SUNY Oneonta will expand partnerships with local and regional employers to enhance internship opportunities, which will benefit students and participating companies and organizations, officials said.
The State University College at Oneonta is among 18 SUNY institutions selected for Phase II of SUNY Works, a cooperative education and internship initiative, according to a media release issued Monday.
Anneleise Gilchrest, founder of Athelas Therapeutic Riding Inc. in Otego, said a benefit of the internship program is working with motivated college students who help with operations and clients. She said the connection also helps spread the word about the program and its mission to offer equine-assisted activities to individuals with physical, mental and emotional challenges in a caring, relaxed atmosphere.
Cheryl Parisian, a 21-year-old senior at SUNY Oneonta, said she hopes her internship with Athelas Therapeutic Riding will help her create a career involving horses and psychology, her major at college.
Parisian completed an internship in the spring and is volunteering this summer at the equine business. In the fall semester, she will continue in the internship program with greater responsibilities and challenges, she said.
While her duties include cleaning stalls and feeding and turning out horses, she also assists with and gives riding lessons. Parisian, who is working toward certification as a therapeutic riding instructor, said her psychology courses have provided knowledge that helps clients meet challenges.
“It’s really fascinating to see how these students change when they get around horses,” Parisian said. “It’s amazing.”
Parisian, who describes herself as a “ quiet person,” said her non-office internship is atypical and challenges her to at times “to be loud.”
“It’s allowed me to grow as an individual — it’s given me an opportunity I wouldn’t have had anywhere else,” Parisian of Otego said. “It’s outside, it’s hands-on, it’s hard work — it’s me.”