Mayo Internship Reinforces Goal to Work with Kids

Mayo Internship Reinforces Goal to Work with Kids

Mayo Internship Reinforces Goal to Work with Kids
Keifer Nevius, center, with BVU students Navneet Sandha and Cassie Sinclair, who also performed internships at the Mayo Clinic.

Working with a clinical psychologist during an internship in the Department of Psychiatry & Psychology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in January 2011 was an eye-opening experience for Keifer Nevius.

Keifer, a psychology major from Osceola who graduated in May, worked with Dr. Stephen Whiteside, associate professor of psychology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and the director of the Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Program.

Keifer found that working with Whiteside and a post-doctoral student was revealing because the work focused primarily on child and adolescent anxiety disorders.  “This was especially interesting because I hope to be working with kids someday,” says Keifer.

“Dr. Whiteside was conducting research for his exposure therapy technique,” says Keifer.  “He was attempting to develop an intensive program to lead to quicker results for children suffering from anxiety disorders, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), phobias, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.”  Keifer and another BVU student helped record data collected from Whiteside’s therapy sessions and entered the data into a computer program.

Keifer hopes his internship will help with his application to graduate school to get a master’s of social work degree.

This past January, Keifer interned at Faith, Hope and Charity, a facility for developmentally disabled children in Storm Lake, where he worked with social services professionals in activities ranging from admissions and inquiries to respite care services. 

“After having worked in the intellectually disabled field, I can see myself doing that kind of work, but would like to branch out and am interested in the foster care system, as well as social services in schools,” he notes.

Contributing to Keifer’s experiences was a 2011 service trip to the Dominican Republic as part of BVU’s alternative spring break program — Alternative Week of Off-site Learning (AWOL).  He and other BVU students volunteered at Orphanage Outreach, located in Jaibon, Valverde Province, in northwestern Dominican Republic.  The orphanage is home to 20 boys and has a school that educates approximately 500 children.

“We taught English at local schools and helped run camps (music, crafts, reading sports) at the churches during the day and hung out with the kids during the evening,” he says.  “I enjoyed serving the kids and hopefully making a positive difference, even if it was only for a short time.”

On the BVU campus, Keifer was active in student organizations and activities such as Student Senate, Student MOVE (Mobilizing Outreach and Volunteer Efforts) and played on the tennis team.