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CAREER DEVELOPMENT CENTER

Sculpting the future

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Opal Phillips is a senior studying studio art with a psychology minor at Wichita State. She is currently interning as an art teacher at Urban Preparatory Academy.

Through her internship, she has been able to increase her knowledge in art as well as gain excellent real-world experience teaching in a therapeutic environment. Phillips' time at Urban Preparatory Academy has shown her that she wants to continue towards becoming a licensed art therapist. "If I were to stay in a school setting, I would be an art counselor as opposed to being a teacher," said Phillips.

Being able to instill in her students not only basic art skills, but also how to apply these skills therapeutically in their own lives, Phillips has learned many lessons that she will carry on with her in her future career. "I currently run my classroom as more of a counseling session, which lets me learn the students better and they seem more relaxed and joyous," stated Phillips.

Her internship has given Phillips a place to be a role model as well as a teacher. Many of the children at Urban Preparatory Academy are minorities who she has been given an opportunity to show that no matter their race or background, they can achieve anything they strive towards. "I wish I had someone like me to look up to at their age," said Phillips. "Maybe I wouldn't have been so self-conscious growing up."

Along with the children she teaches, Opal Phillips is learning more about herself with every day spent at Urban Preparatory Academy. She is gaining the confidence and experience she had hoped to and is excited for what the future holds. "This internship is definitely giving me the experience I need that I haven't been able to get just yet," Phillips stated.

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