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Two Gwynedd Mercy University students have accepted Special Education internship positions with Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN). GMercyU was one of only two institutions in Eastern Pennsylvania that were invited to submit candidates, and of the eligible applicants, the two selected candidates are both GMercyU students. Diego Taylor and Colena Jenkins, both senior Education majors, began their internship at the regional PaTTAN East office in Malvern, Pa. in January.
“We are honored to be one of just two institutions invited to take part in this incredible learning experience, and even more proud that our two students were selected to participate,” said Dean of GMercyU’s of School of Business and Education, Heather Pfleger, MBA, EdD. “The experience will allow them to participate in a unique, hands-on learning experience so that when they graduate and begin their career, they’ll be even more confident. We are thrilled to have Diego and Colena represent GMercyU as PaTTAN’s first interns.”
PaTTAN works closely with the Bureau of Special Education (BSE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to provide a full array of professional development and support to educators throughout the state. This professional development and technical assistance takes on many forms, including webinars, on-site assistance, and an ongoing professional development series. At the request of the BSE, PaTTAN developed an internship program to support the efforts of local colleges and universities to recruit and retain passionate and diverse pre-service candidates into the field of special education.
The internship is a paid position that runs from January to May. At the beginning of the internship, each student is assigned a mentor within the organization to offer support and guide the intern for the duration of the program. Throughout the semester, the interns are involved in various training sessions and conferences across the state, including events in Malvern, Hershey, and Harrisburg.
“I wanted to learn more and spread my horizons,” said Colena Jenkins of her reason for applying for the PaTTAN internship. “So far, I love the experience and I am already learning so much. I’ve been going to different professional development events discussing various topics for teachers, principals, special education teachers, and subject leaders.”
The goal of the PaTTAN Internship Program is to show students the assorted operations of the PaTTAN system and its support of special education services throughout the Commonwealth. By working on various assignments with consultants from the different initiatives, the candidates will utilize their knowledge found in their course work in a practical internship experience to gain skills and insights that can be applied later in their education career.
“I am being exposed to so many professionals inside and outside of PaTTAN,” said Diego Taylor of his experiences so far. “This experience is helping me imagine the day-to-day life of an educator in my chosen field. I look forward to applying the knowledge and skills I have acquired from the incredible professors I have had here at GMercyU and putting those skills to work in this real-world setting.”