View From The Hill: KAP student at WKU comes full circle with internship at Renshaw Early Childhood Center

View from the Hill: Internship Brings WKU Students Full Circle
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - A WKU student on the autism spectrum, who is majoring in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education, has come full circle with her summer internship.

The Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex is a place very familiar to Katie Phelps who began receiving services here as a child. Now Katie is in college pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher.

“My name is Katie. I am 30. I was born and raised in Bowling Green Kentucky. I like to fish. I like to camp out. And I love working with little kids.”

Katie is volunteering at a Kindergarten Ready Summer Academy.

“We’re making an effort to get kiddos who are going into kindergarten ready for that experience.

At the same time, the academy is giving Katie some hands-on training as she readies herself for a career in education.

“I am actually autistic myself. I went to the Kelly Autism Program to like go to camp when I was a little girl. Now I’m a college student there so I’m loving it. Lots of support, lots of guidance and stuff.”

“She comes in ready to work. She has all her things with her. She says what can I do next? Lots of initiative. What we all want in our child’s teacher.”

Director Beth Schaeffer says the Renshaw Early Childhood Center was asked to host an adult intern on the autism spectrum.

“I thought wow what a great model for kids what a great inspiration for parents let’s try this and see how it works.”

“She comes in ready to work. She has all her things with her. She says what can I do next? Lots of initiative. What we all want in our child’s teacher.”

Katie’s summer internship at the Renshaw Early Childhood Center here at the CEC is putting her on a path to one day be in charge of a classroom of her own.

Katie’s full circle moment was realized recently when one of her first therapists received the Tri-SKY Champions for Children award and noted that Katie’s internship allowed her to offer services in the same type of setting in which she received them.

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