James Madison University

CSDC Intern on Being a Student, Mentor

By: Sydney Palese
Posted: February 19, 2014


Ethan Bannar is forging his path to a career in the field of psychology by bringing together his leadership abilities and a penchant for helping his peers.

The junior in the Department of Psychology recently completed an internship with the Counseling & Student Development Center (CSDC). Reflecting on the internship, Bannar said it fostered both personal and professional development, and allowed him to grow more confident in his future as a psychology professional.

PHOTO: Francis therapy dogFor the duration of the internship, Bannar was required to complete 120 hours of service devoted to the advancement of the Center, including creating bulletin boards educating students about mental health issues around campus, assisting the Center’s professionals and writing a newsletter for the Sexual Trauma Empowerment Program (STEP). Occasionally, Bannar helped care for the Center’s therapy dog, Francis, by taking him for strolls around the quad. Francis provides counseling assistance for group and individual therapy.

Bannar also coordinated passport wellness events around campus, which allowed him to interact with his peers on a more personal level. During these events, students were able to learn about difficulties facing their classmates, and themselves; these topics ranged from dealing with long-distance relationships to self-harm. While Bannar described seeing his peers struggling through many of these issues as difficult, he found that by working to provide a safe and open environment and finding the best resources available for them, he was able to educate students and gain real-life experience, which he said was very rewarding.

Overall, Bannar said the internship encouraged his growth as a psychology student and directed his path through the multiple projects he immersed himself in. “It was time consuming, yet rewarding,” Bannar said. “You grow as a presenter, a student and a future mental health professional.”

In the future, Bannar hopes to become a clinical psychologist and said that the internship allowed him to cultivate the skills necessary to address sensitive topics among his peers.

The internship spans one semester of the academic year and psychology students may receive class credit upon completion. Bannar added that the internship is an excellent resume builder and “a great way to connect with professionals in the Center, as well as other students at the university.”