Become a student trainee

Become an Idaho CDHD Student Trainee

Become a CDHD student trainee!

Here at the Idaho Center on Disabilities and Human Development (CDHD), we’re working to build a more inclusive Idaho. Through projects, training and outreach, we’re dedicated to advocating for people with disabilities and their families.

We believe that all people deserve the right to live, learn, work and play within their communities, and we’re looking for student trainees to help us in our efforts to make that possible!

Currently recruiting students across all colleges at the University of Idaho, the CDHD Student Trainee Program is a great way to earn extra money, grow as a person and develop your professional skillset, but don’t just take our word for it.

We spoke with some of our current trainees on their experiences here at the CDHD …

A group of trainees attending training at the CDHD.

What drew you to apply for the student trainee program at the CDHD?

“I saw the flyer posted up in the ISUB building,” said Morgan Flynn. Morgan is studying exercise science and has been at the CDHD since January 2021.

“I wanted to know more about what the project was about. After speaking with Olivia, and learning the history, I knew I wanted to participate in helping Moscow become more inclusive.”

“I had gone to a volunteer training for artAbility and arrived super early,” said Ernesto Marquez Montes. “When I got there, I was approached by Olivia, and she told me about potential opportunities at the CDHD and open positions.

“I had gone to the training for that very reason – of finding something to keep me busy and be a part of something. The next day I emailed her for information on applying.” Ernesto is studying psychology with French and art minors. He has been a trainee at the CDHD for three years.


How would you describe the student trainee experience to other students?

“Being a trainee at the CDHD has been a wonderful experience. I‘ve been given opportunities to learn new things almost every single day,” said Suzanna Winter, a human development and families studies student. She has been at the CDHD for nine months.

“It has been a great place to learn how to be a professional without all the stress of being thrown into the professional world right out of college.”

A trainee participating in an artAbility workshop on drumming.

What are some of the best parts about working at the CDHD?

“Flexibility for students is incredible. This was very important when I was job searching,” said Morgan.

“The community is what gets me excited to come to work each day. I’ve met so many individuals with so many different life stories who are all wonderful people. I’m excited to work for, with and alongside each and every person who steps foot in the CDHD,” she continued.

Jordan Moffis, a broadcasting and digital media student, said, “All the connections available for students to make. The full-time staff are great resources for trainees to use now and when they graduate to get into the field they want to be in.” Jordan just started her second year working at the CDHD.

Ernesto added, “The staff! I‘ve never had this kind of generous support in any other work environment.

“I have the flexibility to work when it suits my schedule, am encouraged to focus on my academics first, and am supported at every step. I’m not expected to know everything, just willing to work towards a solution,” he continued.


At the CDHD, trainees get the chance to work with a lot of different people and supervisors. How do you feel about your training and/or mentoring?

“Olivia is a wonderful mentor. Her enthusiasm for the work done at the CDHD rubs off on all her trainees. I’m excited to have the freedom to work on projects that excite me while also learning valuable workforce skills,” said Morgan.

Sophie Spanbauer, who has worked at the CDHD for two years, said, “My training has been very well done. The CDHD meets multiple times per semester for training seminars that allow me to work with my fellow trainees on a more personal level.”

Ernesto added, “The training and mentoring are applicable in several situations. From learning professionals skills to learning about professions, you either know how to do something yourself or you learn who to turn to for help – both are equally important for success.”

Student trainees helping children with disabilities climb a rock wall.

Trainees also get the chance to work on a lot of different projects and activities. What has been your favorite so far?

“My favorite activity so far has been running the adaptive movement classes. These classes relate directly to my major so it’s super fun to create classes to have adaptive exercises. I also really enjoy interacting with my participants and seeing them smile as they exercise with their friends and peers,” said Morgan.

Andrea Rosales, who has been at the CDHD for two semesters, said, “Translating in Spanish has been my favorite so far. Information on services for people with disabilities in Spanish is scarce, and I’ve witnessed this firsthand. I’m glad that I’m helping my community have better access to information.” Andrea is a medical sciences student.

Ernesto said, “So far, my favorite project/activity has been artAbility simply because it’s the one I know best and has taught me the most. I got to interact with community members personally and connect with people in a way I had never done before.

“I learned how to interact with diverse groups of people and that’s a crucial skill I’m not sure I would have learned in school. Not to mention I learned grant writing, self-management, leadership and professional relations.”


Do you feel that the work you do at the CDHD provides valuable experience that’s relevant to your field of study?

“The work I do at the CDHD is directly related to my field of study. As mentioned, the adaptive movement classes are an exact replica of the sort of content I learn in my exercise science classes.

“My research project investigates the impacts of COVID-19 on individuals with a disability living in rural areas. This is a form of public health research which I’m quite interested in,” said Morgan.

Jordan said, “Yes. I got this job for that specific reason. It has to do with social media, which is what I’m studying. It really has taught me about accessibility, which is something important for every person on social media to know about.”

“I genuinely believe the CDHD has provided me with experience that’s relevant to my field of study,” said Ernesto. “I’m currently getting ready to graduate with a BS in Psychology and pursue an allied health profession. I’ve learned the importance of communication and (as far as my career goals go) through advocacy, the importance of promoting informed patient decision making.”

Nicole Touchstone, an interior architecture student, said, “The CDHD will accept any major because they teach that disabilities are everywhere and will be part of everyone’s life … They show and educate you on the overlap for any major.” She has been at the CDHD for one year.

Participants exercising during a trainee-led adaptive movement event.

And finally, would you recommend becoming a student trainee at the CDHD? Why or why not?

“Yes, yes, YES!,” said Morgan. “Being a student trainee has been a highlight of my time at U of I. I’m so grateful for the flexibility being a student trainee provided me. Moreover, being a student trainee and being involved in multiple projects has increased my resume content. While these are things that will help me in the future, I will say it has also taught me the importance of caring for others.”

Jordan said, “Yes, I would. It opens up a bunch of opportunities to students that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

“The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about recommending the CDHD as a place to work is the flexibility with work hours and how your education is a priority. But it’s also a great place to learn how to work with professionals and all the ins and outs that that entails,” said Suzanna.

Ernesto said, “I would most certainly recommend students become trainees at the CDHD. I have encouraged several of my friends to take advantage of the opportunities at the CDHD. So much so that I have two friends who are fellow trainees.

“Trainees get tons of support, flexibility and gain professional development. There are also opportunities to do more and get more involved.”


For more information about the CDHD Student Trainee Program, or to apply, please contact:

Olivia Lebens, Interdisciplinary Training Coordinator
Phone: 208 885 6183