Poster presentations show value of practicum placements

When Community Living Essex County earns accreditation, it will have a pair of UWindsor students to thank.

Disability studies majors Kelly Bauer and Jenelle Rinkel spent hundreds of hours researching accreditation options for the organization, which provides services to people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Their project was part of a community placement practicum, said social work professor Debbie Hernandez Jozefowicz, coordinator of the disability studies program. Disability studies majors taught by Shelagh Towson and Mary Harper and psychology majors taught by Ted Vokes took practicum courses and joined forces for poster presentations on their projects, Monday in Vanier Hall.

“One of the most common activities for this year’s groups has been advocacy,” said Dr. Hernandez Jozefowicz. “They are being called on to gather information, compile it, and share it between agencies and the community.”

She said this function has been valuable to the partnering agencies that provided student placements.

“Service providers are so often short of time,” she said. “The students are helping to fill in the gaps.”

It’s a theme picked up by Rinkel, who said she appreciated the real-world experience.

“They gave us work that they needed to have done,” she said. “Our report and recommendations will go to their board for consideration and eventual action.”

Bauer said the project confirmed for her that on graduating this spring, she will want to pursue a career in policy.

“I appreciate the importance of direct care – and have done it myself – but working at a policy level offers a chance to affect more lives on a larger scale,” she said.

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