MMI intern aims to serve western Nebraska

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | August 15, 2018

Image with caption: Kayla Singleton

Kayla Singleton

Kayla Singleton is thrilled to be at the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

Singleton is one of the latest group of predoctoral interns who started at UNMC this academic year. The interns arrive from 18 different universities from across the country to take part in a year of training as part of their accredited training in the Nebraska Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology.

For Singleton, the move to MMI is a homecoming of sorts. Though she is a student at the University of Northern Colorado, she grew up in Gering, Neb., got her Ed.S. at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and her husband's family owns a ranch in Harrisburg, Neb., and she is hoping to eventually work in far western Nebraska.

"Mental health resources are scarce through Nebraska, period, but especially out west, " she said. "Growing up rural, I know that often people have to go great distances just to get care. In Gering, people drove to Denver, which is a good three hours at least.

"My goal was to train in all these prestigious places and get the experience that people want to see and then take that back out there."

MMI's interns are placed in the department of psychology and the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Singleton is a psychology intern.

Keith Allen, Ph.D., director of psychology and academic affairs at MMI, said interns like Singleton are one key to the success of the internship program.

"Our internship program has been critical to expanding the behavioral health workforce in Nebraska, with former interns like Kayla now providing clinical and educational services across Nebraska in over 30 different clinics including in Nebraska City, Hastings, Grand Island, Kearney, Norfolk, Columbus, Chadron and Scottsbluff."

"I originally wanted to be a pediatric physical therapist, but I started taking so many psychology courses as a part of that, and I started getting hooked," Singleton said. After interning with a school psychologist, she got an ED.S. degree in school psychology.

"But while I was doing my internship, I thought 'Oh my goodness, there is so much need outside of a school setting,' so that's why I decided to go back for my Ph.D."

Singleton is glad to be back in Nebraska, especially after one of her advisers, a former MMI intern, recommended the program.

"It's been wornderful," she said. "The supervisors are great, and its nice to be back in Nebraska. It's that small-town feel, being in Kearney and Hastings and eventually going back to Gering."

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