Hands-on Learning


Psychology major Megan Blocker '12 of Worthington, Mass., aims to specialize in forensics as she embarks on extensive study of the state of the criminal mind to become a profiler.

This fall she will serve an internship at the New England Center for Children (NECC) in Southborough, Mass., which is dedicated to the treatment of children with autism. In addition to her work at the Center during the day, she will take graduate-level behavior analysis classes in the evening. By the end of her internship, Blocker will have earned her minor in behavioral analysis.

"This will be so exciting because it will be my first experience in a working environment, associated with my field of study," she said.  "NECC will allow me to work hands-on with students, giving me practical work in the field of psychology. It also will allow me to get a taste of what graduate school will be like, from classes I will take. The behavior analysis will be useful for me because I do want to go into a direction where I will look at how people behave."

As a teacher of young autistic students, Blocker will be assigned to a team of nine students. "You get to know each student and their behavior plan and to work with each student specifically," she explained.

According to Blocker, MCLA was her first choice. 

"I liked it so much because it was close to home, but yet still far enough away to have some freedom.  I also liked it for its size. It's not super tiny but the classroom sizes are pretty small," she said. "I like to be able to have an established relationship with my professors so that I know they are there to help me when I may need them. They also know me who I am and what works best for me." 

Blocker has had many positive experiences while at MCLA. They range from meeting some of her best friends to getting a great education. However, "I think the best thing about my experience is that I really feel at home here, whether I am hanging out in a friend's town house or in Professor Sharon Claffey's office, talking about my next assignment due.

"We have such a wonderful psychology department," Blocker continued. "All of the professors in the department are great teachers and are really here for the students.  I always feel comfortable if I need to talk to them about assignments or if I am having trouble with something. In my experience, they are more than willing to help all the time."

Blocker, too, helps others on campus. This summer she is an orientation leader for new students. This past year, she served as a peer advisor.

"As a peer advisor you are there to help and guide the students to help them figure out what college is all about," she explained. "You are a role model they look up to.  This experience has allowed me to help others, but also help myself by feeling good about bettering the MCLA community."