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Internship: Penn State University Police
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Katelyn Basalla

Hometown: Port Matilda, PA
Major: Crime, Law, and Justice
Minor: Sociology

How did you learn about this opportunity?

One day while working diligently in the Penn State Auxiliary Police office, I was approached by, Stephen Shelow, the Assistant Vice President of Police & Public Safety at Penn State and he asked me if I ever thought about completing an internship for my Crime, Law & Justice degree. I proceeded to tell him I was looking into various local departments and the programs they had to offer, but did not start applying to any positions. After a few questions, I was then officially asked by Shelow to participate in the mentorship intern program at Penn State Police which was developed as a learning experience for students pursuing a career in law enforcement. I was extremely honored to be asked to participate in this wonderful opportunity and could not wait to start my internship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

As an intern at Penn State Police, I have been able to learn a great amount of useful law enforcement information. My internship shifts consisted of ride alongs with assigned patrol officers, working with Detectives in the Criminal Investigation Unit and communicating with the public in the dispatch center. I definitely learned something new on every shift and experienced police work in a very practical way. I was able to write traffic citations, write non-traffic citations, write warning cards, type incident reports, communicate over the radio, process evidence, fingerprint individuals, take pictures, observe roadside field sobriety tests, witness hospital procedures, transporting people to the county jail, sit in on interviews and feel the effects from pepper spray mist. I was also able to work various events on campus including the Jay-Z Concert, Kanye West Concert, State Patty's Day and the Blue & White Football Game. These were all interesting experiences because I was able to see all of these events from a police perspective. All of the Penn State Police employees turned this internship program into a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.

"I am very confident in my decision because my internship at Penn State Police helped me focus on a specific career path."

How did this experience impact you academically?

The best part about my internship experience was that I was able to learn in a hands-on setting compared to the everyday classroom lecture. I always felt like I was in the shoes of a police officer during my internship shifts which allowed me to obtain an immense amount of law enforcement knowledge. I was completely engaged in each incident I responded to and every case I helped investigate. I asked numerous questions because I viewed my assigned officers as my professors for the semester. I also had the chance to integrate my observations and acquired information into many different class assignments. I believe it is important to be able to participate in an internship opportunity, but it is just as important to relate the practical experiences to relevant coursework.

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

After graduation, I plan to continue to pursue a career in law enforcement as a police officer. I am very confident in my decision because my internship at Penn State Police helped me focus on a specific career path. I am also keeping my doors open to other exciting opportunities including: Liquor Control Enforcement, Parole & Probation, Corrections, and even Casino Security Departments. I have received an outstanding education here at Penn State and the completion of this internship will look excellent on any job application. This internship at Penn State Police could ultimately be the deciding factor between me and another candidate receiving a job offer for a department. My academic achievements range from in the classroom to in the real-world and I cannot describe how thankful I am to have been given the opportunity to be an intern at Penn State Police.

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