Sealy parish to sponsor intensive summer internship program for college students

November 11, 2014

SEALY — Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is sponsoring Sealy Education Initiatives (SEI), a summer internship program providing college students with personal and professional growth through hands-on learning experiences.

Father Eric Pitre, the pastor at Immaculate Conception, began organizing the program after realizing the local need for an intensive college summer intern program designed for those students pursuing college degrees in the areas of psychology, pastoral ministry and social work. 
He also noted that paid internships in these areas are often difficult for the student to obtain.

The SEI program, which started this past year, provides students with substantial opportunities to explore educational interests in those fields outside of the traditional classroom, through real world experiences and hands-on learning. 

According to Father Pitre, the internship will reinforce students’ collegiate coursework while giving them knowledge about professional career opportunities. 

There are four coordinators in the fields of pastoral ministry, psychology, social work and education who are responsible for the program. All individuals who work with the program donate their time.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Sealy Education Initiatives, it is unlike any other internship that is offered in that it includes exposure to multiple sites and multiple professionals all within one program,” said Diane Holub, the staff psychologist for the Royal Independent School District and co-director of the program. 

“The intern may be working alongside a social worker one day, a counselor the next or a member of the parish pastoral care team on another day. All this gives the student perspective as to how they might turn their years of education into their life’s work,” she said.

Father Pitre said the purpose of the internship is to provide a broad base experience allowing the student to apply his knowledge attained from the behavioral sciences to actual pastoral situations. 

In addition, the program is being designed to acquaint the student with a number of different areas that will broaden his or her awareness of other disciplines in the practice of family therapy. 

“The program has a fine group of professional men and women throughout the Houston metropolitan area who are willing to share their time and their passion for the work they are doing by spending a day mentoring the student,” Father Pitre said. 

The SEI’s first intern was Thomas Verm, whose summer intensive included mentoring and social services. 

He said his experience with SEI provided him opportunities to interact with a variety of professionals in the counseling occupation.

“This program is a wonderful way for those who are serious about their career to develop the professional skills as well as the personal relationships required in this field of work,” he said. “Those who were supervisors really made it apparent that they wanted to help me grow and were always eager to share their knowledge.”

The SEI program is seeking two interns for the summer of 2015. The deadline for the Summer 2015 Internship is Dec. 1. 

The SEI program is a nonprofit, community-based and privately funded program under the general sponsorship of the Pastoral Ministry and Education Departments of Immaculate Conception Church. Staffed by qualified volunteer professionals, the program begins each May and concludes in the fall.