July 2018 – For Drew University alum May Manalo, the road to a master’s degree in school counseling was paved with internships.
Manalo, who graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s in sociology and Spanish, had three internships as an undergraduate—at a family support nonprofit, private counseling center and local school. These real-world, hands-on experiences ultimately helped her find her passion and her career.
“If I didn’t have the chance to dabble in different settings, I would have been a lot less confident as to what I was going to do,” explained Manalo, who grew up in Nutley, N.J.
Her favorite internship, during her senior year, was at Rosa Parks Community School in Orange, N.J., where she worked in the Community Room and shadowed a guidance counselor. Manalo loved working there “because you could have an impact on children inside and outside of school.”
Manalo landed the role partly because Drew has a long-term relationship with Rosa Parks, according to Associate Professor Susan Rakosi Rosenbloom, who was Manalo’s faculty advisor. The intern also was well-prepared, having taken Rosenbloom’s Sociology of Education community-based learning class, in which students work at Rosa Parks’ after-school program. It’s among several opportunities Drew’s Center for Civic Engagement provides for undergraduates to connect with surrounding communities.
“Through the internship, May got really close mentoring from a seasoned guidance counselor,” Rosenbloom said. “She got to ask questions about the profession—stuff you probably couldn’t learn in a book. She got to try on what it would be like to be a guidance counselor before making the decision to go to graduate school.”
As an undergrad, Manalo was captain of the cross-country team, treasurer of the Sociology Club and a member of the Sociology and Spanish honor societies. She also earned several honors, including the Presidential Excellence Award, the Sherman Plato Young Scholar Award and the Jim M. O’Kane Award.
Manalo received her master’s from William Paterson University this year. She now plans to move to Charleston, S.C., where her boyfriend is a first class petty officer in the Navy teaching at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. At the same time, she’s looking for a job in counseling. “Drew did such a good job of setting me up for what I was going to do next,” she said.