Exploring Pathways: How a Career Event Opened Doors to a Rare Internship Opportunity for this UNL Undergrad

“It really solidified for me that this is the right career for me, because it’s so rewarding. Helping a child, being a part of their support staff, and seeing them succeed and advance in treatment, it’s like the best feeling ever, and that makes me really excited for the future.” said Elsa Wilcox. 

Wilcox, a Junior Communication Sciences and Disorders Major here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, got a rare internship opportunity at UNMC’s Munroe Meyer Institute Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program. She worked alongside a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, speech pathologists, board certified behavior analysts, registered behavior technicians, and nutritionists gaining experience and insight into her future career goals. 

Elsa Wilcox during her summer internship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

As this opportunity points to, Wilcox hopes to go to graduate school for speech pathology and eventually work with kids in either a clinical or educational setting. She is also the recipient of the Nebraska Career Scholarship, and to help meet the requirements, Wilcox scheduled an appointment to meet with a Career Coach to help her develop some options. 

“Holly Smith and I just talked about possible internship opportunities. It’s not typically a major that you would have an internship with, but I had a great experience. She gave me 12 different contacts, so I tried to reach out to people. I found a perfect fit for me, and it was very helpful. I would really recommend it,” said Wilcox. 

Holly Smith, a Career Services Career Coach, met Wilcox’s UNMC contact at last fall’s Exploring: Human Services, Nonprofit & Social Justice Pathways event. 

“I was able to connect with Amy Drayton at UNMC who was very open to bringing interested students in for interning/shadowing/volunteering in a collaborative unit including speech language pathologists (Elsa’s future career). Elsa scheduled a meeting with me, and I was able to connect her with Amy who has created an internship opportunity for her at the Munroe Meyer Institute in UNMC for the summer,” said Smith. “This is an amazing opportunity that will greatly set Elsa apart in her candidacy for graduate school and is allowing her experiential learning that is typically reserved solely for graduate students.” 

As a result of that event, Wilcox got an opportunity that’s going to aid her far into the future with her career. This same event, Exploring: Human Services, Nonprofit & Social Justice Pathways, is happening again November 9, 2023, from 3:30p-5pm in the Nebraska Union Centennial Room. Learn more about your career options and hear from professionals during a panel, then connect with local organizations who are working in these pathways by browsing their information tables. 

Wilcox outside of the Hattie B. Munroe Center for Recreational Therapy.

“I think the biggest thing was learning how to collaborate with professionals in the field. It taught communication skills, how to work with a team, and how to present data to one another,” said Wilcox. “I also learned about what kinds of disorders could cause feeding and swallowing problems, what disabilities can kind of occur with them, and how to support children with disabilities. So, getting to support that was something that I haven’t had experience with previously. That was a huge takeaway.” 

Outside of her internship, Wilcox is involved with UNL’s NSSLHA chapter, or the Nebraska Student Language Hearing association, where she volunteers often for the community of Lincoln. She minors in Education Studies and Gerontology, and is also involved with Greek life on campus, being a proud member of the Chi Omega sorority.  

Supported by Career Services and her Career Coach, Wilcox has been able to develop her passions in an invaluable opportunity that isn’t all that common for undergraduate students. This experience gave her an incredible foundation to a long successful career. It’s a perfect example of what can happen if you just take a swing and go for it! 

To connect with YOUR Career Coach, find events, and other career development resources, visit the Career Services website.  

By Gage Boardman-Allgood
Gage Boardman-Allgood