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Internship: PA Office of the Attorney General
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Caitie Bernson

Hometown: Mountain Lakes, NJ
Major
: Crime, Law, and Justice

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I heard about this experience from the Criminal Justice office through their news and announcement emails. I talked to a friend who participated in this program before and decided to apply.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

As a non-legal intern at the PA Office of the Attorney General-Bureau of Consumer Protection, I had the responsibilities to mediate consumer complaints that were filed with our office. These complaints were sent when consumers believed that they were treated wrongly by a business or if they believed the business was participating in bad or fraudulent behaviors. From here, we would investigate the claims to see what we could do further for the consumer. On a typical day, I contacted consumers about their complaints, sent out letters, investigated the business, and even alerted participating parties of changes in the complaint. I then tried to mediate the situation so that both parties were satisfied with the outcome. This was a great experience because I was doing important work and investigating consumer claims for the office.

"This internship has allowed me to become a more rounded professional in this field, as I now have experience working with classified government documents and handling my own case files."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Overall, this internship has been more rewarding that I originally expected. For one, I was able to plan my days and hours of my internship around my classes. All majors are accepted into this program, so I did not use direct skills I learned in my criminology courses. Instead, as an intern you must have good interpersonal skills. From this experience alone, I have noticed a great difference in my overall communication skills—whether written or oral—as I have gained insight in negotiating and listening, and have been able to eliminate any nerves while talking to individuals. Secondly, this internship has allowed me to manage my time and become more organized, which has definitely helped me academically. As a mediator, multiple complaint files are assigned to us to manage and resolve. From this, I have become more prepared, organized, and have learned to management my time better. All of these transferable skills allowed me to become more successful in my courses.

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

For my future, I hope to work for the government or a large corporation and help investigate situations. I have always been interested in security and criminal justice, so any path that will allow me to do that is currently my goal. While I don’t have concrete plans for after graduation, at the moment, I know this is the course of action I would like to take. The internship alone has been very beneficial—for a related career or even for a career outside of this filed—since I have gained so much out of my experience. My new communication skills will be beneficial in any career. I have become a stronger writer, communicator, negotiator, and team player. In another sense, this internship has allowed me to become a more rounded professional in this field, as I now have experience working with classified government documents and handling my own case files. Any career choice will see this and know that I am an honest and trustworthy candidate.

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