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Department ofSociology

Stories

Emma Hmelar

Emma Hmelar

Emma Hmelar

Hi there! My Name is Emma Hmelar, and I am a junior sociology major, with a double minor in music and Japanese. This past summer I was lucky enough to be selected for a new internship program through the College of Arts and Sciences, called the REAL program. REAL stands for Real Experience, Actual Learning, and its main goal was to provide a stipend for students to get hands-on experience in whatever field they want without having to worry about being paid. I learned about the program through Professor Cara Chiaraluce, and applied after finding an internship at an SCU Career fair.

I worked for a nonprofit organization called Kainos Home and Training Center, located in Redwood City, California. They provide resources for adults with a variety of disabilities ranging from physical, intellectual and developmental. I worked in the vocational training program, assisting our clients with independent living skills, workplace etiquette and community integration. Besides helping with the day-to-day activities, I created a new curriculum that taught independent life skills in a fun and educational way.

Since I have a strong background in cooking and baking, I ran a baking class that taught budgeting, nutrition, kitchen safety and hygiene and of course the actual baking. I also compiled a cookbook full of very simple recipes that have all of the steps broken down into individual tasks, so that the curriculum can be adapted to any ability. It was a fun challenge for me to create a curriculum that was so detailed, yet able to be adapted to any of the client’s abilities. I used much of my sociological education to help me research what curriculum existed already, and to see how my curriculum could better aid in improving the obstacles that the disabled experience in our non-integrated society. Overall, my program was very successful and I have been invited back to work at Kainos next summer. Additionally, I recently traveled to Seattle, to share my experience and represent the department and the College of Arts and Sciences at a conference for SCU families and alumni.

I am also one of the co-chairs of the Sociology Club, and have been working with the club to increase awareness about our sociology program here at SCU for the past year. We are excited to offer a new peer advising service this quarter, and many networking and internship events this coming year. We are working with the faculty of the Sociology Department to support the students of the department and to promote interest in sociological study.

For information on the internship program, contact Cara Chiaraluce, cchiaraluce@scu.edu.