Meet Molly Dennie, a sophomore at Northeastern University, in our first Intern Spotlight series.  Molly shares her JMF story, plans for the future, and her most challenging experience as an intern.

The Joseph Maley Foundation enjoys the benefits of a robust intern program, especially during the summer months.  We will spotlight each of our 2017 interns in a series of blog posts so you can get to know these young people making a difference in our community.

Molly Dennie:  Sophomore at Northeastern University, studying Physical Therapy and Behavioral Neuroscience.

What are your current career plans?

Right now, I plan to work with people with prosthetics, maybe in a VA hospital or in a research capacity.

What was your first experience with JMF?

I attended St. Monica, so I was introduced to the disABILITY Awareness program before JMF actually existed. One of my first memories with JMF was a DA program in my fourth grade classroom. We put our hands in a cornstarch mixture and let it dry while we talked about individuals with heightened sensory awareness and how that affects their lives. The cornstarch mixture made our hands feel really cracked and dry and I remember even though I was able to focus on the presentation, there was always this awareness of my skin. Ten years later I still find myself thinking about the empathy I learned for other kids who might experience that sensation daily through that lesson.

What is your favorite JMF experience or memory?

Luckily for me, my favorite JMF experience is an annual one. I love the JMF 5K. My family and I have been very involved in it since its first year. I don’t usually like waking up early, but for some reason I don’t seem to mind getting up at 4:30 the morning of the 5K to be down at the Michael A. Carroll Stadium as early as humanly possible. One year, my dad and I were the first people there and we had a small moment of serenity staring out over the track before other cars began pulling up and unloading and the busiest day of the year began. It’s always so much fun for me to see so many people I know, from JMF to St. Monica or Brebeuf classmates and teachers to my own family members, coming together to support a cause that means so much to me.

What has been your best JMF intern experience?

My favorite part about being an intern so far has been all the work I did with our HOPE program last year. As someone with mental health issues, I love working on a program that educates people on what it’s like to live with a mental illness and promotes discussion of feelings which help to destroy mental health stigma. That’s something that is really important to me and I was so grateful to have that opportunity to learn more about myself and about other people’s experiences. I also have the chance to see how excited kids are to have an outlet to talk about their own feelings, because it’s very rare to find that in school, but obviously very important.

What is challenging about being an intern?

Envelopes.  The hardest part of interning at JMF is that our envelopes are really hard to seal. I’ve written many thank you notes in my time here and I can attest to the fact that they take their time getting tacky enough to seal immediately.

In your eyes, what is the biggest impact JMF has on the community?

The biggest impact is spreading awareness. When I moved to Boston for college, I noticed people around me making insensitive comments about people with disabilities or making ignorant statements because of lack of awareness of topics that I had learned about through JMF.  Until that point, I did not fully realize that other people did not have access to something as simple as disABILITY Awareness in school. I think it’s so important to know about how so many people live, whether it’s with a disability or with a mental illness or something totally different because this is what drives empathy and empathy is what drives us as human beings. As we all share this beautiful earth with each other, there is no reason for us not to learn as much as we can about one another’s experiences and to celebrate everyone’s existence.  JMF is making that happen in a lot of ways.

What do you do for fun?

My friends and I frequent BRICS in Broad Ripple when we’re home, and when I’m not studying or working at JMF, I like to read books and watch movies. I’m also an Irish dancer.

Post written by:

Molly Dennie

JMF Intern

Sophomore, Northeastern University