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Internship with State College Police Department
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Eshia Willingham

Major: Crimnology & Spanish
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Arlington, TX

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I heard about the internship program with the State College Police Department from several other Penn State students. There was also advertisement for it at my current job, Penn State Auxiliary Police.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My first day I was able to sit in on an arraignment for a court case. I did several ride-alongs which were eight hours each. I was on the day shift and the night shift. I thought it was interesting that the department did not use radar when detecting speed, but they used a more manual process. I attended criminal investigations (CI) with some of the detectives. During CI, I was able to search a couple of phones for incriminating evidence that the detectives were going to use to prosecute the suspects. I also attended a memorial service for police officers in the state of PA and the surrounding area.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I feel that the internship gave me a valuable real world experience. I learned more about police work than I would have in a lecture class. I was able to see first-hand what police work is like,which will help me because I want to work in this area after I graduate. This internship increased my knowledge of the criminal justice field and I hope to also use what I have learned in my classes in the fall. Most of the criminology professors were not police officers before they became professors so being able to get instruction and advice from actual officers will help me guide my studies and research in the future.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have wanted to be a police officer since the 8th grade because I believe that I have the ability to make my community a better place. [...] I am close to obtaining that goal.

I believe becoming a Penn State police office will help me learn how to become a great police officer in a safer environment and prepare me for when I transfer to a bigger city. I also would like to broaden my network and gain more knowledge about the field of law enforcement as it pertains to working with college students. Working closely with the officers and detectives at that department allowed me to see first-hand how police officers deal with calls in and around the State College area. This allowed me to become even more familiar with State College and will make for an easy and fast transition into the Penn State Public Safety Police Officer position. I also would like to continue my education as well. I have wanted to be a police officer since the 8th grade because I believe that I have the ability to make my community and the world a better place. Working for Penn State Police Department has been a goal of mine since my sophomore year of college and I am close to obtaining that goal.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend it if a student is staying in State College for the summer anyway, but I would strongly encourage interning at a bigger department. Other departments might pay and give the student more exciting experiences. I would highly encourage this internship if the student plans on working in this area after graduation.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

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