End of Internship

This has been a whirlwind of a summer, and I can’t believe it’s come to an end.  Working at PCDC has challenged me to think about my life, my goals, and social justice in new ways, some of which has been useful and some of which has been frustrating for me.  The useful aspects have been gaining a broader understanding of what early intervention is and what services are available to the disadvantaged population I’m hoping to working with in the future.  I also have spoken with many people at the agency about what graduate degrees I should earn in order to get where I want to be in my career; something I had been struggling with greatly before this summer.  It has additionally been useful to have been researching the federal regulations relating to early childhood education and care and investigating how PCDC has complied with these regulations as I now have a better sense of why daycares do things certain ways.  Lastly, I’ve gotten a lot of experience working in PROMIS, the database that is used in many similar agencies.

There have also been some very frustrating challenges, such as trying to understand my contributions to social justice.  I had always felt that I needed to be working directly with children in order to make a difference, but working with my supervisor and talking to the director of the program has convinced me otherwise.  While I still aim to work directly with children as that’s what I find most fulfilling, I am working through whether I should focus more on policy since I could make more of a widespread difference that way.

I think these conflicting ideas will challenge me throughout my life, and I can’t imagine a better place to grapple with the issues surrounding social justice than Brandeis.  When I get back in the fall I will certainly be seeking out opportunities to contend with the conflicting concept of how best to apply myself to bettering children’s lives.   I would like to continue my research in relation to the available services and find or create a niche that is both enjoyable and fulfilling for me.

I am not sure how to advise other students interested in this field, as I am still grappling with a lot of it myself.  I suggest that you really deeply investigate what it is you are looking for and pursue a job that fulfills your requirements while at the same time understanding that it will more likely than not take several steps to get there.  I myself had thought I wanted something specific and, while I was on the right track, have certainly changed my mind and clarified many things.  If you are pursuing an internship or job specifically at Community Action, I suggest that you contact my supervisor directly, and you are welcome to email me to get her specific information.

It has been a summer full of highs and lows, but overall I am very glad I had the opportunity to work in this agency and would do it again if I had the chance.  I am eternally grateful for the respect and trust bestowed upon me, as it gave me a really gracious entrance into the professional office world.

Avital Sokolow Silverman ’14


Half-way through the summer

Wow (no pun intended), I can’t believe I’m already half-way through this internship.  Time flies!  The past month has been filled with learning and personal reflection.  My time thus far has mostly been split between working with our new database that just went live, and working on my major project for the summer: familiarizing myself with all early childhood federal and state regulations, reading the agency monitoring protocols, and interviewing all of the agency employees mentioned in the protocols on how they ensure that regulations are being met.  While I know this sounds rather dry to an outside observer, this project has ultimately led me to achieve all of my goals for this summer, such as learning new things in the field of early childhood education, enhancing my research skills, learning how to work in an office environment, and networking with possible future employers.

While all of these new areas of learning are inherently valuable to me in that they are intellectually stimulating, they will also prove invaluable as I enter graduate school and look for jobs in the future.  Being intimately familiar with the federal regulations relating to Early Childhood Care and Education and knowing what resources are available will afford me an advantage in negotiating what type of setting I want to work in when I enter the job market.   Utilizing my research skills has no doubt augmented them and contributed to my success in my monitoring project, as well as acquainted me with the resources available to me in all aspects of Early Childhood Care and Education.  Working in an office and having constant meetings with my supervisor (a highly educated and talented professional), no doubt contribute to my feelings of ease and comfort in a fast-pased, intellectually stimulating environment.  Lastly, knowing the ins and outs of an organization such as this one will surely allow me to thrive in graduate school and the job market and will put me many steps above all other applicants.

I am proud of myself for the work I have done in this organization so far, but mostly for putting this whole summer together: from finding and securing the internship, to getting the WOW, to finding an apartment for the summer (which is no easy feat when working through Craigslist!).  This microcosm of experiences and successes will no doubt aid me in similar future endeavors, and I can now approach them with a confidence and know-how I did not previously possess.  I very much relish being trusted as an integral part of the Parent-Child Development Center and I  look forward to what the rest of the summer holds in store for me.

Avital Silverman ’14

Hard at work in her brand new data lab!
My supervisor, Amanda Thayer, hard at work in her brand new data lab!




First Week at PCDC


Today was my third day interning at the Parent-Child Development Center (PCDC), a program of Community Action, which provides daycare and many other social services to low-income families in Western Massachusetts.  The PCDC runs numerous Head Start and Early Head Start centers in the area which serve nearly 1,000 kids who otherwise would not have high-quality daycare and medical care.  The PCDC building that I am working in for the summer is located in Northampton, Massachusetts and houses both a daycare and many offices for PCDC employees, managers, and directors.

I was immediately interested in working for the PCDC when I read about it online during my internship hunt because it perfectly aligns with my past experiences working in Head Start daycares and my future academic and career goals of getting my Master’s in early intervention.  I also have always wanted to live in Northampton, so it seems the stars aligned on this one.

While I knew I would be working directly under the Manager of Data and Planning, I was unsure of and nervous about exactly what this internship would entail.  It turns out I should not have wasted my time worrying!  My supervisor (the manager of data and planning) is an amazing woman who spent hours orienting me and asking what I most want to accomplish and experience this summer and ensuring that I would be able to do all of those things.  She went above and beyond when she found out that I want to go into early intervention by offering to have me trained to do diagnostic screenings and possibly perform some screenings for their clientele later in the summer.  Everyone else I have met in the office has been incredibly welcoming, and many people mentioned that since the cubicle was reserved for “Avital data + planning intern,” everyone thought it was being reserved for a vital intern.  We had a good laugh about that.

Work-wise, these first few days have thus far mostly been spent researching all of the regulations that pertain to the PCDC and its services.  I’ve also spent a lot of time in my cubicle (which is quite spacious, actually, you can see it in the picture) figuring out how to use the new database that is being rolled out in July and which it seems I will spend lots of time on.  Having spent only a few hours in the office so far, it is already apparent what it really means to be passionate about your job and put everything into it no matter how much (or how little, as the case may be) money comes back to you in return, which is incredibly refreshing.

I had high hopes for this summer internship before, and now I can say for sure that I managed to find my dream job and I could not be more grateful.  I expect to learn a lot about the administrative side of childcare in addition to learning how to navigate public resources and social services.  Should be a great summer!


In my apartment for the summer getting ready to leave for my first day at the PCDC
In my apartment for the summer getting ready to leave for my first day at the PCDC
My cubicle at the PCDC office.
My cubicle at the PCDC office.

– Avital Sokolow Silverman ’14