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GIVING BACK

Brenna Van Maren, 2013 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award, interned at the Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation.

MAJORS: Legal Studies major with dual certificates in Criminal Justice and Gender & Women's Studies

GOALS: Obtain a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice/Crime Analysis and go from there!

This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to intern at the Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). DCI Special Agents are sworn law enforcement officers and investigate crimes of statewide importance, such as arson, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), homicide, public integrity, and more.

My internship experiences in DCI have gone above and beyond my expectations. I was prepared to have a lot of time in the field, have one-on-one time with agents, learn how to use report writing systems, shoot firearms, attend an autopsy, and attend training sessions with agents. I have had the chance to do all of the above, as well as learn various forensic techniques, attend a fatal call with a local sheriff’s department, help out first hand with ICAC search warrants (searching rooms, cataloging evidence, being in charge of the evidence spreadsheet), help out with aerial surveillance in a military issued airplane, attend court trials and pre-trial hearings, assist an Assistant Attorney General with voir dire processes, and MORE.

I learned about the various systems and programs DCI uses to conduct their investigations, as well as the procedures used during investigations. A lot of the experiences I had in the field or in the courtroom were very complimentary to classroom learning, and these “Aha!” moments were most memorable. For example, it is one thing to read about voir dire, mistrials, search warrants, subpoenas, or plea hearings, but to experience these events first hand is much more appreciated.

I am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the Audrey J. Harris award. This award not only helped to support me throughout my internship, but also reinvigorated my lifelong passion to become a federal agent and make a difference in the lives of others.