Spring 2024 Intern Spotlight

Join us as we say, "Thank you!" to The Center Spring 2024 Interns. Read the personal reflections of Emily Corson, Riley Davis, Kate McClellan, Brittany Ninham, and Diana Silchuk.

In the Spring of 2024 we welcomed over 10 interns from local universities including Colgate University and Utica University. The Utica University students also assisted The Center during the Fall of 2023. Thank you to all the interns who contributed to building community with many cultures.  We wish you the best for the future.

Read some of their personal reflections below:


My name is Emily Corson, and I am a senior History major and Educational Studies minor at Colgate University. Over the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to intern at The Center as a classroom aid in an intermediate-level ESOL class. This experience has been one of the most enjoyable I've had throughout my college career. From conducting small group work to crafting my own lesson plans, I have learned so much about teaching English as a new language. Not only did I learn practical teaching skills, but I also learned from the students. Their diverse perspectives, dedication, and kindness always brought a smile to my face. To have been even a small part of these students' educational experiences and lives is a great privilege, one I will remember for years to come. 

As a future educator, my experience at The Center has been beyond invaluable. I extend my deepest gratitude to Marutte for all of her guidance and to the students in her classroom for all they have taught me. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and cannot recommend interning at The Center more!

I am originally from Delhi, NY but I now attend school in Utica. I am currently navigating the exciting world of graduate studies at Utica University with a major in occupational therapy. I'm excited to share that I'll be graduating this year with my bachelor's degree and continuing my journey to obtain my master's degree next year. My passion lies in this field, where I’m given the chance to help individuals overcome barriers to lead fulfilling lives. After I graduate, I plan to pursue this opportunity in pediatrics.

I have spent the past year volunteering at this facility under the guidance of ESOL instructors Lorraine Eady and Ismar Omeragic. It's been an incredibly rewarding experience, getting to connect with people from all walks of life and lend a helping hand in any way I can. Whether providing one-on-one help in the classroom, giving English language lessons to the class, or simply offering a listening ear, being a part of this community has truly opened my eyes to new perspectives. One of the most significant takeaways has been the importance of empathy and cultural sensitivity in fostering meaningful connections and providing effective support. For future volunteers, this will be an outstanding opportunity to be immersed into the rich diversity this community has to offer, as well as develop your appreciation for unique experiences. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play a meaningful role in the journeys of numerous individuals.

Hello! My name is Kate McClellan and I am studying Educational Studies and Theater at
Colgate University. Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Both of my
parents are educators, as well as my grandparents and great grandmother. I’ve always loved kids,
so I knew elementary education was the field I wanted to go into. However, The Center has
offered me the incredible opportunity to work in a classroom with adult learners. Seeing the
learning process of the students at The Center has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking that
will help me when I become a teacher.

While at The Center, it is hard not to have a smile on my face. Every staff member goes out of
their way to make the interns experience as smooth sailing as possible. While the staff members
have definitely made my experience at The Center unforgettable, it’s the students' friendliness
and willingness to let me help them that has affected me most. Being able to work one on one
with the students at The Center, whether we are reading a book together or doing word searches
with new vocabulary, I have formed many new relationships. Getting to meet so many different
people from all over the world allowed me to learn about many different cultures. Not only is it
generally good to have an understanding of other cultures, but as someone who wants to go into
the education field, it is important for me to learn about individual students' lives on a personal
level. While there may be a language barrier between the students and myself, overtime they
learned to trust me, allowing us to communicate in ways where words are not needed.

My name is Brittany Ninham. I am an Occupational therapy student in the Utica University graduate program. I am also a member of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. Being part of such a resilient and rich culture has motivated me to learn about and work with other cultures. 

When I finish the graduate program I plan to work in an acute care (hospital) setting. When working in the healthcare field it is  important to be culturally competent. Gaining experience through my internship at the center has allowed me to develop many new skills. During my time at the center I gained experience working with clients in the ESL classroom and learned some ways to adapt services in order to meet culturally unique needs. 

While interning at the center I had the opportunity to use some of the knowledge I’ve gained in my OT program with running therapeutic group interventions for the participants here at the center. My interventions revolved around diaphragmatic breathing techniques and mindfulness as a form of relaxation. This was a great experience for me as I met many wonderful individuals with some incredible stories. Being immersed in such a culture rich setting has taught me the value of diversity and what it means to be a part of a community. I will keep the knowledge and experience with me as I pursue my future as an occupational therapist.


Hello! My name is Diana Silchuk, and I am an Occupational Therapy student at Utica University. These past two semesters I’ve had the privilege to complete my community fieldwork at the Center for these past two semesters. Coming every week was something I greatly looked forward to, as I was able to interact and work with people of diverse backgrounds. It was inspiring to see how determined many of the refugees and immigrants were to learn English, in the midst of the many challenges they may be facing. Being at the Center was also a place of personal growth for me, I was able to help in teaching ESOL classes which challenged me in the best way possible. It taught me to be creative in the way I teach others and what it looks like to communicate with others in the way that works best for them, all of which will be applicable to me in the future as a healthcare professional. I’m grateful for this opportunity and for all the teachers I was able to work alongside!

For more information about volunteer and internship opportunities at The Center contact Elise Incze, Volunteer Coordinator, elisei@thecenterutica.org