Psychology student works with Planned Parenthood’s community outreach

Julia Thorne, a psychology student from Lindenwood University, walked in the Annual Women's March in downtown St. Louis. She is holding a sign promoting Planned Parenthood, the program she is working with as a part of her practicum. Photo by Jessie Basler

ABBY STONE Reporter

Psychology students have the opportunity to take a practicum, a class that allows them to clock 150 hours in the field of their choice, according to Professor Colleen Biri.

The psychology practicum is open to all psychology students preapproved by a professor.

Biri said the students can participate in a range of fields. These include working with elementary schools, senior living facilities, private practices and nonprofit practices.

“I think it helps them to determine whether they indeed want to work with either the population they suspected they wanted to work with or in the kinds of settings they thought they wanted to work in,” Biri said.

One student, Julia Thorne, is doing her practicum with Planned Parenthood this year.

With community engagement I suppose it’s breaking down the stereotypes and the stigma around Planned Parenthood and educating the community on everything they do.

Julia Thorne

Thorne is a junior at Lindenwood and is a psychology major with a double minor in gender studies and public health.

Thorne said she is working with Planned Parenthood’s community outreach program in St. Charles County.

“With community engagement I suppose it’s breaking down the stereotypes and the stigma around Planned Parenthood and educating the community on everything they do,” Thorne said.

Thorne said she was going to work with Planned Parenthood anyway as an internship. Then Biri told her she could get academic credit for the opportunity.

Thorne said after graduation, she wants to work with sectors in sexual health or maternity health.

She said she hopes this opportunity will give her experience and connections in her chosen field. She also hopes it will reaffirm that it is something she wants to do.

“At the end of it, I will know if I want to dive deeper into that area of study or if I’ve decided I want to work with a different population or a different sector of health,” Thorne said.

As for the practicum experience as a whole, Biri said it is growing rapidly.

Biri said last summer, they doubled their number of students taking the practicum. They are hoping for similar numbers this summer.

“It’s a terrific way for students to get their feet wet before graduation.” Biri said. “It’s something they can put on their résumés.”

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