From Classroom to Courtroom: Internships at Work
For many college students, the most useful and memorable information doesn’t come from their time in the classroom, but rather from their hours spent gaining real-world experience completing an internship.
Students in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice are no different. This spring, there are several students from each major pursuing internships, both for the hands-on job experience and for college credit.
Dr. Carolyn R. Hanes, professor of sociology and criminal justice, and advisor to the department’s internship students, is quite familiar with the benefits her internship students receive.
“Internships can serve as a means of determining whether or not students really want to pursue the careers they think they are interested in,” Dr. Hanes said. “By working with people in the field students learn invaluable lessons concerning professionalism, requirements of the fields they are in, and the demands of their chosen occupations.”
Additionally, Dr. Hanes notes that students often gain invaluable networking opportunities from their time as interns and that sometimes this networking can even lead to job offers. Still, for those who are not offered immediate employment after graduation, internship supervisors are an excellent source for letters of recommendation and the experience itself can strengthen any résumé.
As far as internship placements go, the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice has had students enter into a wide variety of internship opportunities.
Currently, senior criminal justice majors Cody Davis and Jermaine McQueen are hoping to expand their real-world knowledge while working alongside detectives and police officers at Norristown Police Department and Swatara Police Department, respectively.
Similarly, Anthony Sorbin and Shaun Murphree, both senior criminal justice majors, have already gained valuable skills while interning at Lebanon County Probation. There, Sorbin works with adult offenders while Murphree focuses solely on juvenile probation. Some duties that both interns are responsible for include meeting with offenders, conducting drug tests, doing field visits, and attending court when necessary.
Though most of the graduating seniors have expressed interest in potentially gaining full-time employment at the agencies where they are completing their internships, others have expressed more long-term career goals.
“I’ve always wanted to be a special agent of some sort,” McQueen said.
While McQueen is aiming to be employed by a federal agency, such as the DEA, FBI, or Secret Service, Davis hopes to one day work for the Border Patrol or as a state trooper.
This semester, internships in the criminal justice field are popular. However, past sociology and criminal justice majors have also interned at organizations outside of the law enforcement field. For example, LVC students have completed internships at Adoptions from the Heart, the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center, and Lebanon Valley Health Services, along with more than 40 other agencies and organizations.
The ultimate goal, wherever the internship placement, is student growth beyond the classroom.
“I hope that students get hands on immersive experience in the fields they are interested in exploring as possible careers,” Dr. Hanes said. “I also work at getting students to integrate their academic experiences with ‘real-world’ experiences.”
Additional information regarding department internship opportunities or requirements can be found in the department suite, located on the second floor of the Administration Building/Humanities Center.
By Jess Coughlin, LVC 430 Feature Writing