Contact

Sarah Burnett-Wolle, Ph.D.
Chair, Psychology/Child Life
221A White Hall

(315) 223-2576
Take the next step - Apply now

Quotes



Career Highlights


"I started my career in Rochester, NY, at what was then called Strong Children?s Medical Center, now the Children?s Hospital at Strong. I went there as an intern in January of 1992. I was hired part time as the Child Life Assistant there in March of 1992, as I completed my internship. In June of 1993 I was hired full time as a Child Life Specialist, where I worked on a pre-school, school-aged unit, with children who had a wide range of diagnoses. In May of 1997, I took a job as a Child Life Specialist for the dialysis unit and ambulatory care center at The Children?s Hospital of Philadelphia. I did that for just six months, when I moved to the inpatient oncology unit where I am now."

- Teresa Winston '92

"I completed my internship in Child Life at Yale New Haven Children?s Hospital. My internship confirmed my passion for Child Life. After my internship I took a position at a school for children with disabilities (mainly autism) and gained continued experience in growth and development and behavioral psychology. A year after my internship the director from Yale called me and asked if I was interested in working in the Child Life department as a casual staff for an extended maternity leave. After my time at Yale, I got a job at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. At CCMC I have had wonderful opportunities to work in all different areas of the hospital. I started on a Med/Surg unit, working in the PICU, ran a bereavement group for children who have lost a sibling, provided outpatient services to a Urology clinic and a Diabetes clinic. I have provided consults to our adult hospital across the street for children who have a terminal parent and have been coordinator of the student internship program."

- Sarah MacDonald '97

"I was hired by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program when I completed my internship there. While working there I received a job offer from the YWCA to be a Rape-Crisis Counselor/Advocate. The first full time position in Herkimer County. While there I worked with police and community agencies, and the Office of the District Attorney (DA). The DA received a grant for a victim services program which he asked me to develop, implement and run. I have now been there 21/2 years. My title is Victim Services Coordinator and I have full responsibility including direct services, budgets, grant writing, and community education."

- Tina Tyrell

How Psychology-Child Life prepared me


"It prepared me by giving me a strong knowledge base of the Child Life profession and my responsibilities to children and families as a Child Life Specialist. Also, all of the volunteer hours required for each class helped me gain experience in several different areas, working with people of all ages and abilities. For example, working with troubled teens in YSLP helped me learn to deal with different and difficult situations as well as analyze them through my required hourly journals. Working with individuals who are physically and mentally disabled/challenged has helped me become more sensitive to and be more aware of this specific population's needs."

-Iris Rivera '02

"I was scared to death to begin my internship, unsure of whether I had the emotional strength to work with children so sick. However, as I began, I realized that I had more than I thought I did. I also had such a strong knowledge base (one that I received as a student in the Psychology - Child Life program at Utica College). Things began to make sense, as I saw first hand what I had been studying, learning and practicing in the classroom. It made sense as I walked through the process of becoming an active Child Life Specialist in the hospital setting. It felt like a light bulb had come on for me. This was what I'd been hearing about, and I could do it because I had been given the tools, as well as the confidence, to succeed. Every day my confidence grew. Every day I could apply something else that I had learned while studying in Utica."

-Teresa Winston '92

"Child Life at UC has prepared me immensely for a position in Child Life. The coursework was right on target and the Fieldwork and internship requirements were icing on the cake."

-Kristal Neal '90

"My Child Life degree from Utica College has prepared me well for my career as a Child Life Specialist. Not only did I get a thorough background in child growth and development, I was also prepared through classes such as Anatomy and Physiology and Medicines and Pediatrics, which has been a great asset in working in a health care profession. Fieldwork hours with both healthy and hospitalized children including a wide range of ages and abilities were an invaluable experience. I remember how exciting it was during my internship when I was able to actually relate theory into practice."

- Sarah MacDonald '97

"UC prepared me by giving me a basic knowledge and diverse background in theory of Child Development. The various internships and field work enabled me to experience many different types of organizations, network with other professionals and gave me direct contact with children. It also gave me the opportunity to explore many different employment options."

- Tina Tyrell

How I got into the business


"I became interested in Child Life when I was a student at Utica College. A psychology major, I was confused and uncertain as a freshman about this decision and didn?t know what I was really looking for. I knew that working with children was a part of my future, but I didn?t know in what capacity. I was considering transferring from Utica to study speech pathology. I had never heard about Child Life before, and was encouraged by my faculty advisor to check it out. I did, and I began taking classes to learn more about it. I was fascinated and inspired! The more I learned, the more excited I became. I knew that this was it for me, though I had never stepped foot inside a hospital before."

- Teresa Winston '92

"I learned about Child Life from a friend who was a Child Life student at the time. I was a nursing students and I was curious about the Child Life profession so I took several classes and loved it. I changed my major shortly afterward. As for finding a job, I was lucky to have gotten hired straight out of my internship. I also know that for those students who are members of Child Life Counsel, they can ask in the Child Life forum about any open positions and people will respond."

-Iris Rivera '02

Current Position


"I am currently working at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan NYC in the outpatient clinic. The clinic has about 14 different sub-specialty clinics (surgery, asthma, cardiac, neurology, etc.) within it, along with general pediatrics. On average I see anywhere from 100-200 children daily, not including siblings and parents, and interact with about 20 different doctors and nurses on average. I sometimes supervise interns and volunteers in the area as well."

-Iris Rivera '02

"I am now a Child Life Coordinator at The Children's Hospital at Saint Peter's University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ."

-Kristal Neal '90

"Currently I am focusing my attention on starting a Child Life program in the Emergency Department (at Connecticut Children?s Medical Center). It has been a slow process considering our ED has operated without Child Life for so long but I believe I am making progress and I am being used more and more appropriately every day."

- Sarah MacDonald '97

Advice for starting out


"Don't be afraid to go out there and find a job. They do exist, if you are willing to relocate! New grads DO get hired! Grab a hold of any and all opportunities that come your way. You can learn so much! Appreciate it! This is such an amazing job, with the biggest rewards imaginable. Ask questions, get involved, and be active in your career. Child Life is gaining more recognition and more respect every day. You can be instrumental in continuing to make this happen."

-Teresa Winston '92

"Take comfort in knowing that Utica College has a great reputation and does an excellent job in preparing their students to be Child Life Specialists. You will definitely learn a lot within your first year as a Child Life Specialist, and as an intern. You will encounter many obstacles throughout your internship/career, but never give up!!! Take advantage of every opportunity/experience and learn from them. Most importantly, continue to educate yourself so that you can better provide the best care for children and families. Good Luck!"

- Iris Rivera '02

"Take anything you can get to start. In the beginning of my career, I worked every weekend and then 4 out of 5 evenings. I now have the ideal work schedule. It is well worth the wait. Even very part-time positions can lead to fell-time or help you get to another position. I worked 12 hours a week for several months before getting a full-time position. It definitely paid off!"

- Kristal Neal '90

"My advice to those starting out is to take your fieldwork very seriously, leave your options open, be aware that there are many areas your skills can be used in, some you may not be aware of and choose a field and job you love."

- Tina Tyrell