STUdent Shirley Andow Supports Local Youth Access Mental Health Services through Internship

A student sitting in from of a computer looking at the camera

When Shirley Andow walks into the Capital Region Mental Health and Addictions Association in downtown Fredericton, it doesn’t feel like she’s going to work.

The second-year Psychology student, originally from Halifax, has been pursuing her passion for mental health work this fall with her internship position as the Child and Youth Program Assistant at Capital Region Mental Health and Addictions Association through the St. Thomas Office of Experiential and Community Based Learning.


Andow’s internship has her developing a new initiative alongside her program director called The Capital Youth Hub. The initiative focuses on connecting students and youth to free wellness programs, as well as other local support groups and activities available in the community. She said her Psychology classes at STU have prepared her well for developing the program.  

“It’s just exactly what I’m doing in school, so sometimes I forgot they are two different parts of my life.” 

Through her internship, Andow has also developed a deeper connection with the Fredericton community, collaborating with many local organizations just as passionate about mental health as she is.

“A highlight for me has been finding out what kind of mental health supports exist in the community—places and services I didn’t know about before,” she said. 

Practice Providing Solutions and Assistance  

At the Capital Youth Hub, Andow has to consider that each youth’s unique personality and needs are different, so she can develop the right programs and resources needed in their community. She said this has allowed her to apply her in-class learning to real-life situations.

“You learn about this type of personality or that personality type—what works best for different people. Then you see it in real life and practice providing solutions and assistance.”  

Not only has Andow’s studies at STU helped prepare her for internship, but what she’s learned in her role has also benefitted her academic work. She said a lot of her day is spent researching what methods of communication work best with youths struggling with mental illness and developing effective ways to support them. These research methods translate very well to her research for assignments and essays. 

The internship experience has also helped Andow confirm that she wants to pursue a career she is passionate about, and she said the experience has helped open doors to that future. 

“I want a job like what I am doing now,” she said.  “Something I’m really passionate about, where the work doesn’t really feel like work.”  
To learn more about experiential learning and internships at STU, visit the Office of Experiential Learning on our website.


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This experiential learning opportunity was made possible thanks to St. Thomas University's partnership with the FutureNB initiative.