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Cook County State's Attorney's Office
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Brenna Fisher

Major: Criminology, Sociology
Minor: Military Studies
Hometown: Manassas, VA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I knew I wanted to work in Chicago this summer because I have always really loved the city, so I just started googling different internship opportunities for Criminal Justice in the Chicago area. The State's Attorney's Office came up, so I sent in my application. I called a few times to check up on my application in order to make sure it did not get left behind, since a Penn State student in Chicago may seem a little odd. The persistence paid off, and I got an offer in March!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Working for the State's Attorney's office was a great experience. I worked in one of the felony offices, so every morning I went to court with the attorneys I worked for. In the afternoon my tasks included entering data about cases into an online system, transcribing 911 calls, and summarizing case files for the attorneys. I got to sit in on murder trials, visit a medical examiner's office, and deal with evidence from felony cases as well.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this internship helped me work on managing my time because I worked 40 hours a week while still studying for the LSAT all summer. This is an invaluable skill and one that I am still improving upon as a senior. My experience this summer only further strengthened my ability to be a better student who can manage her time efficiently!

This experience was extremely beneficial because it helped me further solidify my desire to go to law school after graduation.

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

This experience was extremely beneficial because it helped me further solidify my desire to go to law school after graduation. Oftentimes, legal internships for undergraduates are few and far between, but this allowed me to see the justice system from a very hands-on angle. I enjoyed the work that I did this summer and hope to pursue a career in criminal law in the future.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. It was nice to get out of the Penn State bubble and work somewhere completely different for a summer - it forces you to adapt and learn in a new environment. Additionally, legal internships are the best way to determine if law school is actually the route you want to go. Law school is not an easy (or cheap) option, and it may not be for everyone, so this is a great way to make sure that it is the career you want before you apply!

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The Paterno Fellows Program emphasizes leadership, service, and internships, and this influence pushed me to make sure I had an internship this summer that would not only give me good resume experience, but also be one I was excited about and would enjoy! Furthermore, the enrichment funds provided to me by the College of the Liberal Arts and the Paterno Fellows Program allowed me to take an unpaid internship in a new city without worry about the cost of living. This was really helpful, and I am so thankful for that funding - it opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me!

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