New education fellowship available
Sophomore special education major Katlyn Benish said she wanted to pursue an outlet in college and high school that fit her passion for helping those with physical and mental disabilities.
Benish volunteered for the Best Buddies program in high school and college, but she said she was concerned about finding a similar outlet once she graduates.
Now, thanks to the work of the Towson presidential scholar and former Maryland Superintendent of schools Nancy Grasmick, Benish may have that outlet — she can apply for a fellowship with the Kennedy Krieger Institute once she graduates.
Kennedy Krieger is one of the top institutes in the country that assists those with mental disabilities, according to Benish.
Only Towson graduates can apply for the fellowship, which consists of six months of an internship in classroom and six months of working with researchers at Krieger.
“They are one of the greatest institutions for people with special needs,” Benish said. “They have some of the best teachers there, and if you want to work with them, it will really give you a leg up on other special education majors.”
Grasmick said she has been developing the partnership for a while, starting collaboration between the institute and Towson administration when came to Towson in March.
“It’s going to be excellent,” Grasmick said. “It provides the fellows who will be at Kennedy Krieger with a real depth of knowledge of experts who are working in special education.”
The learning that students could gain at Krieger is much greater than theory they learn in the classroom, Grasmick said, because of the hands-on experience they’ll get with the experts at the institute.
“They’ll get the opportunity to observe children who are sent there with significant behavioral disabilities, medical issues, they’ll be able to see this whole range of how interventions take place with these students,” she said. “[And they’ll] work with the researchers and people who really are knowledgeable and who work every day in research and with patients, so they’ll be able to learn from those experts in the field.”
Grasmick said she is hopeful the fellows will secure a job, if not at the center, then with other schools in the area.
“They will really be qualified to take leadership positions at local schools, whether that be a supervisor or a head of special education because they’ve had this special training,” she said.
Benish said she would be interested in applying for the fellowship, as she agreed with Grasmick, and said she has heard from her peers that if a student gets an internship at Kennedy Krieger, it increases their chances of landing a job after college.
“If you get an internship there you can pretty much get a job anywhere you want to,” she said. “You’d be a leg up on everybody, and if employers see Kennedy Krieger on your résumé, they’re going to be really impressed.”