Minors: Human Development and Family Studies, Criminal Justice, and Cognitive Science
What was your internship or co-op and how did you find it? I was an intern at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Willimantic last semester, where I worked mainly with the intake department. I am minoring in Crime and Justice, which means I am required to complete an internship in a criminal justice setting. I found this opportunity with the help of my advisor and through the list of past CJ-internship experiences.
What was a typical day on the job like? There really was no typical day at the DCF, because the intake division always kept me busy. Some days I would be in the office for hours, combing through case history narratives or on the phone with Child Protective Services in other states to create a complete background summary for the current report. Other days I would barely set foot in the office, because I’d be on the road with the social workers conducting home visits across Eastern Connecticut. Scheduled in to those days would also be considered removal meetings, training sessions, meetings with the Human Anti-Trafficking Response Team (HART), legal consults, and more. Every day brought its own adventures!
What was your favorite part of the experience? My favorite part of the experience was participating in home visits. Although it initially felt invasive to show up at people’s homes unannounced, the social workers I shadowed had great rapport with existing case participants and modeled respect and open-mindedness in new environments. With the help of the DCF social workers, I gained confidence in my own clinical skills by interacting with individuals of all different backgrounds. I was also able to better understand the issues facing rural communities by attending so many home visits, and felt like I had the skills to make a difference. Stepping outside of my comfort zone in this way allowed me to better understand myself, my community, and the resources available.
What advice or encouragement do you have for other students looking to take advantage of similar opportunities?
I would advise other students to jump on opportunities like this! Interning with a large organization like the DCF provided me with ample opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally. It also helped to solidify my future career path as a social worker, as well as prepared me for a graduate-level education. Completing an internship is a great way to gear yourself toward graduation. I would also recommend researching internship opportunities sooner rather than later– the more time you have to connect with potential organizations, the more prepared you’ll be to make a decision.