Make The Connection

June 14, 2022 | By Sarah Jonassen ’22

Belle Norman ’22 turned a weeklong Bishop Externship into a permanent position at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital. (Photo by James DeCamp)

‘Experience of a Lifetime’

Ohio Wesleyan Student Turns Externship into Permanent Job at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Name: Belle Norman ’22
Hometown: Dresden, Ohio
Majors: Psychology
Minors: Philosophy and Zoology
OWU Connection Experience: A weeklong Bishop Externship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Norman began her current job as a behavioral health specialist at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital in September 2021. Her hire resulted, in large part, from a March 2020 externship arranged by Ohio Wesleyan’s Career Connection office. During the short Bishop Externship, Norman spent her spring break shadowing OWU alumna Kim Leary ’09 in the hospital’s Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

“Beginning my OWU journey,” Norman says, “I knew I wanted to work in psychology, working with children. My OWU Connection experience allowed me to apply my psychology education from campus to real-life patients.”

My OWU Experience

“While shadowing at this center, I was provided access to learning modules, invited to team meetings, and allowed to attend therapy sessions.

“The learning modules provided a condensed overview of what I needed to know about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) before attending meetings and sessions with children who had this disorder. After training, I drove around Ohio and attended in-home sessions that taught behaviors and life skills to children struggling with ASD.”

Why I Chose This Experience

“I almost did not apply for the externship program because of finances, as it was unpaid. However, I learned that assistance was an option for those who needed it, so I applied at the very last minute and have not regretted a single second.

“I was only able to attend this university because of scholarship and grant aid. I am forever grateful to those who donate so that students like me have the chance to have the experience of a lifetime.” 

Alumni Connections 

“I connected with OWU alum Kim Leary ’09 for my externship program. She was kind enough to offer any eligible OWU student the opportunity to work at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders for one week while under her supervision and guidance.

“Kim connected me with my preceptor (instructor) Malaun Huff, whom I shadowed for the week as she traveled from office to family homes to meet a range of children who all differed in age, gender, class, and level of functioning with ASD.

“This experience was unparalleled in the lessons learned and knowledge gained. I developed a new perspective into the mental health field and treatment. This gave me a better understanding of myself and what I hoped to accomplish in this field.” 

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“OWU has created opportunities and opened doors for me that otherwise would not have been available. There has always been an air of uncertainty in my life, but because of my experience at Ohio Wesleyan University, I feel prepared to take on challenges as they are presented with the elegance and determination of an empowered woman."

My First Job After Graduation 

“I am currently a Mental Health Specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Psychiatric Crisis Department. (I want) to gain experience and hands-on education before pursuing a graduate degree. There are many potential avenues to take with psychology, and I want to take some time to explore which option would be a best fit for me.”