I could not be more grateful for my experience at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).The Arlin M. Adams Center provided me with the opportunity to intern with this national nonprofit organization at the beginning of my junior year in September 2013. From my first day on the job, I knew that this internship would change my life.
Being involved in helping children who have become involved with the justice system through parental neglect or abuse has been the greatest experience I have had throughout my entire college career.
This internship taught me so much about the courts, the legal system and how these means can be used to make a difference in the lives of at-risk young people. My involvement in CASA has not only provided me with knowledge that will help me excel in the workforce after college, but it has also helped me understand various points of view that will aid in my ongoing studies in the fields of law and sociology.
Thanks again to the Arlin M. Adams Center. It has been an exciting pleasure to work in this field a part of CASA during my years as an undergraduate at Susquehanna University.
With the total cost of the trip underwritten by the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society, in March 2011, I was privileged to attend the 11th Annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama with the Faith & Politics Institute.
As part of that event, I traveled to Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Ala., in the company of sitting members of the U.S. Congress as well as figures who had experienced the Civil Rights Movement firsthand.
I learned about the Civil Rights Movement from people who actually lived in Alabama during that time, and also from people like Rep. John Lewis, Betty Mae Fikes, and Dorothy Cotton, who were key in making it happen. Hearing their personal stories and detailed recollections of events that took place during the height of the movement made me realize how much most of us don’t know about those times. Based on what I heard, I think there are likely multitudes of unsung heroes and untold stories related to the Civil Rights Movement that could, indeed should, be included in historical accounts of those times.
As a direct result of my experiences on the pilgrimage, today I feel a new, or at least redoubled, sense of awe about the Civil Rights Movement in general and about those who took part in it particularly. It was inspiring to hear from some of them about the many, many individuals who tirelessly fought for their rights, all the while maintaining strict adherence to a policy of non-violence.
In 2011, this very different day and age, it seems that violent behavior is everywhere—all the time. Even the most insignificant disputes seem to erupt instantly into violent conflict. It’s almost taken for granted. In this violent social context, to learn firsthand from and about a group of people who “battled” for years for something so fundamentally important—and did so peacefully—well, it was amazing.
During one of the many question-and-answer sessions we had along the way, one student asked Rep. Lewis why the marchers and freedom riders in the 1960s did not use violence. He responded, stating, “That’s not the type of people we wanted to be.”
His answer has been stuck in my mind ever since I heard him say it. We all, by our actions, choose the type of person we want to be—and, even in times of extreme turmoil, we must remember that. People who participated in the Civil Rights Movement weren’t just looking to be free people; they intended to establish themselves as good, peaceful people in the process.
My association with the Adams Center for Law and Society afforded me one of the greatest opportunities I’ve had as a student at Susquehanna University. During the summer prior to my senior year at SU, the Adams Center sponsored a nearly full-time internship position I held at the Snyder County District Attorney’s Office. As a student planning to attend law school after graduation, my experiences at the DA’s office taught me a great deal about criminal law and provided a perspective on my potential career path that I would otherwise have missed entirely.
While at the DA’s office, I wrote case briefs of Pennsylvania Superior Court decisions. Additionally, I was entrusted with various responsibilities related to case work while attending hearings and trials and I assisted the DA with planning various community outreach programs. Prior to my internship I never realized how much behind the scenes work is associated with criminal proceedings and managing the legal aspects of community safety in Snyder County. I really felt that I got an entirely new understanding of how the legal system works. Of course, I’m very grateful for the opportunity the Adams Center provided. Without the center’s sponsorship, I never would have been able to sustain an internship like this one. Interestingly, my internship helped me to decide that law school is not the right career path for me. Through my work with the DA in community outreach, I learned how rewarding a career in public service can be. Based on experience, I have decided to pursue a graduate degree in public policy. I am thankful to the Adam Center for providing me insight into a perspective career goal, and eventually allowing me to make an educated decision on the right career path for me.
Both my father and my grandfather devoted their lives to law enforcement, public service and protection of the community Not surprisingly, law-related topics were at the core of innumerable conversations at the dinner table on family occasions. Initially, I took these often heated discussions for granted, but as I grew up I became increasingly interested in what was being said. Over time, this budding interest in the law and its impact on individuals and society developed into a compelling passion of mine – one which has influenced my educational path so far and, hopefully, will define my graduate education and future career trajectory.
My work as an Adams Center scholar has led to a number of opportunities to further my academic and personal interests in the law. For example, during the summer and fall of 2011, I have interned at the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County with President Judge Robert Sacavage and Judge William Harvey Wiest.
My internship experiences have added hands-on experience that advances the theoretical aspects of law that I have learned in the classroom. Finding and interpreting case law, discussing orders and opinions with the judges and law clerks, and collaborating with local attorneys is part of my typical day at court.
This opportunity has put me in the hands of the area’s finest practitioners of law. Learning from the best and brightest will not only give me an advantage in law school, but also in life. I believe though that most rewarding experience I have gained from this internship are the personal connections and friendships that I have made with certain individuals who have fostered my growth as a student interested in law and importantly, as a person.
Upon graduation, my plan is to attend law school. Because of the Adams Center, I have made significant advancements in reaching this next step in my life.
My interest in sociology inspired me to take advantage of an internship opportunity available through the Adams Center for Law and Society at SU. With progress toward earning a BA degree in history already well underway, I became aware of the Adams Center around the time I began pursuit of my second major in sociology. I chose this field of study due to the emphasis it has on understanding social issues and social action. I was motivated to understand more of society’s influence on its marginalized members. My internship with Susquehanna Valley CASA (Court Appointed Speical Advocates for Children) provided me with experience in the field of marginalized and abused children caught up in the legal system. This has led me to an ever-increasing level of concern with the role of policy in their lives. My desire to pursue a graduate education in criminology and public policy grew from this valuable experience.
I was fortunate enough to participate in two internships with CASA during Summer 2014. One allowed me to participate as a research assistant, collecting and transferring data from the case files of CASA to a predictive analytics software called SPSS housed on campus. Coding all of the variables and locating the relevant information turned out to be a difficult and rewarding task. The second internship was as an office manager with an emphasis on transferring data from the case files into the casa manager system for tracking case outcomes. Both positions allowed me access to information on past and ongoing CASA volunteer cases. This information and the proximity the work put me to the CASA county case managers gave me a greater appreciation for social justice and the difficulties that it involves. The process that went into the acquisition of information for building a case file on a child was staggering.
As the summer ended and I maintained my CASA office manager internship, my knowledge of the cases and my functioning understanding of the case management system made me a valuable member of the CASA staff. As my work relationships with the county managers grew, so did my understanding of the scope of CASA’s mission to provide a voice for a segment of the population that has been largely silenced by a complicated legal system. The opportunities provided by the Adams Center not only furthered my interests in sociology and social policy, but also provided invaluable experience leading to a more clear understanding what I want to do in life and the kind of person I aspire to become. Currently, I’m awaiting responses from the graduate programs to which I have applied. I received my first acceptance letter last week and look forward to more. Thank you to the Adams Center and to Greater Susquehanna Valley CASA.
The Adams Law Center has provided me with the unique opportunity to intern with the 17th Judicial District Court of Common Pleas of Snyder and Union counties. This internship has provided me with a strong foundation in the understanding of courtroom procedure through my observation a variety of proceedings brought before several of the judges.
Moreover, I was given unique access to in-chamber discussions with attorneys and governmental meetings as the judge met with local, state and congressional officials. Overall, these experiences have provided me with a keen understanding the nature of human interaction within the context of the court. I have learned that though the operation of the court is highly dependent on procedure and precedent, individuals and personalities play an important role. Of particular value to me as I consider a career in law has been the ability to hear to the judges explain the significance of different things I observe. Listening to their observations based off years of professional experience has given me a practical understanding of the operation of the law unparalleled by any classroom learning.
I also gained experience by performing a variety of tasks for court administration. I aided in the preparation of orders, form packets, and trail binders. I also conducted research at the direction of the judges. I worked with the probation office looking up items ranging from statistics of retail theft victims to individual cases. I also conducted a statewide survey of Pennsylvania’s 67 county probation offices to determine the prevalence of Youth Aid Panel diversion programs. My findings were part of a presentation the judge gave concern ligation reducing volunteer programs.
Overall my experiences gained through my Adams Law Center internship have been invaluable not only to the development of my desired legal career but my overall professional growth. I have gained a deeper insight into how people work in a court setting and how the law operates. Moreover I have gained further practice in applying my research skills in a practical setting. I am truly grateful to the Adams Law Center and the 17th Judicial District for this learning opportunity.
My association with the Arlin M. Adams Center provided a number of opportunities to apply what I have learned in the classroom to real-world situations. During the summer prior to my senior year, I received support from the Adams Center that allowed me to participate in the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing’s County Parole Guideline Research Initiative. My role in the project required that I work daily at the Adult Probation Department in Northumberland County, Pa., to compile data on a total of 82 mid-level offenders. To do so required reading through files of convicted offenders to gather demographic and other types of information pertinent to understanding the fate of Pennsylvania’s lawbreakers. In particular, we were interested in collecting information about the causes and consequences of probation or parole revocation. Ultimately, the data we collected will be used by the state to rethink its sentencing policies. Over the course of the summer, I learned a great deal about the practical consequences of Pennsylvania’s sentencing policies and about procedures associated with crime and punishment in the U.S. more generally. Perhaps most importantly, I observed the ways in which socioeconomic status seems to play a role in how individuals experience state punishment. For example, it was impossible not to note how many times offenders found themselves before the court based on their inability to pay fines and penalties associated with probation/parole stemming from previous offenses. It seems that a cycle of revocation and reincarceration can often be understood as a function of offenders’ economic disadvantage. I also found it very interesting to observe how probation officers themselves interacted with their probationers/parolees and how they understood their position and duties as enforcers of the law. Moreover, my experiences in the context to the sentencing commission project have led me to take a more critical approach to how I understand the penal system in particular and the organizations and institutions that most of us understand as “egalitarian” more generally.
As a psychology and sociology double major, I did not have much experience with the law and judicial system until the Arlin M. Adams Center for Law and Society provided me with the opportunity to intern with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA is a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to advocate for abused or neglected dependent children who have come to the attention of the court. CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge to identify and express the needs and wishes of the child.
I started my internship CASA in July 2012 and have continued in that position through the summer of 2013. One of the major responsibilities of the CASA volunteer is to aid the child in getting a safe, permanent and loving home as soon as possible. Children can be involved in the legal and social services systems for years. A CASA volunteer is their constant connection through the whole process. As caseworkers, foster homes, schools and other things change, the CASA volunteer is the one person that remains the same in the child’s life during such a difficult time.
As a court appointed party, the volunteer is allowed to gather medical, educational and other information on the child. Among my responsibilities as an intern, I was expected to gather information for CASA volunteers to use in their report to the court. Additionally, I was present for most of the court proceedings, and I accompanied caseworkers on family visits and other meetings regarding the welfare of the child.
My work at CASA—especially my interaction with the families and court system—has provided valuable experience and knowledge and added to the foundation that I’ve been building in the classroom at SU. My education and this experience has allowed me to look at the events playing out in the court room and consider the factors in our society that may have contributed to the events that brought the family to where they are. My experience at CASA allowed me to observe sociological and psychological theories in action.
Working in two different counties, I was able to observe two different court systems along with a variety of service providers and families. It was interesting to observe how the two different court systems operated and how each party involved viewed their role and purpose. Over the past year I was able to identify cycles and patterns within the court proceedings and family dynamics that I believe I would never have had the opportunity to observe without this opportunity. My experience has taught me so much about how laws can protect the rights of children and their families, but it can also hinder them. It was very interesting to see the consequences that families face following the ruling in Family Court. Without the sponsorship of the Arlin Adams Center, I would never have been able to dedicate so much time to this valuable experience.
My commitment to social order, to equality of opportunity, and to a sense of brotherhood among all persons has long fueled my desire to work in law enforcement. As a senior completing a sociology and psychology dual major, it seemed important to me to not only learn the sociological and criminological theories that drive the field of law enforcement and policing, but also to have opportunities to work side-by-side with law enforcement professionals. Through my association with the Adams Center, I was granted two separate opportunities to do just that. Initially, I participated in an Adams Center-sponsored internship with the Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office. That position granted me extensive access to the criminal courts in Lehigh County, to the legal proceedings occurring there, and to the legal actors participating in those proceedings. The internship offered an opportunity to collect ethnographic and interview-type data over the course of a three-month summer break during the 2009 academic year. Focusing specifically on county-level legal actors in proceedings involving pro se criminal defendants, the data I collected in this context later constituted the focus of an analysis for my senior research project. During summer 2010, I was selected by Michael Smyth, director of the Adams Center, to participate as lead research assistant from SU on county data collection efforts for the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission’s County Parole Guideline Research Initiative. As part of my duties on this project, I spent several months working in adult probation departments and other facilities across the state to complete instruments designed to measure variables related to sentencing and parole revocation in five Pennsylvania counties. I was also responsible for the security of the data as well as for supervising other students involved in data collection. In conjunction with data collected by other research teams across the state, the data the team collected will be used to inform moves to mitigate the effects of the state’s super-punitive sentencing policies. Both of the opportunities the Adams Center provided me have broadened my interests in criminal justice and allowed me to apply course material from my sociology major to real-world situations. In addition, they have given me the chance to work in capacities related to my future career path, and provided graduate-level work experience that strengthens my ability to continue my education at the master’s or doctoral level.
As a pre-law student and legal studies minor at SU, I’ve found that the more I learn about the law, the more interesting the field has become for me. Increasingly I find myself fascinated by the various manifestations of law in every day life—what I think of as the multiple “faces” of law. For example, law can guarantee rights and freedoms for all on one hand, or it can restrict our options and limit our opportunities on the other; law can protect us from each other and punish those who victimize us; it can render us equal or unequal to others and it can constitute us as particular types of individuals in very consequential ways.
At the beginning of my senior year, I was selected as an Adams Center Scholar, a position that provided me with an opportunity to serve as a paid legal intern at North Penn Legal Services (NPLS) in Sunbury, Pa. NPLS engages the private bar, social services and community organizations, courts, and advocacy groups to effectively help low-income people with their civil legal needs. Services include individual representation, information, referral and advice, community legal education, and support for pro se clients.
As an intern at NPLS, I was frequently called on to shepherd clients through initial and subsequent interviews with an NPLS attorney, court appearances and ultimately on to a resolution. As I gained experience, I was called on to brief cases and write appeals. In addition, I became familiar with the inner workings of the Northumberland County Office of the Prothonotary. Overall, the NPLS internship allowed me to gain considerable understanding of how the legal profession operates at a practical level and to develop confidence in my capacity to work as an integral part of a fast-paced law office.
With commencement just around the corner, I will soon begin my first year of law school at Widener University. As I reflect on the undergraduate experiences that have led me to this point, I feel especially grateful to the Adams Center for Law and Society and North Penn Legal Services for the remarkable insights and opportunities that were afforded me as an Adams Center Scholar.
Law is a recent interest of mine, one which developed after I began college. As an economics major, I was initially introduced to the law through a research project I worked on that focused on the law and economics movement, a field that applies economic theory and method to the practice of law. As I became more and more interested in the law, I began thinking about a career in that field, but to be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit myself to three years of law school following graduation from SU. Happily, my experiences working as an intern for the judges at the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas helped me overcome my reluctance.
The Adams Center for Law and Society provided one of the most important experiences I’ve had as an undergraduate at SU. As an Adams Center Scholar for the spring of 2012, I had the privilege of interning at the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas for an entire semester.
During that time, I sat in on various types of hearings, as well as civil proceedings and criminal trials. I worked closely with Judge William Harvey Wiest, as well as with President Judge Robert Sacavage and Judge Charles H. Saylor, frequently meeting with them in their chambers to discuss different proceedings that were underway at the court house. These men were some of the smartest people I have ever met and it was a privilege to learn from them.
Having judges and their law clerks available to answer questions was a tremendous resource for me, as was my ongoing interaction with public defenders, the district attorney and local law enforcement personnel. All of these individuals contributed to giving me a perspective on law which cannot be learned in the classroom. Participating in discussions with the various members of the court workgroup offered a great way to learn the process of law and gain an understanding of how it is interpreted.
Over the course of my internship, as I gained more experience, the judges showed me how to brief cases for them and even invited me to help them write opinions in some cases. My understanding of law and the operations of the court were pretty minimal before this internship opportunity came along. Now, I have a good working knowledge of the criminal code, legal procedure, and what goes on in the courtroom, as well as behind the scenes in a county courthouse.
My experience as an Adams Center Scholar was invaluable in any number of ways—especially in terms of helping me decide on a career in law and preparing me for law school. It’s something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
Over the past two semesters, I was pleased to have had the opportunity to intern at the Union and Snyder County courthouses. The position was one I actively sought out based on the assumption that it would help me understand—at a hands-on level—what I might be doing after completing law school. As it turned out, the internship taught me far more than I had originally imagined it would.
As an intern I did a lot of observing. I often sat next to the court stenographer during proceedings and spent much of my time thinking about the specific type of procedure that was before the court. I was interested in what made one case different from other cases in the same category and how these differences might ultimately affect the judge’s decisions. Afterward, I often had extensive discussions with the judge about what I thought of each case and how I might handle a similar scenario. In addition to the observations, I read a lot of case files, which led to asking a lot of questions about various laws and procedures. I also was a filer, photo-copier and researcher on a variety of cases.
Some of the highlights of my internship included my fairly free access to behind-the-scenes conversations between judges, secretaries, lawyers and the district attorney and other members of the court work group. This was the part of my internship where I probably learned the most. Other highlights included serving as a principal organizer of a mock-trial between two local high schools for Union County’s bicentennial. This project consisted of contacting both schools, setting up meetings, and, my favorite part, looking at real files dating back to 1813 (the first year the Union County Courthouse was established). In addition, I greatly enjoyed the excitement of high-security hearings, interacting with coworkers and legal professionals in high-stress situations, and of course, the annual holiday party.
I learned a lot from this internship and could not be more grateful to have had the experience. I learned that, at the end of the day, judges and lawyers and policemen are all just normal folks. I think the position allowed me to become much better at handling myself and my emotions in stressful situations. Most importantly, I learned that, contrary to what I had originally believed, law school is not for me. As I initially approached the internship, I was thankful to have been given the opportunity to gain real-world legal experience that would allow me to beef up my law school applications. Now, I realize the thing I am most thankful for is to know ahead of time—before spending tens of thousands of dollars on law school—that a career in law is not what I want.
One of the greatest opportunities I was given at Susquehanna University was provided through the Adams Center for Law and Society. I was selected by Michael Smyth, the director of the center, to participate in county data collection efforts for the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission’s County Parole Guideline Research Initiative. To work in this capacity, it was required that I pass Penn State’s IRB training requirements related to the protection of human subjects and sign an agreement related to the proper handling of confidential materials. As part of my duties on this project, I spent several weeks working full-time in different county-level adult probation departments to complete instruments intended to measure variables related to sentencing and parole of offenders in Pennsylvania. In conjunction with data collected by other research teams across the state, the data our team collected will be used to inform moves to mitigate the effects of the state’s super-punitive sentencing policies. Informed by the various experiences described above, I have now set my sights firmly on a career in academia. I hope to one day join a university faculty where I will conduct research of my own and mentor other students in sociology. My experiences working as a researcher under the auspices of the Adams Center have been invaluable in preparing me for such a future and for making me a more desirable applicant to grad school as well. My Adams Center research position has already opened many doors for me, and I expect that it will continue to serve me well as I continue on with my academic and professional careers.
The Adams Center has contributed the most important set of resources for my undergraduate experience and has provided key support and opportunities to further my interest in the study of law and social justice.
In the fall of 2010, I began a year-long internship with the president judge of nearby Northumberland County. This internship has offered detailed exposure to both criminal and civil legal processes, bringing me in close contact to professional practitioners of the law and allowing me to observe courtroom proceedings on a level usually reserved for law school graduates.
This experience has greatly informed my interest in mental health law and forms therapeutic jurisprudence. The Adams Center has also contributed to the development of my own research, fostering collaborations with faculty in contemporary issues of law and society scholarship.
In August, I will present original research on the drug treatment courts with Michael Smyth at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) in Las Vegas, Nev.
In my future plans to pursue a Ph.D. in legal studies, I know that the Adams Center’s mentorship and support has made me a much more attractive candidate to prospective graduate programs.
Working within the legal system to help better the lives of others has always been something that interested me. The Adams Center for Law and Society provided me with the opportunity to do just that. During my senior year I was connected with a national organization that gives abused and neglected children a voice. The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children in Northumberland and Lycoming counties has volunteers that work within the court systems and with social workers to serve the needs and improve the lives of children and their families.
As a senior sociology and psychology student I plan to work with children and families in need. I have always believed that taking one small step to improve the life of a child can turn families and societies around. My time with CASA confirmed this belief. I saw firsthand that taking the time to listen and improve the quality of the life of a child can do wonders for societies. CASA volunteers have the ability to help out with schooling and medical needs, behavioral issues and parental rights, but above all, can listen. And sometimes, having someone to just listen can do more good than ever imagined.
My internship with CASA not only allowed me to apply things I had learned within the classroom to the real situations, but gave me a new perspective to things that I hadn’t thought about before. I learned more about the court systems, was able to work closely with volunteers and was able to sit in on numerous court cases. I developed a sense of understanding for human rights and needs that will continue with me far beyond my four years of undergraduate education. I sincerely thank the Adams Center for providing me with this invaluable opportunity.
As a transfer student to Susquehanna in my sophomore year, I was drawn to the vast opportunities that Susquehanna provided students to thrive in their academic interests in and outside the classroom. As a student interested in law school, the Prelaw Society stood out as a chance to be surrounded by others who were on a similar path as me. It was through this society that I learned more about the Adams Center Scholars program. The Adams Center Scholars program is just one example of these amazing opportunities for students to grow through real world experiences in the area of social justice and law.
During my senior year, I was selected to intern at North Penn Legal Services in Sunbury, Pa., to work alongside managing attorney, Pete Macky. North Penn Legal Services offers legal help to low income individuals in 20 counties in Northeast Pennsylvania and deals with civil issues such as: consumer, education, family, housing, utilities, elderly, employment, public benefits and domestic violence. During my internship, I assisted Mr. Macky by editing client correspondence and preparing briefs and memos. I had the opportunity to attend client interviews and various hearings at the Northumberland County Courthouse. My work also extended to helping to organize a fundraising event for the office, which was a great success.
My experience at North Penn was truly invaluable. I really enjoyed seeing the open connection that Mr. Macky had with his clients and how accessible he was to them. The internship definitely sparked my interest in getting involved in public service because I was able to see how the law truly extends to every person regardless of his or her circumstance, and it is important that these services continue to be available.
My legal career is just beginning. Post graduation, I plan to work at a law firm in the Washington, D.C., area to gain more work experience before attending law school. I leave Susquehanna knowing exactly what I want to do with my career and my internship through the Adams Center was a determining factor in deciding my future.
In my junior year, the Adams Center offered me an opportunity to intern with a national organization called Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which has offices in several of the local counties here in Central Pennsylvania. CASA’s primary mission is to work within the legal system to provide volunteer support to abused or neglected children caught up in the legal system, and aid the court in determining specifically what is in their best interest.
I was fortunate to make connections and gain hands-on experience in the legal field through my attendance at court hearings and my ongoing interactions with CASA volunteers, clients, foster families and members of the court work group. In the office, I typically worked to incorporate information contained in court petitions, orders and other data into CASA’s electronic database. In doing so, I became increasingly conversant with legal language and familiar with all types of legal documents and what each is intended to do. I was also responsible for making contact with various service providers in the area and obtaining clients’ school and medical records. As a part of my work for CASA this summer, I will be going on home visits to monitor kids’ status and interview their parents.
My internship provided a kind of learning experience that isn’t available to students in a traditional classroom setting. It definitely took patience, dedication and tough skin to deal with some of the situations I saw during my work with CASA clients this semester. Nevertheless, it enhanced my classroom education, giving me a chance to apply what I’ve learned in my psychology and legal studies courses to understand the real-world situations many of CASA’s kids and their families are facing. Seeing how the legal system works and how children navigate through it has inspired me to dedicate my future to kids who have suffered abuse and neglect. Moreover, the CASA internship has helped to reinforce my career plans to specialize in family law or to practice in the field of child psychology. Whichever path I take, I look forward to making a difference in the lives of children and teens so desperately need support and someone who cares.
Through the Adams Center at SU, I was able to secure an internship with the Snyder County District Attorney. The experience was of incalculable value. It gave me an opportunity to observe and, in many instances, participate in the daily dealings of individuals working in the legal profession and the justice system more broadly. Through my tenure as an intern at the district attorney’s office, I was able to observe both the rewarding aspects of a law career, as well as the more troublesome or stressful circumstances that may face a legal professional at any given point in time. As someone who intends to pursue a career in law, I was grateful for the opportunity to gain insight as to how the world of a legal professional unfolds on a daily basis.
My tasks at the district attorney’s office were varied, and each allowed me to get a look at the skills essential to a practicing attorney. Some of my work was office-based, such as researching legal cases pertaining to certain topics and writing briefs on these cases. I would also occasionally assist the District Attorney’s paralegal and secretaries with various tasks such as filing, paperwork and paper shredding. I was also responsible for a long-term research project throughout the semester in which I gathered data regarding all of the Snyder County DUI offenders from the years 2010 and 2011. I used this data to observe whether or not underage drinking offenses were a precursor for individuals who commited DUI offenses on a repetitive basis. The district attorney expressed the desire to in the future create a program which will target repeat DUI offenders based on my findings from this research project.
On days in which court proceedings were held, I was able to accompany the district attorney into the courtroom and view firsthand various proceedings including criminal trials, jury selection, bench hearings, bail revocation hearings and juvenile adjudication hearings. Also on a few occasions, I traveled with the district attorney to the office of District Judge Lori Hackenburg, where I observed a series of preliminary hearings. While all aspects of my internship were valuable, I felt that the observance of courtroom proceedings was of most value because it allowed for me to observe the formal rules and customs utilized throughout various court proceedings, and it allowed me to observe how legal professionals present themselves in a formal court setting.
Being selected as a scholar for the Arlin M. Adams Center has been one of the most monumental accomplishments of my academic career at Susquehanna University. The opportunities provided by the Adams Center have enabled me to utilize what I have learned in the classroom in real-life situations, and the hands-on experience I have gained through internships has given me a much more in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the legal process and all that it entails.
At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was selected to intern for the Snyder County District Attorney. Working in the DA’s office exposed me to a plethora of information and legal processes which ranged from attending treatment court proceedings to the prosecution of a 16-year-old homicide trial. In the latter case, I was responsible for compiling all the data pertaining to the homicide investigation and generating a summary of what happened based on the 700 pages of police reports. I learned a tremendous amount during this process. The direct exposure to law enforcement, judges and defense council was incredibly useful. By the end of my time in the district attorney’s office, I felt as though I could successfully prosecute a mock trial myself.
The intricacy of the legal process is often times skewed and inaccurately portrayed in textbooks, and the only way to see how our judicial system really works is to experience it first-hand. Without this internship, I would be steps behind where I am now, and the knowledge I have gained and experiences I have gained have made the perception of attending law school transition from being a frightening experience to an experience that I am looking forward to.
For this school year, I have been selected to intern for the Judge’s Chambers of the 17th Judicial District of Pennsylvania. I will be handling legal research, helping write court opinions and auditing files.
The Adams Center has done much to shape my career path. Overall, I would advocate an internships like this to any student who even has the slightest interest in law. The experience it provides is extraordinary, and with such a valuable resource at your fingertips, you would be doing a disservice to yourself to not take advantage of this great program.
The Adams Center has provided me with the opportunity to work with the 17th Judicial District Court of Common Pleas of Snyder and Union counties. This internship was invaluable as it gave me an inside look at the daily proceedings of a President Judge for the Court of Common Pleas. This unique access gave me the chance to see the interactions of Judges, Lawyers and Court Staff. These conversations were what gave me the best insight to how the various aspects of the law were carried out. I was able to observe various court proceedings from sentencings to malpractice trials. This internship was extremely helpful in determining what areas of law I would enjoy practicing. The relationships I made through this opportunity have helped me develop professionally and personally dealing with various county employees and lawyers from around the community.
Through this opportunity with the 17th Judicial District Court of Common Pleas of Snyder and Union counties I was able to be hired as an intern for the Public Defender’s Office for both Snyder and Union county. My association with the Adams Center internship program has been one of the most beneficial experiences I have had while at Susquehanna University. I am thankful for this opportunity and both Judge Sholley and Dr. Smyth for their time and patience in offering this professional experience.
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