What is community work in psychology?
Students interested in the applied fields in psychology are well served by gaining experience working with special needs populations. Work in this area might involve helping at-risk minority children with schoolwork and social skills training, assisting mentally ill patients with their transition to community living, tutoring adolescents who are incarcerated, working in a homeless shelter, or working in a hospital. In addition to gaining knowledge about the needs of a specific population, students involved in such work learn invaluable lessons in diverse areas like communication, networking, and conflict mediation.
How do I get involved in community work in applied psychological settings?
Step 1: Identify a community work site where you would like to gain your experience.
Approved Community Work Sites
Behavior Analysis – Animal Behavior
Marineland Dolphin Adventure
LOOKING FOR CAREER TRAINING WITH MARINE MAMMALS AT AN ACCREDITED FACILITY, USING A SYSTEMATIC BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION APPROACH? LOOK NO FURTHER! REQUIREMENTS: Age 18 or older Proof of U.S. citizenship, current green card or student/work visa Satisfactory completion of a background check Positive attitude, good work ethic and an eagerness to learn Ability to work long periods of time outside in all weather conditions Willingness to follow the policies and procedures of Marineland Ability to attend all training courses and commit to determined session duration All internships are unpaid and interns are responsible for their own food, housing and transportation.
Contact Julie Wendt, 904-460-1326 or email@example.com.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Animal Behavior and Wellness Research Internship
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) invites applicants for an animal behavior and wellness research internship in the Zoo’s Wellness department. We have 2-3 internships available every semester.
The wellness lab at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the Animalia lab at the University of Florida are collaboration to investigate ways to improve the welfare and wellness of animals in our care with an emphasis on animal’s preference and choice.
- Support Animal Programs staff by conducting behavior observations of varying levels of difficulty and providing appropriate documentation
- Develop a catalog of generic and specialized ethograms as references for observation, research, and education
- Assist in developing research studies based on keeper-directed questions relating to either welfare or wellness
- Collect, organize, and analyze data to be used to inform animal care staff at our institution and possibly share findings with other zoological institutions
- At least 18 years of age
- Sophomore, Junior, or Senior in college
- Major in biology, zoology, animal sciences, behavior analysis, psychology, or a related field
- Excellent observation skills, attention to detail, and punctuality
- Able to multitask, work independently, and as part of a group.
- Able to commit to a set weekly schedule, with flexibility and availability to assist with zoo events (e.g., Conservation or Wellness speaker events.)
- Reliable method of transportation.
- Must follow directions and adhere to safety regulations to ensure the safety of animals, self, and peers.
- Tolerant of occasional adverse environmental conditions (e.g., heat, cold, light rain, smells in animal areas, mosquitos, etc.)
- Ability to meet deadlines, maintain professional behavior in email correspondence, in person guest interactions, and with JZG staff.
- Must be fluent with Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
- *If receiving school credit, it’s the responsibility of the students to arrange for the credit.
- Would prefer a candidate that is experienced with operationalizing behavior, constructing ethograms, maintaining data sets, graphing, brief report writing, statistics, creating posters, papers, and presentations.
Responsibilities/tasks can include:
Potential interns may not have experience or skills for all of the following areas. It is our hope that
the Intern will be able to develop or improve upon the following skills. Each intern will be assessed
and assigned to tasks most appropriate for their skill set, training level, schedule, and physical
1. Animal behavior observation
2. Conducting literature reviews
3. Operationalizing behavior, constructing ethograms, maintaining data sets, graphing, brief
report writing, statistics, creating posters, papers, and presentations
4. Inter-observer reliability testing
5. Attend meetings and training
6. Zoo guest interaction/ education
7. Work in collaboration with Wellness and Animal Programs staff
Please not that this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of responsibilities and that the requirements
of the internship are subject to change as required.
To apply for this internship please email your cover letter, resume and the intern information sheet
(below) to Valerie Segura at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com.
If selected for an internship candidates must adhere to reference checks, level 2 background
fingerprints, drug screen and pay the $50 intern fee (this fee covers your fingerprints and drug
screen). A current tetanus vaccine is recommended.
Behavior Analysis – Developmental Disabilities
Behavioral Learning Systems
Behavioral Learning Systems is a company providing Applied Behavior Analysis to persons with developmental delays using empirically validated treatments based on available research in learning and motivation. Students receive training in ABA, complete reading on ABA and research, observation of therapists, and video reviews of therapy sessions.
Contact Janice Pulcini, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A. Quinn Jones Center
The A. Quinn Jones Center provides a therapeutic environment for severely emotionally disturbed students. Their mission is to improve upon every student’s moral and emotional development so they can meet the social demands placed on each citizen in the community. Volunteers can assist in a variety of ways. Contact the school directly for details.
Contact Robert Ramirez, 955-6840 or email@example.com.
AMIkids is an organization dedicated to helping at risk youth. Volunteer opportunities include case-management or assisting in behavior modification. More specifically, you can help the students develop coping skills and/or act as a mentor or tutor. There is an in-house training prior to volunteering.
Contact John Davidson or Daniel Bacallao, 352-395-6193, GWI-ED@amikids.org, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baby Gator is a child development center offering high quality care to children ages 6 weeks to five years. Baby Gator’s mission is to address the needs of all children and foster growth in social, behavioral, cognitive, physical, and literacy skills. Volunteers read, play, talk, and assist in the classroom, on the playground, and during meals, snacks, and rest time.
Baby Gator Diamond Village – Contact Jorge Ruiz, 392-2243 or email@example.com
Baby Gator Newell Drive – Contact Tracie Faulkner, 352-273-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Children Beyond Our Borders
Children Beyond our Borders is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide opportunities for children and youth affected by armed conflict and social injustice to find peace, prosperity, and well-being through education and empowerment. Volunteers can assist resident Psychologists in developing educational curriculum and workshop lessons for learners based in Columbia. Counseling will also be taught to volunteers in order to aid them while they mentor children who suffer from a variety of psychological issues, including drug or domestic abuse, family issues, and financial struggles.
Contact Andrea Ortega, 786-486-5689 or email@example.com.
Children’s Home Society
The Children’s Home Society offers protection, guidance and love to abused, abandoned and forgotten children. Their mission is to embrace and inspire children’s lives. Volunteers can assist in a variety of areas.
Contact Jason Holthus, 334-0955 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Girl’s Place, Inc. is a non-profit service organization that encourages girls ages 5-18 to GROW through the After School Sports and Recreation Camp, athletics, specialty classes, and Summer day camp. Volunteers are able to: (1) observe children in educational situations and recreational play (2) engage in one-on-one relationships providing hands on assistance to children in need of specific attention (3) aid in program planning and development and (4) develop lasting friendships with influential and educational implications. For more information about volunteering visit www.girlsplaceinc.com/volunteer.htm
Tiffani Smith, 373-4475 or email@example.com.
Micanopy Tutoring is a unique after-school program which has the goal of enabling each student to attain their full educational potential. We believe that each child wants to succeed. We feel that when given the proper environment to thrive, each child can achieve to the best of his or her abilities, and become a happier and more successful individual.
352-234-5095 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Norton Elementary School provides volunteers with a meaningful educational experience in all areas of the school, including, but not limited to, the classrooms and after school enrichment programs. The Extended Day Enrichment Program employees must receive 10 hours of CEU’s within the first 90 days of each school year (part in child development and in child discipline). Volunteers will assist the Activity Leader in group directions, discussions and follow through with Sunshine State Standards activities conducted during rotationg times and tutor or assist students one on one during homework time while the Activity Leader is overseeing the group.
352-955-7350 or email@example.com
PACE Center for Girls Alachua
Pace Alachua is dedicated to serving at-promise girls by helping them find their voice and providing tools to help them reach their full potential. Most girls come to us at a very critical time in their lives. A time when they are faced with challenging decisions and life circumstances that could shape the course of their future. We in turn provide our girls with the support and resources they need to position them for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy.
Contact Natalya Bannister, 352-374-8799, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clinical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida
Clinical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida. (CPANCF) is dedicated to providing psychological care at a doctoral level by individuals trained in Clinical Psychology and Counseling programs approved by the American Psychological Association .
Contact Dr. Ernest J. Bordini, 352-336-2888
Tacachale is the oldest and largest community for the developmentally disabled in Florida. It is a progressive community dedicated to offering its residents the opportunities and services which respect and encourage their personal choices, enhance their quality of life, and maximize their individual potential.
Contact Paula Hawkins, 955-5958 or email@example.com.
Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center
Caring and compassionate people looking to make a difference in our community and in the lives of those hurt by sexual violence can volunteer with the Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center. Our program has two volunteer tracks to pursue – serve as a Helpline Counselor, answering our 24/7 rape crisis helpline, or a Community Ambassador, promoting awareness at community events.
Contact Laura Kalt, 352-264-6760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Child Advocacy Center
The Child Advocacy Center is a community based, child focused center that facilitates a compassionate, multi-disciplinary approach to the prevention, identification, investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse. Their mission is to meet the needs of abused children in the community. Volunteers can assist in a variety of realms, including greeting children when they arrive at the center, transporting children and family members to therapy sessions, fundraising, clerical support, data entry, building and ground maintenance, and participating on ‘friend’ committees.
Contact Zoie Herman, 352-376-9161 or Zoie@cacgainesville.org
Peaceful Paths Violence Abuse Network
Peaceful Paths is a certified domestic abuse network that serves survivors of domestic violence in Alachua, Bradford, and Union counties. Their mission is to stop domestic violence and encourage people in our communities to make informed and healthy choices. Volunteers will have the opportunity to become involved in a cause that empowers women who need support in making a change in their lives. There are various different volunteer opportunities.
Contact Nandy Ferguson or Cassie Gaspard (Child and Youth Program), 377-5690, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health and Support Services
Gainesville Opportunity Center
With mental illness, you often lose the ability for self-care, and your activity levels drop. You may see a psychiatrist once a month and take medication to get control of symptoms, but you need a life. At our center, staff and members work side by side to run our office. Our goal is to help people show themselves what they are capable of in order to return them to the work force and to be a vital part of our community.
Contact Brett Buell, (352) 224-5523 or email@example.com.
UF Health Shands Hospital
Shands at UF is one of the most comprehensive hospitals and one of the leading referral medical centers in the Southeast. Volunteers can engage in a variety of activities including providing comfort and support in a friendly, helpful manner, assisting with patient and visitor escort, patient transportation, childcare, tours, and administrative services among many others.
Contact 352-265-0360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Florida Evaluation & Treatment Center
North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center is a maximum security mental health hospital in NE Gainesville. The center works with people who have been convicted of felonies and whom the court has called incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. The center’s job is to restore them to competency.
Contact Suna Uzun, 352-264-8173, email@example.com
Psychology Interviewing Internship at the Office of the Public Defender
This is a yearlong, 20 hour/week, unpaid internship opportunity at the Office of the Public Defender in Gainesville, Florida. There will be 4 positions for this internship. The internship will start on May 1st, 2019 and end on May 1st, 2020 The Office of the Public Defender provides legal representation to low income clients facing criminal charges in Alachua County. This opportunity will provide exposure to clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges. The majority of clients are housed at the Alachua County Jail, however on occasion, clients are out on bail awaiting trial and complete interviews at the office. Students will need access to reliable transportation for this internship. Keep in mind you will be working on real cases that have drastic effects on people’s lives so take this very seriously.
Contact Dr. Brian Cahill, 352-273-2175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 2: Contact your preferred site and set up a schedule.
Once you have identified places in which you are interested in volunteering, it is your responsibility to contact them, establish their need for volunteers in that particular semester, and set up a schedule for working with them.
Step 3: Arrange course credit.
New for Fall 2019! Students who have completed a minimum of 12 hours of psychology coursework will have two options for obtaining course credit for community work experience:
Students interested in earning internship credits may enroll in a special psychology section of IDS 4940 (Internship), a pass/fail course, after arranging a work experience placement. Internship students will interact with an instructor via Canvas to complete weekly professional development activities and receive feedback. Internship work may be paid or unpaid. To qualify for credit, the internship must be for at least 150 hours over a period of no fewer than 10 weeks during the term. To apply for enrollment in IDS 4940 as a psychology student, please complete Steps 1 and 2 above. Complete the trainings listed below, then complete this form and email to Dr. Christy Alligood, email@example.com. Registration for this course is available through one week after the drop-add period for each semester.
Students interested in earning volunteer credits can register for PSY 4949 (Community Work in Psychology), a pass/fail course, after arranging a volunteer work placement. If taken for credit, your community work must be voluntary and unpaid.To enroll, you must first arrange to take this course with an approved agency. Fill out and print out this form,and obtain the signature of your supervisor at the agency. Once signed, take the form to the Psychology Advising office (135 PSY), where an advisor will register you for the course. Registration for this course is available through the midpoint of the semester, except for new agency approvals, whose deadline is a week earlier than the midpoint. If you have a scholarship, you should check with financial aid about any consequences for adding these courses after drop/add.You can take a maximum of 4 hours of PSY 4949. A maximum of 9 hours from PSY 4949 and other individual work classes (PSY 4911/PCO 4911/PSY 3912/CLP 3911, PSY 4905, PSY 4940, PSY 4970) can count toward the 36-hour minimum requirement.
For PSY 4949, students can take 1, 2, or 3 credit hours per semester, to be determined in conjunction with your work site. For each credit taken, you must complete 45 hours of work during this semester to earn a satisfactory grade. This translates into 3 hours per week during Spring and Fall semesters, 3.75 hours per week during Summer C, and 7.5 hours per week during Summer A or Summer B (for each credit taken).
Approval for credit depends on both the agency’s willingness to use students who are earning credit and the department’s approval of the activity. As with any course, credit for these courses cannot be awarded retroactively, so if you want to earn credit, make sure to register for the individual work course in the semester that you plan to work.
Near the end of the semester, the psychology advising office will send an evaluation form to your agency, where they will be asked to verify the number of volunteer hours that you have completed and to assess whether your performance was satisfactory. The psychology advising office must receive this information by the last day of classes in order to process your grade. While it is not your responsibility to obtain this information (supervisors must directly report that information to the advising office), you are encouraged to remind your supervisor of this deadline so that you can avoid receiving an “I” grade.
BEFORE ENROLLING FOR WORK EXPERIENCE COURSE CREDIT, YOU MUST COMPLETE TWO TRAINING MODULES ONLINE: Click here for instructions
What if I am interested in a site that is not pre-approved?
Students may also gain experience at agencies that are not on the list of pre-approved local sites, but you will first need to get prior approval by the undergraduate coordinator. In selecting a site, make sure that the agency will give you initial orientation and training, in-service training, supervision and monitoring, and direction by competent professionals. To qualify for course credit, it is expected that work performed by students will enhance their understanding of psychology in applied settings.
To apply for approval, have the agency fill out the site approval form completely (click here),and return this form for review and approval by the undergraduate coordinator. A critical component for being approved is that the work must have direct psychological relevance, and that this relevance is clearly illustrated in the tasks that the student would be doing. Make sure that the agency gives significant detail about which aspects of the work are related to psychology, how they are related, and whether those aspects make up the majority of the work in which the student will be involved. Note that it takes approximately a week to get site approval, so make sure to turn in the site approval form a week before you need it approved. The undergraduate coordinator will then notify the agency as to whether it has been approved or not.