Student Success Story: Danielle Todd

Danielle Todd

Major/Minor: HDFS and Psychology

Class Standing: Senior

Internship: CT judicial branch internship program

How did you get involved in this internship program?

I first heard about the internship when I was a tutor with the UConn Brooklyn Collaborative. Another volunteer at the program told me about the internship program and I decided I wanted to apply.

What was your favorite part of the internship experience?

My favorite part was probably being able to be immersed in the work of a probation officer and getting the hands-on experience.

What was the most challenging part of your internship?

Trying to disassociate people from their crime. I made a point not look at that part of peoples’ files until after the first time meeting them. Trying to keep a positive relationship and a people-first mentality can be challenging when you know of the crime they committed but it is an important part of this type of work.

What were some things you learned from participating in this internship?

I got the chance to experience what life post-college is like in a career path I could choose. It was great to be able to apply what I’ve learned in my classes. Sitting in group therapy sessions and going on field visits to mental health clinics was helpful because I got to see the different theories we learn in class in practice in real-life scenarios.

How did you get involved in the UConn Brooklyn Collaborative?

I first learned about the program three years ago through Community Outreach. As a member of the group I go to the correction facility in Brooklyn CT and tutor the inmates on material related to the GED or business courses. The inmates are able to work towards their GED or take college credits in a business program which we help them prepare for. I was a member of the group for two years and now, in my third year, I am the Program Director.

How did you first get involved with this program?

I like to immerse myself in communities that I’m not familiar with so that I can learn something new about that particular group. I thought working with the Brooklyn Collaborative would be really eye-opening and was definitely a new experience for me.

Besides your internship and your role as Program Director for the UConn Brooklyn Collaborative, what else are you involved in, both on and off campus?

I am an UConn Connects Master Coach, and AAC Coach, and a member of the UConn Honors Program. UConn Connects is a peer to peer mentoring program that offers individualized support to students who want academic assistance. My role as a Master Coach has given me leadership experience and the ability to help other facilitators work with their participants. The AAC is a very welcoming environment and our goal is to get more students to utilize the services we offer.  I also work at IHOP about 20 hours a week.

How do you balance all of that on top of your course load each semester?

I think I am able to balance it all by maintaining my priorities and really thinking about what needs to get done first and going from there. It’s awesome to reward yourself but you have to get your work done first. I am all about doing anything in my power to reach my goal.

You have recently been offered a position with City Year for after graduation, how did you find that position?

I started by reaching out to Erin Jouliot, the Career for the Common Good Graduate Assistant at the Center for Career Development, and was able to talk to her about future career options. She told me about City Year and encouraged me to go to an info session they were hosting on campus. After the info session I submitted an early application and got accepted! I will be going to New York after graduation to work with kids in inner city public schools.

Had you ever used any of the services offered at the Center for Career Development before?

I have been meeting with a career counselor for the past two years which has been extremely helpful. Beth Settje, a member of the Center for Career Development staff, has been very impactful in my college career.

How did you prepare for your interview with City Year?

I researched City Year and learned everything I could about them. I also had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with the organization and expressed this to the interviewer. Having confidence in my skills and experience was important.

What are your plans for after your City Year experience?

I am thinking about going to graduate school eventually. I am taking this gap year to work with City year and do some self-discovery. I know I will learn a lot about myself by working with these kids. Hopefully after this experience I will have a better plan for grad school.

Do you have any advice for other UConn students?

I would tell other UConn students to follow their passion and to try something different.