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.