By Emily Pierce
Franklin College Intern
One of my true passions in life is to help others. I knew if I interned at Cornerstone Autism Center, I would be doing just that.
By the time I applied to for the internship, I had been working with children for years. I was even blessed enough to work one-on-one with an amazing girl who was on the autism spectrum. This girl changed my life. Because of her, I saw the joys of working with and helping a child with autism achieve goals and become a part of a bigger community. My interests, values and beliefs perfectly aligned with Cornerstone’s mission to “maximize those who struggle, embrace those who love and fulfill those who serve.” It seemed natural to want to intern at such a wonderful company.
I first heard about Cornerstone while completing undergraduate research about autism treatments on a global scale. Since the completion of my research, I knew I wanted to pursue an internship with Cornerstone as soon as my class schedule at Franklin College allowed it. Initially, I wanted a therapist internship; however, after speaking with Marketing Coordinator Morgan McClellan during my interview, I realized that I could help build an internship that would allow me to inform and engage the community about the recourses and therapy available at Cornerstone. After getting accepted to start an internship, Morgan and I began working together to create the Recruitment and Outreach Internship.
My responsibilities ranged from researching new opportunities and contacts to going out into the community recruiting ABA therapists at universities and speaking with medical professionals about the new treatment brochures. One of my favorite tasks was going to Purdue University and setting up an information table. This opportunity allowed me to speak with students about the ABA therapist career path at Cornerstone as well as internship opportunities. Talking to students at Purdue also pushed me outside of my comfort zone as I was engaging with a new community on a much larger campus than my own. I was even fortunate enough to speak with the head of the honors college at Purdue about what Cornerstone has to offer to both undergraduate and graduate students.
These interactions allowed me to use the knowledge I gained from meeting professionals on the administration and clinical staff at Cornerstone. As an intern, I was able to meet a range of professionals with a variety of specialties within the company. I met with individuals that have advanced degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis in order to get a better understanding of how Cornerstone utilizes ABA to help their clients and the clients’ families. I even got the opportunity to meet the co-founders of the company and present my recruitment research to them at a meeting. Being able to ask these professionals questions about their role in the company and how they came to work at Cornerstone not only benefitted my understanding of the company itself, but benefitted my understanding of this field as a whole. I was always encouraged to ask questions and I always learned something new with every answer. I can say with confidence that my time here at Cornerstone has better prepared me for any future career I wish to pursue.
While having an internship is great for building my resume, my time at Cornerstone meant so much more to me. Interning here felt more personal and rewarding than just getting credit for graduation. Upon completing my internship, I knew that I was able to assist a company that actively pursues greatness for these children and their families. I was able to understand why the employees at Cornerstone put their hearts and souls into everything they do. From helping the families to making sure the therapists understand that they are appreciated, the employees I worked with at Cornerstone ensure it is all done with love. While I was directly interacting with the children or their families, knowing my work will make even the smallest impact on them makes me incredibly happy. This indirect impact is what makes my internship special to me, and it is why I truly believe my time here transcends any credit I may receive.
December 11, 2018, Emily Pierce, Franklin College Intern