Internship at a local domestic and substance abuse treatment center helps psychology major affirm career goals | APEX Fellow

Student: Anushree Rustagi
Major: Psychology
Class Year: 2025

Organization: One Eighty
Location: Wooster, Ohio
Description: As a Community Relations Intern at OneEighty, Wooster, Ohio, I worked across their related departments to analyze outreach coordination and create organized efforts to reach underserved populations.

Anushree Rustagi ’25, a psychology major at The College of Wooster, chanced upon an internship at OneEighty, a domestic violence and substance abuse treatment center. Rustagi held a community relations intern position at the organization, which actively supports an evidence-based approach to sustainable recovery from trauma and addiction. Across their various related departments, she analyzed outreach coordination. Her role involved offering education and outreach services on substance use, domestic violence, and positive mental health and wellness. As part of this social justice internship, she also organized efforts designed to reach out to underserved populations. 

“The internship at OneEighty has helped strengthen my aim of becoming a psychologist. I enjoyed observing group therapy sessions. It affirmed my goal of helping people who are mentally distressed via therapy.” 

—Anushree Rustagi ’25 

How did you learn about the internship opportunity for your APEX Fellowship? 

“I reached out to Carly Eppler, assistant director of experiential learning from APEX in the hopes of finding an internship, and she mentioned the social justice internship under the APEX Fellowship. I was told that OneEighty was one of the Community Partners for SJI, and as a psychology major aiming to be a psychologist, I was drawn to the organization. I had heard about OneEighty during my time on campus, and about it conducting programs such as ‘Take Back The Night’ via the Sexual Respect Coalition.” 

What were some of the things you did each day?  

“Something that I found interesting about the work I did was holding meetings with individuals from different departments in OneEighty such as community relations, the prevention department, victim and shelter services, the medical department, the outpatient department, the advocacy department, and the residential and peer recovery department. I also learned about them, the roles they played, and the challenges they faced. Further, the community contacts project helped me see where the work and contacts of these different departments and individuals intersect.” 

Who was your fellowship mentor and how did they help you to succeed in this position? 

“My fellowship mentors were Brooke Krause, associate professor of economics and business economics, and Cathy McConnell, director of experiential learning and community engagement. Professor Krause helped me succeed by helping me reflect on my internship experiences, and how I grew personally and professionally. Professor Krause also instructed us to respond to the weekly prompts via videos on Flipgrid (a video-based tool), where I got to learn from the experiences of my fellow SJI interns. Additionally, every week the SJI cohort met for lunch on Thursdays, where we had intellectual discussions guided by Cathy on the book ‘Bridges out of Poverty,’ and the population we served.” 

Anushree Rustagi '25

What are some skills you’ve learned that you see yourself carrying forward in your career? 

“Some skills that I learned were understanding the operations of a multi-level behavioral healthcare system, good communication skills through asking quality questions, writing effective emails, relationship building, proficiency in Microsoft Excel, and identifying gaps in support services by thinking from the perspective of the disabled.” 

How has the internship helped you to see what’s next for you?  

“The internship at OneEighty has helped strengthen my aim of becoming a psychologist. I enjoyed observing group therapy sessions. It affirmed my goal of helping people who are mentally distressed via therapy. The experience also broadened my horizons by letting me discover various specializations in psychology, such as trauma and addiction and the ones that I would want to pursue.” 

By Carly Eppler Porter
Carly Eppler Porter Assistant Director of Experiential Learning