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Internship provides career insights


Some students come to campus with laser-like focus, their hearts set on a major or even a career plan. Others taste, sample, discover and explore until they find just the right fit.

Laura O’Toole is clearly in that second group.

She began as a management major, switched to engineering and tried out several liberal arts programs before hitting her stride as a psychology and philosophy double major.

“Binghamton offers a lot of majors,” said O’Toole, 21, of Port Jefferson Station on Long Island. “I kind of just found my way into it.”

This summer, O’Toole put together those years of academic preparation in a professional setting and found a field she truly loves.

Through Off Campus College, she landed an internship at the Family Psychology Institute’s Attention Disorders Clinic in Endicott. She sat in on interviews and treatment sessions, glued electrodes to patients’ heads and administered tests.

The clinic’s Vincent Monastra, author of Parenting Children With ADHD, uses biofeedback to treat attention disorders. He sees the practice – in which patients learn to regulate their own brain activity – as a supplement to medication.

“I’ve been interested in alternative treatments but not really able to express what I wanted to do until biofeedback fell into my lap,” O’Toole said.

The subject fired up her curiosity and she spent much of her summer learning more about it. She may return to work at the clinic after graduation in December.

Now, O’Toole feels she has a plan for graduate school. She hopes to apply to doctoral programs with an emphasis on neuropsychology and explore biofeedback as it relates to other disorders.

“It’s very widely applied,” she said, “but not widely studied.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08