I Was a Paid School Psychology Intern at KIPP

Divya and her son

We were wrapping up our time in Tennessee in June of 2019. My practicum year was coming to an end and my husband was finishing up his mandatory rotations at a hospital in Knoxville. We decided to both finish our education in California in order to be closer to family.

After finishing  our courses we found work in our respective fields (him at the hospital, me in schools) and we were both required to pay tuition for our respective programs., I was hoping to find a school psychology internship that would provide some sort of stipend. A year without an income- in addition to paying tuition seemed overwhelming and would put us in a deep hole financially.

Most importantly the position was paid and provided benefits for our family.

But as I scrolled through the job postings online, I realized that getting a paid internship was near impossible.

A friend suggested I look into KIPP Public Schools. Having collaborated with them in the past (when I was a special education teacher at another Bay Area charter school), I had heard good things from both staff and parents in the community. So I logged onto the website and completed their online application.

Later that week, I completed a Zoom interview with Katie Pettersen, who was the internship supervisor at the time.

After the interview, I knew that the internship experience I’d get through KIPP would be unparalleled. Most importantly the position was paid and provided benefits for our family.

And I was right.

The internship included three weeks of professional development for School Psychology, including attending a national summit where I connnected with school psychologists across the country. Katie Pettersen met with me weekly to ensure I was on track to meeting my professional goals, along with checking in to make sure I was meeting all my internship requirements for my portfolio. 

I entered the field of school psychology fully prepared to tackle whatever came my way because of the year-long experience I had under Katie.

Divya (right) and Katie Pettersen (left)

It goes without saying that living in the Bay Area is costly. Between commuting and rent and putting meals on the table, the expenses add up and I can’t imagine what the past year would have been like had we not had a steady income coming in. 

Because of this opportunity, my husband and I were able to make plans to expand our family. And, because of the benefits this internship position provided me, I was able to afford medical insurance and received a proper maternity leave at the end of the school year.

It makes me emotional as I write this out with my now-toddler crawling around my legs. 

We dreamt of having kids but pushed this dream of ours to the side until we knew we could financially afford to do so. KIPP gave us the opportunity to expand my life both professionally and personally and I will forever be grateful for it. 

Divya Budhraja Mathur is a full-time school psychologist and part-time lifestyle blogger. You can visit her blog Eat, Teach, Blog here.

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