Spring 2013 Interns


JaVon Robinson

Greeting and Hello, I am JaVon Robinson and I am currently an intern at Tristan Quest for the Spring 2013 semester. I am working on obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Social Work, minoring in Sociology from the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

I am looking forward to interning here at Tristan’s Quest. I love working with kids, and learning about the different abilities that each child has to offer. I am excited about what I am going to learn here at Tristan Quest and what Dr. Jean has to offer. I do not have a certain area just yet but I will keep an open mind and talents open before I graduate. My favorite quote by Dr. Seuss is “Do not cry that it’s over but smile that it happened.”

 Jennifer Fales

When I graduated from Appalachian State in 2005, I thought I wanted to go into broadcasting. I was wrong, and soon found myself teaching two- and three-year-olds for the next six years. I saw several children pass through my classroom whowere in the early stages of being diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Seeing the families’ interactions with their children and the therapists sparked my interest in returning back to school. In 2011, I decided to return to school to obtain my second bachelor’s degree, this time in child and adolescent development. After I graduate in the spring, I plan on continuing my education by acquiring my teaching license in Special Education. I commute from Asheboro where I live with my husband and my three- and four-year-old sons.

I believe that all children deserve equal opportunities in educational and social environments. Engaging the entire family in the process of helping the child, I believe, is a strong foundation for success. Interning here, I look forward to working with the children at Tristan’s Quest, as well as their families, to gain a better understanding of how important it is to include the child, the family, and educators in the growing and learning process. Through working with Dr. Jean, Ellison, the other interns, and the children and their families, I hope to gain a wide variety of knowledge that will prepare me for working with individuals on the autism spectrum in the future.

Meredith Casacchia

Greetings! My name is Meredith Casacchia and I am currently a senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am one semester away from graduating with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Family Studies. During the spring semester of 2013, I am doing my internship at Tristan’s Quest, which I am extremely excited about. After graduation, I plan to prepare myself for graduate school for family counseling.

What has led me towards this career path is my passion and love for kids. This is one of the main reasons that I fell in love with Tristan’s Quest. I have always been open to working with children of all ages and Tristan’s Quest does just that! Tristan’s Quest will allow me to work with and experience children of all different ages, and hopefully this will lead me into the direction of what sort of age group I would like to work with in the future. After changing my major four times, once being elementary education, I realized that I would much rather work one-on-one with children and truly get to know them and how they develop. Overall I am extremely excited to learn and grow as a person through my internship at Tristan’s Quest!

Meredith Gwaltney

Hello hello! I’m Meredith Gwaltney and I am interning at Tristan’s Quest for Winter and Spring 2013. I’m currently a senior at Elon University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Non-Violence Studies. I plan to graduate on May 25! After Elon, I’d like to pursue a graduate school that offers Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) with hopes of becoming a licensed therapist and down the road, I’m thinking about getting my PhD.

I am extremely excited to work with all of the children at Tristan’s Quest; it’s such a privilege to be here. Tristan’s story alone inspired me and increased my desire to intern. Any time, day, or place I’m able to make someone smile, teach them something new, encourage, praise, or make them feel special is very important to me. The knowledge and skills I gain from Dr. Jean and Ellison will surely guide me to be an all-around stronger professional in my chosen career path. I do have experience working with children in the autism spectrum as well as girls and boys in elementary school.
I’m really looking forward to helping out with all of the programs Tristan’s Quest has to offer, especially Friday Fun Night, SibSupport, and Growing up with Style, Grace, and Confidence. In addition, I am thrilled to be working with the other interns! It’s amazing to see what kind of perspectives people of different ages and backgrounds bring to an organization.

Nancy Lee

Hi! My name is Nancy Lee, and I’m so excited to be working at Tristan’s Quest! I am a senior at UNC-Greensboro, and I am completing my Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. I received my first Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill. I am hoping to go to graduate school for clinical mental health counseling in the fall.

Last semester, my professor and I were trying to figure out where I should be placed for my internship because I had no direction of where I wanted to go. Current interns came to our class to talk about what they are doing at their internships. Blair and Kourtney came to our class and talked about being at Tristan’s Quest. I knew the moment they started talking about their experiences that this was where I wanted to go. It fit with everything I wanted to do – working in a nonprofit setting while interacting directly with children and adolescents who have emotional and social needs. After hearing Blair’s and Kourtney’s experiences, I was completely won over.

Some fun facts about me are that I am a devoted New York Yankees fan, and I love watching British television. When I have some free time I enjoy baking sweet treats for my friends.

Here are some questions that I’ve been frequently asked while working at Tristan’s Quest:

Favorite color?  Blue
Favorite superhero?  The Incredible Hulk
Second favorite superhero?  Batman
Favorite candy?  Sour Patch Kids

Samantha Springs

Hi! I’m Samantha, and I’m working with Tristan’s Quest for the Spring 2013 semester. I am a senior student at UNC- Greensboro, studying Public Health Education and Anthropology. I have always been interested in health topics, but as I’ve progressed in my education I have realized just how passionate I am about the concept of complete wellness. Wellness isn’t just the absence of disease or disorder, but rather involves the synergy among the many aspects of health (physical, mental, social, emotional). I am especially interested in studying mental and emotional health.

My work with Tristan’s Quest has allowed me to explore mental and emotional health topics in a very real-world environment. I have learned so much already, and I’m excited to see how much more I’ll learn in the future! I’ve gotten lots of insight on how mental and emotional development happens among children and adolescents, which will really help me in my future career. I am planning to go to graduate school and become a Licensed Professional Counselor. I see myself one day assisting individuals, couples and families to develop creative, lasting solutions to the concerns and struggles that arise throughout life.

I believe that children can grow into responsible, satisfied adults when they are given the right tools to assist them in their development. When a child has a developmental diagnosis, this makes the job more important. I’m thankful that Tristan’s Quest exists to help each child meet and overcome these challenges in effective ways!