Sophie Greer, BMC ’23

Advocating for Neurodiversity

Semester: Fall 2022

Faculty Advisor: Adam Williamson

Field Site: Facilitate Joy!

Field Supervisor: Cady Stanton

Praxis Poster:

Sophie Greer_Poster_Final


Further Context:

My Praxis course this past fall involved a remote internship at Facilitate Joy! (Reno, NV). Facilitate Joy! advocates for neurodivergent (ND)* people and provides a space for ND people to connect and build community. Facilitate Joy! also provides autism and ADHD coaching.

My responsibilities included researching ND conditions and related traits, raising awareness about neurodiversity by educating the public, and collecting resources for ND people and those who love them. To raise awareness, I developed many presentations about various aspects of the
neurodivergent experience, including alexithymia** and interoceptive dysfunction***.  I also developed and gave a presentation on “Less Well-Known Neurodivergent Conditions”, covering face blindness (prosopagnosia), motion blindness (akinetopsia), dyscalculia (a math learning disability), synesthesia (overlapping senses), and aphantasia (“image-free thinking”).

Through this Praxis course, I improved some soft skills as well as learned about many disabilities and neurological symptoms and associated interventions. I learned how to communicate complex, nuanced medical topics to lay audiences in a way that is accessible and educational and
how to convey information to people in different ways (i.e., verbally, via text, videos, and graphics). I learned about the tips & tricks that some ND people use to manage their conditions & quirks, as well as about ND resources.

*Neurodiversity = the range of ways to think, act, learn, and communicate; a form of biological diversity; the diversity of brains and minds

*Neurodivergent (ND) = someone whose neurological functioning differs from what is considered “typical”. Different cultures and people have different definitions of the word “typical” so different people may be considered ND in different circumstances. ND people often have neurodevelopmental, learning, emotional, and cognitive disorders, such as autism, ADHD, anxiety, dyspraxia, Tourette’s, or dysgraphia.

**Alexithymia refers to the inability to recognize, name, and describe one’s emotions, and may involve trouble with others’ emotions too.

***Interoceptive dysfunction involves an altered sense of interoception, which is your ability to notice your body’s signals (e.g., your heartbeat, sense of pain, hunger) and respond appropriately. Interoception is not as well-known as the classic “5 senses”, but it is a sense all the same

Kate Southerland, BMC ’23

Equitable Development

Semester: Fall 2022

Faculty Advisor: Gary McDonogh

Field Site: Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC)

Field Supervisor: Andy Toy

Praxis Poster:

Kate Southerland_Poster_Final


Further Context:

Hello! My name is Kate Southerland and my Praxis Study is named Equitable Development. Specifically for the Praxis Program, I had to create a Learning Plan that incorporated written reflections, readings, and meetings with my faculty advisor (Gary McDonogh) as well as my fieldwork component. While developing my learning plan, I listed out three main goals for myself that would benefit me in my future career: understand particular policies regarding equitable planning/development, enhance my communication skills, and improve my digital competencies.

Before I started my fieldwork, I completed some preliminary readings (ranging from academic research to New Yorker online posts) that helped me prepare and see what to expect before starting my fieldwork. My field site is PACDC (Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations). Just to clarify, a CDC is a community-based nonprofit that aims to revitalize, preserve, and overall improve the area it serves; however, not all CDCs look and act the same.

During my fieldwork experience, I have participated in many programs and initiatives including research for the Equity Development Policy Platform, GIS tasks, and other digital/office tasks.  Fortunately, my position at PACDC gave me the opportunity to grow in these areas as well as expand upon other areas of knowledge. Surprisingly, the policy research I was doing at PACDC for the Equitable Development Policy Platform helped me with my thesis by encouraging me to read and better understand federal housing policies.

Overall, I am glad I participated in the Praxis Independent Study Program as I was able to challenge myself and apply my knowledge and skills in real world situations.

Before you go, I would like for you to ponder about one thing: What does it mean for a city, community, or neighborhood to be “equitable?”

Michelle Waksman, BMC ’24

Nonprofits in Local Politics

Semester: Fall 2022

Faculty Advisor: Marissa Golden

Field Site: League of Women Voters of Lower Merion and Narberth

Field Supervisor: Jamie Mogil

Praxis Poster:

Michelle Waksman_Poster_Final

Abby Krauss, BMC ’23

Nurturing Little Minds

Semester: Fall 2022

Faculty Advisor: Jim Martin

Field Site: EBS Children’s Institute of West Chester

Field Supervisor: Cristine Cappo

Praxis Poster:

Abby Krauss_Poster_Final


Further Context:

The experiences one has in childhood can profoundly impact the rest of their life. In my professional career, I want to help kids build the skills to process their life experiences, cope with different situations, and advocate for themselves. I am a senior Psychology major and a Child and Family Studies minor and I have always had a strong interest in clinical work with children, which I will be pursuing once I graduate from Bryn Mawr. My Praxis Independent Study has helped me to actualize the learning I have been doing throughout my undergraduate career and has helped me learn more about practicing psychotherapy with children through both my coursework and my field placement. For my Praxis Independent Study, I worked with Cristine Cappo, LPC, from the EBS Children’s Institute of West Chester, and James Martin, Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Social Research.

The EBS Children’s Institute of West Chester is a multidisciplinary clinic that provides psychotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy, and physical therapy to children. They use an interdisciplinary approach, and many patients see therapists from multiple departments to best address and support their needs. I was an intern in the Child Psychology and Counseling Department, in which therapists use a family-centered and solution-oriented approach to support their patients. My responsibilities as a psychotherapy intern were to observe and participate in sessions with patients and parents under the supervision of Cristine Cappo, and help determine objectives and plan activities for sessions.

To get the most out of my experience at EBS, Professor Martin provided me with the support and resources to supplement the work I was doing at EBS. I became familiar with many informative sources that bolstered what I was learning through my experiences and was also able to benefit from Professor Martin’s extensive experience. To guide my learning, I had three learning objectives. My first learning objective was to learn more about the therapeutic process when working with children, such as the development of a relationship with the child in a clinical context and how to approach psychoeducational work with children. My second learning objective was to strengthen my overall understanding of the expression of psychological disorders in children, including an understanding of symptoms presented by children at this clinic. My final learning objective was to develop a greater understanding of the barriers to clinical care such as SES, the effect of stigma, and familial situations like divorce.

My experiences at EBS not only helped me to reach my learning objectives but also informed my future academic/career goals. I was able to establish a therapeutic relationship with children at the clinic, gain a greater understanding of the expression of psychological disorders in children, witness the complexities of providing psychological care in this setting, and gain a greater understanding of some of the barriers there can be to treatment. I am coming away from this experience knowing a great deal more about the field I am going into, and with even more excitement about my future academic and professional career.