Working to transform the child welfare system.

Student Spotlight: Erin Bernardy

Erin grew up in Winona, Minnesota, and attended undergrad in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She majored in Gender and Women’s Studies and Creative Writing and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work with a Policy/Administration concentration. Before working at P4C, Erin had six years of direct service experience with children, youth, and families. Her previous roles included working as an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) practitioner, Domestic Violence Youth Advocate, Mental Health Practitioner in a Community Mental Health agency, and a Mental Health Specialist on the Pediatric Behavioral Medicine Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

In the summer of 2021, Erin began her internship with P4C. Starting as early as her undergrad years, Erin has been interested in theory and policy. Currently, she practices evaluation skills on the Alliance’s Workforce and Caregiver trainings, which include training observations and qualitative synthesis of themes from participant surveys. Erin was drawn to P4C because she was excited to learn new skills in evaluation and wanted to understand the Child Welfare System at a macro level. “I had no idea I was interested in evaluation and research until this year. I kind of thought these skills were out of my wheelhouse, but they aren’t!” Erin has loved learning from the P4C team and values the opportunities she has had. In addition, she is excited about creating a written report as a culmination of her learning from the past two quarters. “It’s always nice to be able to apply learnings from class to the real world.” Since starting at P4C, Erin has learned many transferable skills around program evaluation and policy practice around the child welfare system. 

In the long term, Erin would like to get her Ph.D. in Social Work and learn how to teach effectively to help students improve their writing skills. She is also incredibly excited about the prospect of finishing her graduate thesis. “I have put my heart and soul into this research project, so getting the opportunity to defend it would be great!” However, outside of P4C, she has many passion projects and aims to one day have the ability to spin fire, meditate for one hour, and learn tricks on the hula hoop. Erin likes staying connected with long-distance friends by playing virtual codenames, loves walking and hiking the trails of Carkeek Park every day, and hopes to have the skills to become an open-water swimmer.