was dedicated to domestic volunteering, she had a strong desire to work internationally. She traveled to Lima, Peru through International Volunteer HQ's orphanage work program and worked in five different orphanage settings with children ranging from birth to age 21. The children LoConte worked with presented a variety of different needs and social issues, including physical and developmental disabilities, homelessness, abuse and poverty.
LoConte is enrolled in the advanced standing master's program in social work at Salem State University, and is expected in graduate in May 2014.