Frequently Asked Questions

Project BLENDS is an interdisciplinary, graduate program with the goal to train high-quality related service professionals who are prepared to work collaboratively with each other, educators, and communities to serve infants and young children with high-intensity social-emotional needs and their families. Project BLENDS provides financial support for students who are enrolled in one of the four graduate participating programs at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

To be eligible for this opportunity, students must be enrolled in one of the following graduate programs: Master of Science in Clinical Psychology, Master of Social Work, Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders, or the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy and commit to working with young children with disabilities, or who are at risk for a disability, and their families. Students who have applied to one of these graduate programs are also eligible to apply for the Project BLENDS opportunity.

View program-specific FAQs sheets below:

View responses to frequently asked questions about project BLENDS below. 

  • Why are there four graduate programs involved?

    Early childhood intervention (ECI) has called for more interdisciplinary personnel preparation training with evidence to support increased learning and behavioral outcomes for children with disabilities. For infants and young children who experience high-intensity social-emotional needs, ECI services often involve a number of service providers from different disciplines, thus there is a critical need for interdisciplinary training, teaming, and coordination to ensure the provision of high-quality, coordinated, family-centered services. Given Alaska’s unique geographical landscape, the need for knowledge of and coordination across various disciplines, particularly for those serving more rural areas is called for. To learn more about each graduate program involved, see below. 

  • Why include a focus on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health?
    "Infant and early childhood mental health" refers to how well a child develops socially and emotionally from birth to age five. Relationships between a child and their caregiver(s) are crucial to supporting healthy social and emotional development. By using an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) framework, including the theoretical foundations of relationship-based practices, and attachment, separation, and trauma and loss, related service personnel may be better situated to work with families and early educators to support a child’s whole development.
  • Can I participate in Project BLENDS during my graduate program?

    Yes. Project BLENDS is designed for students who are enrolled in one of the following UAA graduate programs: Master of Science in Clinical Psychology, Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Doctorate of Occupational Therapy, and Master of Social Work. As a participant in Project BLENDS, you will participate in shared coursework, assignments, and early childhood field experiences during the final year of your graduate degree program. To learn more about each graduate program, click on the program links below.

  • Do I have to live in Anchorage to participate in Project BLENDS?
    No, you can be located anywhere in the state of Alaska to participate. Distance learning will be made available for all project components.
  • What coursework does the project include?

    Scholars in Project BLENDS will participate in shared experiences during the final year of their graduate degree program. As a scholar in Project BLENDS you will complete two early childhood field experiences (one will be part of your program’s internship), one shared course (Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health), and a 1-credit Early Childhood Interdisciplinary seminar in both the fall and spring semesters. Additional shared training experiences are part of the program. These occur in addition to your program’s regular course sequence. See below for the timeline of Project BLENDS training components.

    Timeline for Scholars Training Component
    January - March
    • Apply to Project BLENDS
    Mid- March
    • Notice of acceptance
    • Attend 1-day in-person project orientation
    Summer Semester   
    • Shared Course PSY/SWK A620: Advanced Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
    • Coordinated Field Experience A (20 hours Speech-Language Summer Clinic – Preschool classroom)
    • PSY/SWK A621: Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Seminar (1 cr)
    • Attend Annual Division of Early Childhood International Conference
    • PSY/SWK A621: Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Seminar (1 cr)
    • Coordinated Field Experience B (Internship in each program)
    • Attend Alaska Infant Mental Health Conference
    Post-Graduation 1-year
    • Post-Grad mentorship and monthly reflective supervision with Project BLENDS cohort
  • How many scholars are selected for the funding opportunity?
    A limited number of highly-qualified applicants will be selected as Project BLENDS scholars. The project aims to admit eight scholars per cohort (1 cohort per year). Scholars must have applied and been accepted to one of the four participating graduate programs.  
  • How much financial support is given to a student?

    Scholar’s will receive $18,000 training stipend to complete their advanced degree. In addition, scholars receive project course books, a computer, student professional membership in the Division for Early Childhood, and travel stipends to attend local and national conferences. 

  • Is there a service agreement?

    Yes. Per the funding agency, scholars must complete a service obligation or repay all or part of the cost of assistance. Following graduation, Project BLENDS scholars must agree to work for an equivalent of two years (can include part time work) in a position providing services for at least half of the time to young children and their families. Employment is not limited to the state of Alaska.