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GIVING BACK

Meghan Kellner, 2015 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award, interned at U.S. Probation and Pre-Trial Services.

I am a senior at UW-Madison majoring in Sociology and Social Welfare, with certificates in Criminal Justice and Global Health.

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services office in Madison, Wisconsin. My main task was to write pre-sentence investigation collaterals on individuals who have committed offenses in the Western District of Wisconsin. A collateral report can be written after I have requested and obtained the records for each offense. Even though most of my time was spent in the office working on collaterals, I was fortunate enough to be able to go out in the field multiple times with a Supervision Officer and do home visits with individuals who are currently on federal probation. Probation officers have to go to court to recommend conditions for the defendants, and I was able to sit in on many different types of hearings. I also had the opportunity to sit in on presentence and bail interviews, which probation officers often times carried out in the jail. I really enjoyed sitting in on interviews with different probation officers because they all approach the same task very differently.

The days I went out and did home visits were definitely my favorite and the most memorable days of my internship. I loved the interaction with clients, and for me it was very eye opening. After talking with the individuals who are on supervision, I really began to understand what it was like to be in prison and now on supervision, and the challenges they face in the community. I began to realize the importance of a positive support system, and how much the area they reside in truly affects their behavior. So many of the things I learned in my internship were things that I have read about in my classes, but it meant so much more to me when I saw it first hand.

My experience here at US Probation has exceeded my expectations. The amount of knowledge I have learned, and experience I have gained, is far beyond what I could ever learn in a classroom. I loved being able to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work. Everyone at this agency is passionate about the work they do, and that alone made this internship experience one of a kind.

I am extremely grateful and honored to be among the recipients of the Audrey J. Harris Internship Award. This financial support allowed me to fully commit myself to my internship at the US Probation and Pretrial Office in Madison.