In December off 2010, Ms. Kristan Miller was enrolled in HDFS 490, a prepatory course for the 480 hour spring semester internship experience. A major requirement for the course is the development of a capstone project. Each student develops a proposal for a project to be implemented during their internship the following semester. Although students are not required to implement the project, they are expected to attempt implementation, address barriers, identify potential resolutions, evalute their measures for success (goals), and share reccomendations for next steps.
Ms. Miller originally proposed to survey her co-workers to identify effective resources/interventions that they currently or previously employed when working with clients. The results of the survey would then be considered and a resource sharing program developed. Therapeutic staff support and mobile therapists would use the program as an index to quickly access the most effective internvention for their clients' specific diagnosis(es) or behaviors.
Throughout her internship, Ms. Miller encountered several barriers to the successful implementation of her project. When faced with each barrier, Kristan sought counsel from instructors and supervisors and used various problem solving techniques to identify the best next step or solution. In spite of the barriers she faced, Kristan successfully developed a resource sharing initiative and presented the outcome of her work at Spring 2011 Learning Fair (where she was awarded for First Place at the inagural colloquim).
Spring 2011 Learning Fair
Penn State Fayette, the Eberly Campus
Project title: The Missing Pieces
Developing resources and interventions to enhance outcomes for children with autism and related disorders.
At the conclusion of the spring 2011 semester, Kristan was meeting with her advisers and scheduling her classes for what would be her final semester at Penn State Fayette. On her way to completing her bacalaureatte degree in HDFS, Kristan found herself consumed with the work she just completed and wondered how she would continue to help her co-workers and the clients she served. Ms. Miller decided to enroll in business administration courses to earn a minor in Business Administration. An education in business administration, coupled with her passion for providing therapeutic services and education in Human Development and Family Studies, Kristan believed that she would now be equipped with the tools to effectively affect change in the field of behavioral therapy.
In the summer of 2011, Kristan continued working on her project. What was once "just" a class project was now an all-consuming passion for effective delivery of therapeutic services. While completing coursework with Dr. Jo Ann Jankoski, Kristan video taped mock counseling sessions. The purpose of the videos was to allow students an opportunity to assess themselves and each other, gaining critical insight about how they interact with clients. Considering the insight she gained form that invaluable experience and the work from her internship project, Kristan considered the following:
Children with autism, experience difficulty with mirror neuron function. Mirror neuron dysfunction leads to an individual's difficulty and/or inability to gain insight into others thoughts and actions. Individuals with Autism may have touble thinking about others thought processes. If individuals with Autism have mirror neuron dysfunction, how will they be able to effectively relate to the content and as a result learn the appropriate behavior? (K. Miller, 2011)
Kristan sought counsel from various faculty members including Peter Eberle (Business Administration) and Dr. Josh Marvit (Science). After consulting with faculty, mentors, and experts in the field, Kristan identified a potential solution: an App that allows individuals with Autism to superimpose their image as well as their caregiver's image into the social story that they are using to learn the normative behaviors. This allows the individuals with Autism to more easily relate to the story and learn normative behaviors (K. Miller, 2011). She then submitted her idea to the iCERi 2011 - International Conference of Education Research and Innovation.
Throughout the summer, Ms. Miller continued to work on her ideas, nearly forgetting about the conference submission. To her surprise, she was notified in late August that her work was accepted for presentation at this year's conference.
Immediately, she began to work on her "app" and acquire funding for the trip. Ms. Gina Jones (internship instructor) assisted Ms. Miller with acquiring funding from the University and connected her to Matthew Scarfo of Geneva Marketing, Inc. Mr. Scarfo worked with Kristan to develop a simulation of the "app" and lend his expertise to regarding web development, usability, etc.
is the name of Ms. Miller's app and potential company. She has purchased the web domain and is currently in the midst of patent and copyright applications as well as a full business plan for her tech company.
Ms. Miller travelled with Ms. Jones to Madrid on November 12, 2011. She is presenting her work on Monday, November 14 to over 650 participants.