Tiffany Thornton chose the University of Idaho to study child development and family relations because she fell in love with its campus, and found it held warm and caring people who challenged her to succeed both in her studies and in gaining life skills.
"I'm really into the aesthetic appearance of colleges," she says. Thornton first visited the University of Idaho's Moscow campus in 2008 and decided to transfer from Portland Community College for her junior and senior years.
Thornton, a member of Alaska's Tlingit tribe, enjoyed her class work and the support she received from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
This semester, she completed a practicum working with 3- and 4-year olds Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the University of Idaho Children's Center on campus.
Tuesday and Thursday mornings, she traveled 50 miles north to Plummer High School on the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation to mentor 10 students studying English.
Her career goal is to work with adolescents and families. "I like focusing more on the lifespan development of individuals," she says.
"I felt I wanted to know more information about how that applies to families. I want to go work in a day treatment center or perhaps working with head start working with families or adolescents."
She signed up for the mentoring internship to explore that career choice.
"I wanted to be sure that I could work with adolescents before I went for a job," she says. "I find that I really do like them because they're so interesting, and they're just going through so much at that time of life. It's just about being understanding."
"Some days are tougher than others, but in the end it's worth it. I like the challenge," she says.