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Meet Morgan Mauck!

Doctoral Capstone Student – SOAR365 Children and Youth
Working with individuals with disabilities has always been a passion for Morgan Mauck. As an undergrad student at JMU, she studied Health and Behavioral Science with a minor in Pre-Occupational Therapy and Special Education. She interned at various occupational therapy clinics and worked for four summers as a therapeutic recreational leader for a classroom of 13–21-year-olds with various disabilities.

As a doctoral student enrolled in the School of Occupational Therapy at Shenandoah University, her mission was to create a baking program for adolescents with disabilities to target pre-employment skills, executive functioning, and socialization (with the ultimate goal of owning her own bakery run by individuals with disabilities). “Once I reached out to SOAR365, they showed great interest in my capstone project, and I knew it was going to be the right fit. Occupational therapy is all about creating meaningful interventions that target short/long term goals. Having the opportunity to create a group program with the goals of improving confidence and providing pre-employment skill opportunities is unique.”

Since early January, Morgan has been piloting a “SOARing in the Kitchen” curriculum for the Children & Youth Program (supported with a grant from Aldi). “Morgan’s doctoral research is setting the bar for future interns, all while providing C&Y with a research-based independent living cooking curriculum that will have a lasting impact long after her internship concludes,” says Lisa Coates, Director of Children and Youth Programs. “She has been a significant value-add, quickly acclimating to the team as if she was always part of it and building relationships throughout the organization. It is always exciting to see what Morgan will be ‘cooking up next!’”

Each day has been a learning experience for Morgan as well as her young cooking apprentices. “You can tell that all the staff are passionate about the field they work in. They know exactly what their goals are and how to support them and I have been very impressed with how they are able to identify when a participant may need a walk or an adaptation for an activity. The participants know when they come here that it is a safe place and are not afraid to rely on staff for support. Creating that kind of atmosphere is truly special.”

Now that Morgan is about halfway through her 14-week experience, what advice would she give to other students considering internships with SOAR365? “I would definitely recommend SOAR365 to anyone wishing to volunteer or intern. There is so much to learn and get involved in within this company! If you are interested in any field related to working with individuals with disabilities or are just looking to get more involved within the community, SOAR365 is a great place to join.”

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