A year-long position as a teacher at the New England Center for Children (NECC) is just the first stop for recent graduate Amanda Marsh '11 on the road to her career in psychology.
Located in Southborough, Mass., NECC is a school for autism treatment and education. The private, nonprofit, autism education center is dedicated to transforming the lives of children with autism.
A native of Pittsfield, Mass., Marsh is in the midst of deciding which aspect of the psychology field she will focus on.
"I think that it is crucial if you are a psychology major to get a taste of everything. After you experience a bit of everything, then you figure out what your passion is," she said. "My ideal career would probably be focused on helping people who are depressed and anxious by using different therapy approaches. I'm really interested in doing research on the beneficial effects yoga potentially has on people who suffer from depression and anxiety."
Marsh decided she wanted to learn more about autism last summer after taking an applied behavioral analysis course with Dr. Tom Byrne. "He is really passionate about his class and he got me excited about the topic. I just wanted to know more," she said.
As a Level I teacher, Marsh will work at the NECC residential homes with a group of children ages 5 to 22. "I'll be helping them get ready for school in the morning and take them to school. I will also be taking them on outings and picking them up from school. I'll be teaching them daily life skills and help them with their homework when they come back home.
"I'm excited to apply what I've learned into real life situations," she continued. 'I also believe that NECC will open doors for me. I will get the chance to meet people who are successful as psychologists and I'm definitely looking forward to learning from them."
Marsh feels well-prepared by MCLA for this new experience. In addition to the classes she took, last semester she traveled to China.
"It opened my eyes up to a totally new perspective. It made me realize that there are not just one or two different kinds of viewpoints. There are millions of different ways of thinking," Marsh said. "Going to China made me want to experience every kind of perspective and I'm definitely ready to experience things in a different light."
Before that experience, the only other trip Marsh had taken was to Florida.
"I really wanted to see what else is out there," she said. "We went to several places that absolutely blew me away, such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. I really enjoyed the people there. They are so friendly and have such a great attitude."
After her work at NECC, Marsh plans to participate in Americorp for a year while she decides on the exact psychology field she wants to concentrate on. She then will continue on to graduate school.