It’s been a lifelong dream for Stephanie Wells ’10 to work with children in the field of psychology. She has already spent a semester in Boston interning at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. This summer, she is working with the Child Trauma Research Project at the University of California at San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital.
Conducted through a world renowned research institution, the Child Trauma Research Project (CTRP) offers assessment and treatment to the child victims of domestic violence or other types of trauma. Geared toward children from birth to the age of 5, CTRP provides psychotherapy that is designed to improve the relationship between parents and their children by addressing the emotional, cognitive and psychological needs of children who are directly or indirectly affected by violence.
Wells will assist in the assessment of anxiety and PTSD symptoms in children’s observed behavior and in the coding of those behaviors for avoidance, hyper-arousal, clinical concern, feeling and coherence. In addition, she will study the relationship between language development and proficiency as well as traumatic experiences. Wells’ efforts will be used by the lead researchers.
A psychology major and double minor in child advocacy and public policy, Wells believes that this internship will help her to better understand child development and the effects of abuse and trauma on young children.
“I hope to gain a greater understanding of child development and the effects of abuse and trauma on young children. I also look forward to learning the best strategies of counseling to use with trauma and abuse victims.”
At Hobart and William Smith, Wells is involved in many activities, including the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, Campus Peer Ministry, Koshare and the Sidekick program. She has served as an ARAW facilitator, president of Hugs Across America, a member of William Smith Congress and a Common Ground mentor. Additionally, Wells co-coordinated a vigil for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting.
After she graduates from William Smith, Wells intends to pursue a Ph.D in either clinical or developmental/child psychology. Ideally, Wells would like to work in a private, clinical setting with young children and adolescents who have suffered from trauma and abuse.
“I find human development, especially psychological development, to be very interesting. Early childhood development is particularly important because so much of what happens to us in our childhood helps to mold us into the people we are today.”