Congrats, spring 2024 graduates

Congrats, spring 2024 graduates!

Congratulations, spring 2024 graduates!

Another academic year has come to a close, and with it three of our CDHD student trainees have become official University of Idaho graduates.

Please join us in congratulating Abril Correa, Maya Hamilton and Jeannie McConnell on this wonderful achievement!

Before their final days of undergraduate academia, they all generously shared their time to talk about working at the CDHD and where they’re headed now …

Abril is sitting on a ledge, looking over her shoulder at the camera. She is wearing a white dress with sheer sleeves and a white sash to celebrate her Academic Certificate. She is smiling and her long dark hair is loose around her shoulders.

Congratulations, Abril!

How long have you been with us at the CDHD?

Abril: I have been working at the CDHD for about a year and a half now. I started in October 2022.

Has it already been that long? What projects(s) did you work on?

Abril: I began working under IdahoSTARS where I helped develop a Target Technical Assistance (TTA) on Building Resilience with Young Children. I worked closely with the IdahoSTARS team to come up with a TTA I wanted to develop to provide this tool for child care providers across the state.

That’s great! We love it with trainees help in the development of projects that are meaningful to them. In all the time you’ve been here, can you tell me what your favorite CDHD memory is?

Abril: My favorite CDHD memory was attending the Fred Riggers Disability Awareness Day (DAD) at the Idaho State Capital in Boise this year. I enjoyed being with my fellow co-workers learning about the direct care shortage and learning about different organizations that help support advocacy for individuals with disabilities within Idaho.

This trip helped me to better understand the different barriers and obstacles that exist for individuals with disabilities. I enjoyed going to various institutions that help serve and aid in overcoming barriers and obstacles like providing services by accepting Medicaid as a form of insurance. I learned so much during this trip and got a lot out of it. I enjoyed making memories with all who attended DAD 2024

Abril, you’ve been busy! You just finished a degree in Psychology with minors in Spanish and sociology. You also received an Academic Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion – how do you play on putting all of this to work now that you’re finished with your degree?

Abril: I will be taking a gap year in which I will be returning to my hometown, Jerome, Idaho, and join the workforce before going graduate school. I hope to obtain experience within the field to be better prepared for graduate school. I aspire to attend graduate school to obtain my PsyD in Clinical Child Psychology. 

That’s great! We’re all wishing you the best!

Maya is standing in front of a white background. She has her arms crossed and is looking over her shoulder at the camera. She is smiling, with her dark, curly hair pulled back away from her face in a half up-do. She is wearing a University of Idaho soccer jersey.

Congratulations, Maya!

Thank you for your time, Maya. Let’s start off with an easy one: how long have you been at the CDHD?

Maya: It was short and sweet – I have only been here since January 2024.

And what project(s) did you work on?

Maya: I worked on the Healthy Active Lifestyles project as one of the instructors for Movement in the Park. Under this project our team has presented at the Undergraduate symposium and expanded our movement program to other facilities.  

Your time may have been short and sweet, but you definitely had a big impact! What was your favorite memory from your time at the CDHD?

Maya: I mean there are so many that I am always going to remember. My favorite CDHD memory was being able to go on the trip to Boise [for Disability Awareness Day 2024]. I not only learned so much, but I also got to bond with my fellow trainees.  My favorite experience here was teaching Movement in the Park. Seeing the impact, we were making always left me smiling at the end. 

That’s so great! And now that you have completed your Bachelor of Arts in Exercise, Sport and Health Science, Pre PT, what’s next? What are your post-graduation plans?

Maya: I am attending Cal State Northridge to complete my DPT in August.

Very good! Congratulations, Maya – we know you’re going to do great at Cal State Northridge.

Jeannie is standing in front of a leafy, green bush. She is looking directly at the camera and smiling. She is wearing a purple patterned top and her mid-length, brown hair is loose around her shoulders.

Congratulations, Jeannie!

Jeannie, you have been one of our longest serving CDHD trainees. How long have you been with us?

Jeannie: Three and a half years!

Nearly your entire academic career! What project(s) did you work on during that time?

Jeannie: I started as a customer support specialist for IdahoSTARS and began working on the Idaho Living Well grant as an interdisciplinary student trainee my sophomore year.

And you’ve been such a valued source of support during that time. You probably have many great stories from your time with us, but do you have a favorite CDHD memory that you can share?

Jeannie:  I really enjoyed the artAbility showcase this year. This was the first year I helped set up before the actual event. Seeing all the student trainees work together and getting to chat with everyone outside of work was great.

And now that you’ve completed your Bachelor of Science in Biology, what’s next?

Jeannie: I plan to move to Boise where I will pursue a job while completing the credits required for my undergraduate degree. I will apply to graduate school the following year. I would like to earn my Master’s in either public health or genetic counseling.

That’s great! We’re going to miss you here in the office, but we’re so excited to see all the great things you will accomplish as you move forward with your career.