Student Excels at Helping Others

Aug 11, 2020

Jamie McMutrie is working at Center of Life, which offers community programs in Hazelwood, Pa.

jamei mcmutrie

 Jamie McMutrie is doing her summer internship remotely with the Center of Life in Hazelwood, Pa. 

But the nontraditional sociology major with a concentration in social deviance is still benefiting from the experience at the nonprofit, learning all she can about what she loves most — helping others. 

Founded in 2002, Center of Life serves Hazelwood and its surrounding communities with academic out-of-school programs and meaningful experiences in music and arts. The organization offers programming and activities for all ages throughout the year. 

Working primarily with the K-8 students this summer, McMutrie helps plan activities such as crafts, journal, and physical activities. Some in-person activities such as food delivery to families in the Center of Life program have continued. 

Working directly with social workers and staff, and observing how they work with families, has been invaluable. 

“I’ve been able to take part in some very interesting training sessions, which has included looking at very serious issues such as child abuse training and teaching the kids about racism,” said McMutrie, who plans to graduate in Spring 2021. 

“I have tried to learn as much as I can from them throughout this internship because I would like to work with children and families in that type of capacity. 

“I like and appreciate the passion their staff has for the children and families they work with.” 

McMutrie came to Cal U after earning an associate degree from Community College of Allegheny County. She is co-founder of Haitian Families First, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing medicalnutritional and educational support to help Haitian families remain together and create a self-sufficient future. 

While she understandably misses the one-on-one contact with the children, McMutrie’s daily highlight begins when her kids log into Zoom to start the virtual camp day. 

“The best part is meeting the kids and getting to know them,” she said. “Unfortunately, I can’t physically follow them around right now because of COVID, but I still really enjoy seeing them have fun, even though it is obviously different from their typical summer.” 

Dr. Elizabeth Larsen, professor of sociology, taught the Ben Avon, Pa. native in her Sociology of Elite Deviance course this spring. 

“Jamie is an excellent student who is always finding important connections between her online classroom learning and her own experiences,” Larsen said.  “She takes full responsibility for her education by her curiosity, work ethic, and is a wonderful ambassador for Cal U at her internship. 

“Through her experiences, she has developed a wide and deep global perspective.  She can communicate and identify with people different from herself and is also great at working with international children.” 

McMutrie is pleased to add the Center of Life internship to her impressive resume and diverse background. 

“My experience is working with nonprofits and that is why I am currently interning with COL,” she said.  “It is great to be able to see how an organization like this runs and watch how they deal with constant changes to schedules and plans.”