School Psychology Internship

Interested applicants may find information and application instructions for the School Psychology Internship program below.


University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM)
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) has a strong, well-established history of research and practice with a diverse, multidisciplinary and collaborative faculty and ample resources that promotes an environment rich for developing young investigators and practitioners. Penn is home to a diverse body of more than 10,000 full-time students enrolled in its four undergraduate schools and nearly 11,000 students enrolled in its 12 graduate and professional schools, each a national leader in its field. Penn’sschools are located on a compact campus, the geographical unity of which supports and fosters its multidisciplinary approach to education, scholarship, and research. Research and research training are substantial and esteemed enterprises; our research community includes more than 4,000 faculty and alarge support staff bolstered by an annual University budget of $6 billion. Penn’s 165 research centersand institutes bring together researchers from multiple departments, schools, and disciplines.

The PSOM prides itself on the vision of Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University, that education should be oriented toward combining theory and practice for the betterment of humanity. Penn canrightfully be called the “birthplace of American medicine,” as it includes the nation’s first hospital(Pennsylvania Hospital in 1751), first medical school (1765), first university hospital (HUP in 1874), andfirst integrated academic health system (1993). Penn’s PSOM is the nation’s third-ranked medical school (US News and World Report). Penn’s comprehensive health care system includes HUP, which is featuredin US News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in America guide, and extensive primary and specialty networks, Penn-Presbyterian Medical Center and Pennsylvania Hospital, as well as the clinical practices.Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), an affiliated hospital, is the nation’s top-ranked pediatric hospital (Child Magazine, and US News and World Report). The PSOM has a distinguished faculty, including 9 members of the National Academy of Sciences (27 at Penn altogether) and 77 members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM); and a major research facility of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, with a total of eight investigators in the PSOM. The PSOM, integrated within the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), is committed to advancing its status as a world-leading institution in its three equally valued and inter-related missions of patient care, research, and education. The PSOM has an internationally renowned research faculty and programs in all areas of biomedical science. In fiscal year 2014, the Penn PSOM received $489 million in NIH research awards. The PSOM boasts a long record of innovation in both clinical and basic science, resulting in numerous landmark achievements, and is supported by state-of-the-art research core facilities and major clinical research facilities. The total area of all PSOM facilities is an estimated 2.55M gross square feet, and the area dedicated for research is approximately 1.44M net square feet. Of the 1.44M net research space, approximately 70% of this space is new or has been renovated since 1989.

The Department of Psychiatry
Chair: Maria Oquendo, MD
The Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania is one of the most successful mental health research entities in the country, receiving $56.6 million in fiscal year 2014 from NIAA, NIDA and NIMH. The department faculty conducts research across a broad array of disciplines, from basic genetic and animal model research, through large-scale implementation and policy research. Behavioral medicine and addictions research at Penn leads the field in integrating advances in basic science into behavioral medicine research and practice, and promote the successful diffusion of new prevention and treatment approaches from the laboratory, to the clinic and community. Clinical research in the Department is devoted to understanding mental illnesses with the aim of decreasing their toll on patients, their families, and society.

The Department takes seriously its role as a spokesperson for the profession and in publicizing theimportance of behavioral health for the nation’s and world’s well-being. The Chair and Department faculty have played a national role in psychiatric and behavioral health forums (e.g., focusing on depression, schizophrenia, alcohol and drug addictions, tobacco use, obesity eating disorders, national security and bio terrorism, and patient advocacy, among others). As important, the Department maintains active, leading programs in each of these areas. The vision of the Department includes growing research on the etiology of psychiatric illness and the increasing number of treatments available to patients is at last beginning to lift the stigma of mental illness and offering hope to those who suffer from it. These developments are increasing the likelihood of expanded funding for clinical care, research, and philanthropy. In addition, there is a growing national grassroots movement to support parity for mental health care coverage which, if successful, will bring about much-needed improved reimbursement for mental health care.

Penn Center for Mental Health
Director: David Mandell, ScD
The Penn Center for Mental Health (CMH) was established in 1986 and is one of 13 centers in the Department of Psychiatry. CMH consists of a multidisciplinary group of faculty and staff who study the organization, financing, management and delivery of mental health care. Center faculty and staff also provide consultation and technical support to state and local governments, as well as mental health agencies and public schools implementing system change. The CMH faculty and staff have a strong interest in how to implement evidence based practices within the community for youth and adults. The research agenda of CMH takes a longitudinal and system-wide view of the mental health service system with a focus on persons with serious mental illness who are likely to be long-term recipients of care. The CMH will be the primary home for the training activities in this internship.

Penn Medicine Autism Clinic
Director: David Mandell, ScD
The Penn Medicine Autism Clinic serves individuals from 12 months of age through adulthood and provides initial diagnostic assessments as well as comprehensive behavioral/psychological evaluations for patients with prior autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses. Their mission is to use gold standard assessment tools, in conjunction with family-centered care, to facilitate parents’ understanding of their child’s unique developmental/behavioral profile and how that relates to the child’sintervention/educational needs. Families are then connected directly to quality, evidence-based intervention that is most appropriate for their children. Interns will have a rotation within the Penn Medicine Autism Clinic participating in comprehensive evaluations and treatment planning for children and adolescents with ASD.

Hall Mercer Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center
Executive Director: Patty Inacker
Hall-Mercer Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center provides comprehensive outpatient services to Philadelphia residents in need. As part of Philadelphia’s Behavioral Health System, it is one of 11 community mental health centers, and has one of Philadelphia’s five Crisis Response Centersonsite. As the first outpatient community mental health center in Pennsylvania, Hall Mercer distinguishes itself from other community-based services through its affiliation with Pennsylvania Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania Health System. This special relationship offers immediate access to a wide range of behavioral health programs and some of the area’s most recognized clinicians. It is the onlyprogram of its kind connected directly to a teaching hospital in Philadelphia, which facilitates access to a comprehensive spectrum of clinically renowned behavioral health and medical services. Reflecting theneeds of today’s behavioral health consumers, Hall-Mercer provides a range of services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness. While Hall-Mercer provides support to a wide range of individuals, it maintains its primary mission to care for the underserved. It takes this responsibility seriously, and over the years, has moved beyond its original services area in the south- eastern section of Philadelphia to provide care to people across the city and its surrounding areas. Internswill have a rotation within Hall Mercer’s APA Preschool program, providing direct behavioral interventionto preschool-aged children with ASD, supervised by a licensed school psychologist.

School District of Philadelphia
The School District of Philadelphia is the eighth largest school district in the US, by enrollment. The district serves over 145,000 students annually, including more than 1,520 students with ASD in kindergarten- through-fifth grades alone. Students who attend the School District of Philadelphia are ethnically and racially diverse (approximately 54% are African American, 31% are white, 11% are Hispanic, 3% are Asian, and 1% are of other races and ethnicities). More than 75% of students in the district qualify for free and reduced lunch. Interns will have a rotation providing school-based consultation to teachers of students with ASD regarding the use of evidence-based practices for their students. Supervision will be provided by a licensed school psychologist and board certified behavior analyst.


The primary goal of the School Psychology Internship program in the Penn Center for Mental Health is to train entry level school psychologists who are highly competent in best practices for children with autism spectrum disorders, and in the application of those practices within public schools and community settings.

Objective 1:
To train interns to develop culturally competent clinical skills in the areas of developmental and cognitive assessment, and treatment planning for children with autism spectrum disorders

Objective 2:
To train interns to develop culturally competent clinical skills in the direct application of behaviorally- based treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder, and consulting with educators on their application in school settings

Objective 3:
To train interns to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary settings and integrate evidence-based practice into all aspects of their clinical service

Objective 4:
To train interns to understand and implement professional ethics in psychology practice


a. Intervention Rotations

Hall Mercer ABA Preschool Program

The Hall Mercer ABA Preschool Program is a therapeutic preschool program for young children autism spectrum disorder and related behavioral challenges. The preschool program utilizes naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions within play-based activities and naturally occurring routines to promote social-communication and school-readiness skills. During the rotation, interns will participate in the use of curriculum-based assessments to guide treatment planning, and in the delivery of individual and small group interventions. Supervision is provided by a licensed school psychologist.

Hall Mercer Social Skills Program

The autism social skills program at Hall Mercer serves children with autism ages 6-11. The goal of these social skills groups is to help individuals with ASD improve their use of social communication and appropriate peer interactions in order to develop and sustain meaningful friendships. Social skills group sessions are delivered in 14 week cycles. Clients attend a 2 hour group weekly during the 14 weeks. Group sizes are small and led by highly trained staff so that children can receive intensive individualized support. Evidence-based social skills curricula are used to teach social skills across a variety of domains, including communication, interpersonal skills, cooperation and engagement, coping, self-control, empathy and perspective taking. Instructors utilize naturalistic teaching strategies rooted in applied behavior analysis. Each session will consist of a skill review, model and practice framework. During the rotation, interns will have the opportunity to participate in assessment, treatment planning, and service delivery. Supervision is provided by a licensed psychologist.

b. Assessment Rotation

Penn Medicine Autism Clinic

The Penn Medicine Autism Clinic provides initial diagnostic assessments as well as comprehensive behavioral/psychological evaluations for patients with prior ASD diagnoses for individuals from 12 months of age through adulthood. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in parent interviews, child assessment, feedback sessions, treatment planning, and report writing. Supervision is provided by a licensed psychologist.

c. Consultation Rotation

School District of Philadelphia: Autism Support

A team of consultants from the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research provide ongoing consultation and support to the School District of Philadelphia’s programming for students with ASD. Consultation regarding the use of evidence-based practices for students with ASD, including classroom and behavior management, the use of visual supports and daily routines to support student engagement, and individualized instruction based in applied behavior analysis, is provided to teachers and staff within kindergarten-through-fifth grade autism support classrooms throughout the School District of Philadelphia. Consultation is also provided at the school-wide level to improve opportunities for inclusion for children with ASD within the regular education setting. Interns will participate in the delivery of school-based consultation to improve teachers’ use of evidence-based practices for their students with ASD. Supervision is provided by a licensed school psychologist.

d. Research Rotation

CMH is an active research center, and we are strongly committed to helping our interns furtherenhance their research skills. Up to 10% of an intern’s time may be protected for research-related activities. If an intern has not yet completed his or her dissertation, this time should be used to make significant progress towards defending the dissertation. If the intern has completed the dissertation by the time the internship starts, or at any point during the internship year, they are encouraged to use this protected time to explore research questions that can be answered using data from any variety of data sets available at CMH. The intern should initiate this conversation with the Training Director, who can then direct him or her to an appropriate faculty mentor.


a. Initial Training
Interns will receive in-depth training covering a breadth of topics related to each internship rotation during the first two weeks of the internship year. The initial training will include a combination of didactic and experiential learning opportunities to provide a foundational level of knowledge and experience with the theories and practices that drive the clinical model of service delivery throughout the internship. Training will be provided by the internship supervisors, as well as core members of the clinical and administrative team at CMHPSR. In addition to administrative orientation, training topics include: didactics and direct experience using evidence-based practices for students with ASD; models of school consultation; ethics in school-based treatment delivery; cognitive assessment, and developmental assessment. The initial training is supplemented with continuous training throughout the year via didactics and live supervision.

b. Supervision
The training faculty provide at least four hours per week of formal supervision. This includes two hours of individual supervision, one hour of group supervision, and at least one hour of live field supervision. Supervisors are available on-site during business hours and are accessible 24 hours per day by telephone for issues that arise in the field or after hours.

Training is consistent with a developmental model of transferring knowledge and skills: interns often begin a rotation by observing supervisors’ clinical work, then receive feedback based on directobservation of their own clinical work, followed by increasingly independent practice.

c. Didactics
Interns attend weekly didactics seminars which cover a range of topics relevant to professional and clinical issues in psychology. Seminars are presented by faculty and other professionals in theDepartment of Psychiatry at Penn, as well as through various departments in the Children’s Hospital ofPhiladelphia. Many seminars are presented in conjunction with the Residency Training Program in the Department of Psychiatry, giving interns the opportunity to interact with other trainees in the Department.

d. Case Conference
In the second half of the internship year, interns will participate in monthly case conferences to hone their case conceptualization skills. Interns are required to link their learning across rotations as they present their cases. This learning activity encourages interns to integrate the skills that they are learning in their intervention, assessment, and consultation rotations.

e. School-Based Consultation In-service Training
The SBC weekly session is a one-hour meeting for all school-based consultants at CMHPSR. During this meeting, the supervisor provides project updates and reviews data collection procedures and timelines with the team. Consultants take turns presenting new consultation resources or sharing progress on cross-team collaborative projects. The remainder of the time is devoted to case discussion.


Interns receive a stipend paid in 12 monthly installments.

Interns receive one week of paid personal leave and five sick days each year. Interns also receive paid time off for 8 annual federal holidays as well as the time the University is closed between Christmas andNew Year’s Day. Interns are also granted release time for the dissertation defense and other professional development activities. Interns will have access to University of Pennsylvania facilities (e.g. libraries).


a. Intern Evaluations
Supervisors provide feedback to interns throughout the year to aid the intern in developingcompetencies. The Supervisors Committee meets monthly to discuss each intern’s progress. Amidpoint evaluation is completed halfway through the training year and is based on input from supervisors across training experiences. At the end of the year, a final review of the all training activities for each intern is completed. The intern also provides input regarding his/her assessment of performance during each step of this process.

b. Completion Requirements
The internship is a 1,750 hour, full-time training program for doctoral-level graduate students in school psychology. Most interns complete closer to 2,000 hours of training. Interns are required to spend 600 hours of the training year in a school-based setting. Interns spend no less than 25% of their time in face- to-face direct service delivery.

To align with the local school district, the internship begins on August 1 and ends on July 31st of the following year.

In order to successfully complete the program, interns must receive a rating score indicating an HI or higher on 80% of items on the Intern Evaluation Form.


Applicants must be advanced doctoral candidates from APA-accredited School Psychology programs. Applicants are required to have 500 or more assessment and intervention hours and should have passed the doctoral comprehensive examination prior to applying to the internship.

The program seeks applicants who demonstrate an interest in working with children with autism in community-based settings. Our Supervisors Committee reviews all applications to determine fit with our program and invites qualified applicants for on-site interviews. Interns will be notified by email in mid-December as to whether or not they have been invited to interview. Interviews are held in mid- January.

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran in the administration or its educational policies, programs, scholarship and loan programs, employment, recreational, athletic or other university administered programs. Questions or concerns regarding the University’s equal opportunity and affirmative action programs and activities or accommodations for people with disabilities should be directed to: Director of Affirmative Action, Suite 228, 3600 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021. (215) 898-6993 (voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).


Keiran Rump, Ph.D.
Dr. Rump is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. She leads the Penn Medicine Autism Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she conducts comprehensive evaluations and treatment planning for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Rump also coordinates clinical training and provides clinical supervision and consultation for several of the autism-related research projects led by Dr. David Mandell. She serves as the Training Director for CMHPSR’s School Psychology Internship. Dr.Rump’s professional interests include improving access to appropriate, quality, evidence-based interventions for individuals with autism. Her research interests include emotion processing in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, how this changes with development, and how this relates to the assessment and treatment of comorbid anxiety disorders. Dr. Rump received her PhD in clinical and developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed her clinical internship at the Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami School of Medicine, and herfellowship at the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Rump will provide interns with individual supervision related to their clinical duties at the Penn Medicine Autism Clinic and group supervision for their duties in the Hall Mercer Social Skills Program.

Melanie Pellecchia, PhD, NCSP, BCBA
Dr. Pellecchia is a licensed clinical psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP), and board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). She holds a Master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from Temple University and a doctorate in School Psychology also from Temple University. Dr. Pellecchia’s clinical and research interests lie in improving the implementation of evidence-based treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders in under-served communities. She has extensive experience developing and evaluating publicly-funded education programs for children with autism spectrum disorder, and working with teachers, staff, and administrators to improve their implementation of high quality treatments. Dr. Pellecchia will provide interns with individual supervision related to their clinical duties in the Hall Mercer ABA Preschool Program and School District of Philadelphia Autism Support rotations. Dr. Pellecchia will also provide supervision for the BCBA credential for eligible interns.

Brenna Maddox, PhD.
Dr. Maddox is a licensed clinical psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. She received her BS in Psychology from Davidson College in 2008, MS in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Tech in 2012, and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Tech in 2015.She completed her predoctoral internship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as the Autism track intern. Dr. Maddox’s primary clinical interests include the assessment and treatment of commonly co- occurring difficulties within autism, such as anxiety and emotion dysregulation. Her postdoctoral research, under the mentorship of Dr. David Mandell, focuses on improving community mental health services for adults with autism. Dr. Maddox’s current research is funded by the NIMH National ResearchService Award (F32) and the FAR Fund. Dr. Maddox currently serves on the Supervisors Committee.