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Practicum Student Spotlight: A’Mari Simmons


Nashville, TN

Anticipated Graduation Date:

Spring 2020

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

Dr. Kefentse in the Africana Studies Department. He was always there to challenge me academically and in my personal life.

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

The motivations behind actions and behavior; and also ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences).

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

I want to study Family Law specifically Adoption Law so having a background in CFS is extremely important and helpful in understanding the family unit.

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

The learning. Honestly, there is so much content that explores why we are the way we are and why we do the things that we do. So many other majors do not have that knowledge. It has sparked my interest so much in a way that I can almost always apply at least one or two things that I have learned in CFS into any class and/or discussion. It has helped me be a better friend to myself and others.

Where are you completing your practicum?

Children’s Center of Knoxville

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

With patience. That is the first thing I try to do. Patience allows me to be quick to listen and slow to speak; yielding opportunities to get to know the parents as well as I know the children. When it comes to the children, I interact with enthusiasm. Kids are big balls of energy regardless of how your day is going. With that, I try to be energetic and fun yet stern when I need to be because they should see you as a teacher but also as someone they can confide in and be themselves.

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

Research ahead of time. If you have bills,try to find a paying practicum site or save, save, save the semester before you want to complete your practicum.

Describe your most meaningful or impactful practicum experience so far:

My director. One day I was so overwhelmed and could not hold back tears and she took me into her office and let me know she felt I was placed there for a reason, that God brought me into her life for a purpose. She prayed for me, gave me her story, and literally spoke me back into a good spirit.

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 the Children’s Center of Knoxville and other services that they provide.