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Practicum Student Spotlight: Claire Luttrell


Knoxville, Tennessee

Anticipated Graduation Date:

May  2019

Who is your favorite professor or staff member at UTK so far and why?

I would have to say Dr. Haselschwerdt. She encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone to learn about, and help conduct, research on topics that aren’t always the most fun to talk about. Dr. H does a wonderful job of connecting with her students while maintaining professional boundaries. Dr. H serves as both an academic mentor and role model for me.

What have you learned (or are learning) that’s made a difference to you?

I have learned so much about different cultures and backgrounds that will help me so much in my future career as a child life specialist. In this job I will be working with families of varied backgrounds and experiences and it’s important to have knowledge on how to best fit the needs of those families!

How does a Child and Family Studies degree fit into your life’s plans?

I plan to become a child life specialist so my CFS degree will be a huge asset to me because it has given me not only the knowledge on how to work with children and families but the passion to do so as well.

What are you most thankful for from your time as a CFS student, so far?

I am so thankful for the support I have received from my professors. Child life is not an easy profession to pursue. I have never felt anything but support in my endeavors from the CFS department.

Where are you completing your practicum?

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in the Child Life department

How do you interact with children and families in your practicum placement?

I interact with children and families on a daily basis. Each week I either plan an interactive activity for the patients and families in our playrooms or a bedside activity for our patients to do in the comfort of their own rooms. I help patients and families cope with their hospital experience by providing other toys and activities for both patients and siblings. I also get to interact with kindergartners throughout Knox County each week through our program Hello Hospital. I get to talk to these students about East Tennessee Children’s Hospital to help alleviate any fears they might have if they one day find themselves walking through our doors.

What is one piece of advice you would give your pre-practicum self?

Don’t forget to spend time with your friends and family. Working 40 hours a week can be exhausting, but it’s important to find the time for the people who have supported you and encouraged you.

Describe your most meaningful or impactful practicum experience so far:

Every experience at my practicum site has been meaningful. Each day I get to help normalize the hospital experience for children and families. Child life specialists are making a difference in the way children and families cope with the stressful situation of being in the hospital. It means so much to me to be a small part of that change.

You can learn more about our community outreach program and see a list of the wide range of practicum experiences our students are participating in here.

You can click here to find out more about East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Child Life department and the services that they provide.