On any given Monday and Wednesday, senior Rosa Genetti, can be found playing with dollhouses, creating art, or role playing. For a college student on the brink of graduation, this seems like a pretty easy way to spend her last semester. But actually, Rosa is hard at work with special education students at her internship at Krieger Elementary School in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Two days a week, Rosa runs group counseling sessions helping students in kindergarten through fifth grade to learn social and behavioral skills. In addition to using worksheets and books, Rosa implements other creative techniques. “The kids really like the doll house, and we do role play scenarios to help them model appropriate behavior,” says Rosa, a social work major with a minor in sociology.
Another way Rosa engages her students is through art therapy, a passion she was of born into so to speak, being that both of her parents are artists. Her interest piqued last summer, when she was a Tarver Intern and worked with the Marist Liberty Partnership Program to develop an art therapy program for Poughkeepsie and Kingston students. Marist Liberty aims to raise high school graduation rates, and Rosa strived for this goal by using art as a means to help students discover their identity and emotional intelligence.
After spending her summer perfecting her passion for art therapy, Rosa decided it was something she still wanted to pursue, and chose to apply it to her senior thesis. Although she is only a junior, she is of senior standing and on track to graduate this May.
“I continued my research by doing a literature review and creating an expanded program that I’m hoping to implement this semester,” she says. “I’m waiting right now for the nonprofits to get back to me to see if they’re interested.” In addition to presenting her extensive research both at Marist and the New York State Social Work Education Association Conference, she was recently invited to present at Lehman College, on a conference of the health of urban youth.
Working with youth is something Rosa has a special connection with, and she wants to use her degree to work with youth empowerment programs in the future. “I really love adolescents. I think it’s the time in life when we have the most capacity to change,” she says. Though adolescents are her favorite group to work with, Rosa has experience working with a broad range of people, from students in kindergarten to the elderly.
Last spring, she interned at the Mediation Center of Dutchess County in their Elder Abuse Coalition. There, she worked to raise awareness of different forms of elder abuse, like ageism. “We would do community in-service programs with different agencies, [and] we started working with the police force to educate them,” Rosa says. She also worked to orchestrate an educational session at the center’s World Elder Abuse Awareness day that they hosted.
Rosa’s internships and her career goals are centered around working with people, to achieve what she describes as a sort of cycle of giving. “For me, it’s kind of giving it back…through making the world a better place, but also giving it forward.” By helping others, she is returning the favor to those who have helped her, while encouraging others to do the same.After graduation, Rosa has plans to earn her Masters, and hopes to enlist in the Peace Corp. “I’d like to go to Asia, or I’d like to go to either Central or Latin America and learn Spanish, to learn how to communicate better with clients,” she says.
Aside from that, Rosa is also in the process of learning Chinese, simply because she enjoys learning. “My passion is this pursuit of knowledge. There’s always more things that you can learn how to to do, more things you can learn about. There’s an infinite amount of knowledge in the world.”