Creating impacts through internships

By Julia Layland, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Maegan Badillo is passionate about preventing child abuse by providing support to children and families. And thanks to her efforts to secure an internship last spring, she proved her abilities to accomplish those goals and landed a permanent position working for the Children’s Home Society in the Parents as Teachers Program.

Posed portrait of Maegan Badillo
Maegan Badillo

Badillo, who graduated from WSU in May with a degree in Human Development, minors in Psychology and Sociology, and a certificate in Family Studies, researched, emailed, and conducted informational interviews with the organization to earn the internship in her native Orange County, California.

An internship was important to Badillo, though; she wanted to learn and gain experience in a real-world environment. Her Professional Preparations professor, Joe Hewa, director of WSU’s Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership, suggested Badillo look into the Children’s Home Society. Maegan was the only intern they hired this past year.

Badillo created a positive environment and a sense of community for families, even with the added stress of working entirely online and finishing her last semester at WSU. She worked with the community to provide support, for parents or children, through a variety of issues including different forms of abuse, mental illnesses, or housing stability.

“It definitely was a lot, but it’s fulfilling working so closely with families. A lot of these families have been through adverse experiences, different kinds of abuse or addictions, there is a variety of different things that families are going through. The main goal is being able to relieve some of their stress about their child’s development, so they can work harder to establish themselves and gain stability,” said Badillo.

Due to her outstanding work, Badillo earned a full-time position with Children’s Home Society after her internship. She was hired by the society’s Early Head Start program as a Home Visitor Specialist and started in June. Securing employment in her field directly out of her internship, and directly out of college, isn’t easy in today’s job market.

“I worked very hard in my internship to prove I am a person that deserves to be there, that I am a person that can handle responsibilities, take on tasks, and complete them in a timely manner to the best of my ability. Having respectful and effective communication was a huge part of it, and I attribute it to all of my hard work that I was able to gain this position,” said Badillo .

Badillo’s advice to all current or future students is to pursue internships, work hard, and maintain the image you sell in your interviews. Confidence is gained through experience, and when you start an internship and show you are confident in your own abilities and are deserving of some respect, it becomes easier to connect with people.

“Even though it is terrifying, and maybe your self-confidence and self-esteem are zero, you can do it. You just have to show that you are willing to do it,” Badillo said. “I came into this internship with little confidence, especially with COVID holding me back. Working through that, pushing through the tears, pushing through the butterflies in your stomach, you can get there to where you need to be if you really work through it. There is nothing you cannot accomplish.”