Northern Oklahoma College Behavioral Science Major Gabriella (Gabby) Ochoa is participating in a two-year internship with the Kaw Nation Domestic Violence Program.
Ochoa says “My primary responsibilities are contacting clients to check on them and collecting client satisfaction surveys.” She also sits in on intake sessions and provides childcare for clients during talking circles.
Ochoa added, “I am getting hands-on experience with clients. We go to court with clients and it has helped me understand and see the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault. I now have first-hand experience with court systems and have learned the differences between state and tribal court.”
The Kaw Nation is providing the two-year internship through a domestic violence grant which pays Ms. Ochoa a salary plus scholarship funding. The Kaw Nation received the grant, Developing Future Victim Specialist in Indian Country, in 2017.
Ochoa enjoys the people she works with at the Kaw Nation. “They are really kind, funny, and helpful. They help answer any questions I have. They have gone out of their way to tell me about their grants and how their grant works, which has helped me better understand my internship,” said Ochoa.
During her internship, Ochoa has enjoyed the monthly training she attends. Training sessions have covered self-defense, expert witness testimony, and human trafficking. She also has fun working at community events.
Ochoa, who will be graduating from NOC in a May 2019, plans to take coursework from Northwestern Oklahoma State University at the University Center (UC) in Ponca City next fall so she can complete her internship then transfer to the University of Central Oklahoma for graduate school. Her goal is to become a psychologist.
Since beginning the internship, she has been surprised to learn how many myths there are surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault. Ochoa explained, “When I first started working here, I had to go through online training and each training provided me with many statistics. It was really an eye-opener.”
Amber Adams, Office for Victims of Crime/Office of Violence Against Women Advocate at the Kaw Nation leads the domestic violence grant. Ochoa credits Adams for providing her with as many hands-on training opportunities as she can.
Ochoa, a 2017 Tonkawa High School graduate, also works on the NOC campus in the Vineyard Library.
Dr. Rae Ann Kruse, Dean of Academic Services at NOC, was thrilled when the Kaw Nation approached NOC with the idea to partner on this internship. Kruse said, “The Kaw Nation had a grant opportunity that hinged on finding qualified students. Gabby Ochoa has been a great fit. She is involved in learning opportunities that most psychology students have to wait until they are in their master’s program to experience.”
Photo L-R: Gabby Ochoa; Ashley Hein, Office of Violence against Women program coordinator; and volunteer Quailla Hazen.