The Potential to Change Lives
Kimberleigh Burgess '15
Psychology Major Provides Guidance for At-Risk Adolescents
Does your future career have the potential to change lives? Kimberleigh Burgess’ could – at least her internship experience showed the opportunity for making such an impact.
As a counseling and behavioral intern at Bethlehem’s Buxmont Academy, an alternative school for at-risk adolescents from the Lehigh Valley area, Burgess provided guidance, counseling and assistance to adolescents with different behavioral issues.
“Being a psychology major, I knew it was imperative that I complete an internship so to provide myself with hands on experience of the concepts and theories I have learned in class,” she says.
“While completing my internship, I realized that I truly cared for and wanted to help the adolescents change their lives. It never felt like a job or an internship; it always felt like a passion.”
- Kimberleigh Burgess
Following several development psychology classes with Professor Michelle Schmidt, Burgess expressed her interest in working with at-risk youth. After further discussion with Schmidt and the University’s Career Center, she interviewed for and landed the Buxmont internship.
It proved to be an invaluable experience for the Plainfield, New Jersey, native. “My internship showed me that I truly do have a passion for working with at-risk adolescents,” Burgess explains. “While completing my internship, I realized that I truly cared for and wanted to help the adolescents change their lives. It never felt like a job or an internship; it always felt like a passion.”
Burgess also has a passion for Moravian, becoming an active member of the campus community through clubs, committees and work-study positions. She is involved with Spanish, Accounting, Psychology and Amhrein Investment and Association of Peer Educators clubs, as well as the Black History Month committee. Burgess even helped select President Bryon Grigsby ’90, serving on the 2014 Presidential Student Search Committee.
The Buxmount internship has convinced Burgess of her post-graduation plans, where she expects to pursue a master’s degree in counseling psychology, with the ultimate goal of earning a Ph.D. in developmental psychology. Her far-ranging goal is to open a nonprofit organization that provides at-risk adolescents a safe place to receive care for many aspects of life that they are struggling with.
“My hope is to help adolescents who were much like myself, providing them with guidance, support, assistance and understanding to hopefully help them go beyond their circumstances and succeed beyond their dreams,” she concludes.