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Design and conduct your own research project

An internship at ACR Homes is not just a standardized work program to play up on a resume. Instead, we empower our interns to actively help our patients solve their challenges even as they get to know them as clients and friends.

Not only can they gain a key understanding of different disabilities in real-life settings, but through our unique offerings they can also customize their internship experiences to reflect their specific areas of interest. That’s great news for students seeking to gain experiences that position them as strong, proactive, compassionate candidates for desirable jobs or higher learning positions.

“I was working with a resident who had a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and decided to do a research-based internship on MS. The research enabled me to better understand the science behind why she was having pain.”

– Pre-Med student and ACR intern Madison Duffy

“I learned to look beneath the surface on issues that are already being addressed to try to see if there is a better way for the problem to be overcome. This internship has allowed me to tap into my own innovation by finding a topic independently and being my own project manager.”

– Biomedical engineering student and ACR intern Myrriah Laine

Already, more than a hundred ACR Homes interns have taken the opportunity to design and conduct research projects aimed at improving the lives of our residents with disabilities. Examples of some of their outstanding work:

Relationship between increased fluid intake and gastrointestinal health

Pre-PA student Alex Pierce, winner of ACR’s 2016 Internship Impact Award, studied the relationship between increased fluid intake and gastrointestinal health. After he identified a positive relationship, fluid charting was increased for three ACR residents dealing with such issues.

Behavioral changes due to physical activity

Pre-med student Neal Kucera researched behavioral changes due to physical activity in adults with disabilities.

Pre-Nursing student made dietary recommendations

Pre-nursing intern Kayla Brown made dietary recommendations for more nutritionally balanced alternatives for residents’ differing dietary needs.

Music therapy and aromatherapy

Pre-OT student Raina DeMarais researched and implemented music therapy and aromatherapy for patients with Down syndrome and dementia.

Improved oral hygiene

Pre-PA student Laura Richardson initiated use of a dental mouth prop that improved oral hygiene for a resident with limited oral access.

Alternative disposal of medical waste.

Public Health student Jesse Anderson suggested alternate methods to ACR’s destruction of medical waste.

Art therapy and art display

Pre-OT student Caitlin Swertfeger created additional opportunities for residents’ art therapy and helped organize a resident art display at a local coffeehouse.

DIY Occupational therapy resources

Pre-OT student Chelsea Silvers created multiple DIY occupational therapy resources for a resident recovering from a stroke.

“People aren’t always really sure how to interact with people in wheelchairs — they always kind of assume there’s some sort of mental deficiency going on. (So I developed) a little card they could bring with them ... to kind of explain how best to interact with them. I thought that would be a good way to give them more control over how people interact with them, and hopefully (how they’ll become) more respectful.”

– Pre-med student Jordan Bruss (see the related video above)