Emma Harrington ’20 has been using her summers and breaks to explore career fields and gain experience in areas of interest. She talked about her Take a Logger to Work 2019 experience at the Washington State Capitol last semester, and now she’s sharing insights from her most recent summer internship with Victim-Witness Services in the Napa County District Attorney’s Office.
CES: What did your internship entail?
EH: Every day was a little different, which really kept things exciting over the summer! I typically got the opportunity to spend time in court in the morning. Once I was back in the office, I had three main tasks to work on: 1) Calling individuals who we were advocating for to update them on their cases and legal proceedings 2) Reading police reports that came into the office and summarizing them in case someone involved reached out to us & 3) completing two large-scale research projects that culminated in a collection of resources for the office to utilize in the future.
CES: What was a typical day like?
EH: Each day began with an 8 a.m. staff meeting during which all advocates outlined the cases they were working on that day. For me, this meant that I got to pick the most interesting cases and shadow them in court! Court starts at 8:30 for pre-trial hearings and while it was absolutely nothing like Law & Order, I still found it fascinating. Typically I would shadow or attend court on my own in the morning and then come back for meetings or office work in the afternoon.
Depending on the week, the office did a lot of outreach—which meant we got to get out of the office and into the community to attend various events to raise awareness about our services!
CES: What did you most enjoyed about the experience?
EH: I really enjoyed seeing another side of my community through this opportunity. It opened my eyes to careers I did not even know existed. Since my internship was with the District Attorney’s office in my hometown, I learned about a wealth of resources provided by both our office and local non-profits available to my community. Additionally, so much of my academic experience has focused on law and policy at the national and international level, that it was refreshing and eye-opening to see how these policies and local politics affect people every day.
CES: What was most challenging about the experience?
EH: The primary goal of the work of the office is to advocate to the court for the needs and wishes of victims and witnesses involved in on-going criminal law proceedings. As fulfilling as the work was, it was also emotionally draining to relive some of people’s worst moments with them. It was also frustrating when our ability to advocate on someone’s behalf was in some way legally constrained. However, the moments when someone thanked us for our advocacy or got to heal some of their trauma by reading a victim impact statement made it all worth it.
CES: What advice do you have for Logger students?
EH: My biggest piece of advice is to reach out to people doing work that you are interested in or inspired by. I saw our District Attorney speak the previous summer at an event. I was so inspired to see a woman in a position of power in the legal profession that I cold emailed her and she ended up pointing me in the direction of their internship coordinator.
Whether it is through LinkedIn, email, or in-person, don’t be afraid to reach out to people to hear more about their work. Maybe you won’t get a response, but you might get encouragement, insight, and possibly even an opportunity!
Thinking about a summer internship, or an internship for credit next semester? Make an appointment to meet with a CES career advisor! 253.879.3161
Photos: by Emma Harrington; building photos are public domain images
© 2019 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound