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Gaining Perspective Through Her Internship

Alyssa Rakowski graduated from AACC in May 2023, but returned to participate in the Criminal Justice Internship course. She was hoping to gain experience for potential future occupations and observe the forensics and criminal justice fields in action. She wanted to develop her knowledge about forensics technology and the techniques for examining a crime scene, but she learned much more than she expected.

Below she describes her internship experience in her own words.

My internship at the Annapolis Police Department was an amazing opportunity. I received a warm welcome and immediately felt comfortable. Everyone was extremely eager to respond to all of my questions and provided me with knowledge on what it's like to work in this field. I was rotated throughout the department so I could experience a variety of occupations and develop relationships with many people. Although I had a forensics-related interest, I also found the other units' work to be interesting. I've spent a lot of time riding along with police officers and traffic safety units, shadowing in the dispatch call room and watching forensics analyze shooting evidence. Working in law enforcement had many positive aspects, but I also discovered some negative aspects. I realized that this line of work could impact your mental health. The fact that this department prioritizes mental health and established a peer support group structure is among the reasons I enjoyed working with them. Here, they can discuss their experiences and how they make them feel with one another. I admire how they help one another and have this to promote good mental wellness for all. I myself was exposed to some dark things, therefore my supervisor also checked in about my mental health. That, in my opinion, was a very kind gesture.

Following the completion of my program, I intend to enroll in UMBC to earn a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. After that, I'm hoping to have the chance to complete an internship in a crime lab to further my experience for my career. Students pursuing Criminal Justice and Homeland Security should know that they should absolutely take part in an internship if they are thinking about doing so. I've gained many new skills and knowledge in such a short time, and you get to meet so many wonderful people who can point you in the direction of your career goals. The internship course was a terrific experience. It is extremely well organized and highly beneficial for landing a placement in an internship. Both the instructor (Dr. Senn-Carter) and the other students in the class consistently supported me. My experience in this course gave me a different perspective and convinced me that I would like to continue to pursue a profession in this field.