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Student Spotlights

Anya Christensen: Family Studies

Anya was a transition to adult living team member for The Department of Child and Family Services during Fall 2023.

Briefly explain what you did and the result of your internship.

I learned more about casework at the state level by observing the daily activities of caseworkers at DCFS. I helped take notes at meetings, organize paperwork, and supervise visits. I also observed interviews, visits, and all types of meetings, including court meetings.

What did you learn on your internship that you were not expecting to learn?

I learned that there is a lot of flexibility to this job. Because DCFS is the state agency for family welfare, I expected it to be somewhat rigid, but casework is actually a pretty individual thing. Each employee had their own style and unique way of connecting with clients, which I did not entirely expect.

How have your future plans changed because of what you learned from your internship experience?

I confirmed that I am interested in doing casework at a state agency, and this internship has led me to believe that I will probably want to stay in Utah to do it because Utah has recently put a stronger emphasis on these roles and takes better care of their workers than some other states. I also learned that Utah has an incredibly effective practice model that other states seek to learn from, so I think it's a good place to be.

Please share how your experience led to personal inspiration or insightful revelation.

I feel like I understand myself better as a result of the things I experienced.

Would you recommend this internship to other students?

Yes, but only if they have a very flexible load otherwise. This internship would be best for someone who can be very flexible with their hours and who is interested in taking the lead on their own experience. Because the caseworkers are busy, you have to be proactive in asking for things because they will forget you are there otherwise, and you have to be comfortable with asking them too.

Is there anything else you would like to say regarding your internship?

It was difficult, but worth it. I do wish I had done something that was a little more active where I could participate and be of use, but I'm very grateful for everything I had the chance to learn.