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Building blocks

Schooling translates directly to the workplace for psychology major

Teaching and Learning

By Rebecca Newhook

The complexity of the human brain initially drew Ksenia Kiseleva to study psychology as an undergraduate at Memorial University.

Ksenia Kiseleva sits at a desk and looks over her shoulder. There is an open laptop on a table in front of her, opened to the Practicare website. A window is behind the laptop, looking out at a parking lot with cars.
Ksenia Kiseleva is of Russian/Malaysian descent and is in her last year of her psychology program in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Memorial.
Photo: Submitted

But as the bachelor of arts student progressed through her degree, her focus narrowed in on how the study of psychology can help us understand the impacts of childhood adversities and trauma — interests that she was able to explore through her work terms in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Psychology Co-operative Education Program.

Great match

Prior to her participation in co-operative education, Ms. Kiseleva worked as a tutor and as a home support worker, positions that provided her with skills and experience for a work term with Practicare Learning Solutions in St. John’s.

Practicare develops training for care service workers in areas such as caring for seniors in their homes, intellectual and developmental disabilities, long-term care and personal care homes, and child and youth residential care.

“I was interested in the opportunity to connect my own experience as a home support worker, my teaching experience and my knowledge in psychology to the training that Practicare provides,” said Ms. Kiseleva.

During her time with Practicare, Ms. Kiseleva contributed to maintaining and developing several online courses.

Using data from experts and published research, she and her colleagues designed and edited course content to present information to learners using innovative methods and activities.

One course that Ms. Kiseleva contributed to that she says she is particularly proud of is on the topic of unconscious bias, a concept covered in several of her courses at Memorial.

“Any adversities and trauma that people faced in their childhood may go on to influence their adulthood.” — Ksenia Kiseleva

She feels it is important that care workers understand how unconscious attitudes influence how people see and interact with those around them.

She also worked on a course about the justice system and intellectual and developmental disabilities, which teaches care workers how to support clients with disabilities who find themselves involved in the justice system.

“Quality of training promotes quality of care,” said Ms. Kiseleva. “It’s important that we provide care workers with specific skills and knowledge to provide the best services to their clients, especially children in care. Children are the future of our world and they have so much potential for greatness. However, they are also some of the most vulnerable. Any adversities and trauma that people faced in their childhood may go on to influence their adulthood.”

‘Lasting impacts’

Kelly Perchard was Ms. Kiseleva’s work term supervisor at Practicare.

She says that students at Practicare are valued team members and empowered to make meaningful contributions.

“Ksenia has become fully immersed in our organization, and her work, ideas, and other contributions have added value to our organization that will have lasting impacts for years to come.”

Ms. Kiseleva’s work terms gave her space to think carefully about what comes next after she finishes her degree at the end of 2023.

“Each work experience is a building block for your career.” — Ksenia Kiseleva

She hasn’t ruled out entering a graduate program, but thinks she will continue in the workforce for a few years following graduation. Her interest in child welfare may lead her to a graduate-level degree in that area in the future.

“Working with Practicare has ignited the spark in my career journey. I feel confident in my professional identity, having accomplished many goals during my work terms. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next after I graduate.”

Ms. Kiseleva recommends that students join the co-operative education program and be open-minded about the job search.

“Each work experience is a building block for your career; you build skills that can be transferred to the next job. Don’t be afraid to try out different jobs, a career path isn’t always a straight line!”

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