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GIVING BACK

Kellen McCarthy, 2017 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award, interned with the Department of Corrections - Division of Community Corrections.

I am a senior at UW Madison and I will be graduating in May of 2018 with a Major in Microbiology and a Criminal Justice Certificate. It is my plan to attend law school following undergraduate school or attend the Police Academy with the long-term goal of becoming a Detective.

This summer I had the honor of working with the Department of Corrections, Community Corrections Probation and Parole in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. I had the pleasure of working with multiple Probation and Parole Agents all summer as well as many clients on their caseloads. I was able to really dive into the work of a Probation and Parole agent, conducting intakes of new clients, assisting in Pre-Sentence Investigations, writing revocation summaries, visiting the jail, and attending court. This internship allowed me to experience multiple agencies within the criminal justice field and ensured me that this line of work is my passion. I am ready to use the knowledge and skills that I learned throughout this summer to teach others about the criminal justice field and better the community around me as a progress into a career.

During the past 10 weeks I learned about the roles and responsibilities of a Probation and Parole Agent and how they fit into the criminal justice system. I was able to observe the way their agency works with many other agencies in order to ensure the safety of the community, while also encouraging a positive reintegration into society for criminal offenders in the Madison and Sun Prairie area. Throughout this learning process, I was able to take the book knowledge and finally apply it in the real world. I came across situations that challenged my mind and twisted my emotions on a regular basis. There were many times where I would read a case file before meeting a client and I would hate their crime, but come to learn that one instance does not define a lifetime. I found myself learning to analyze what led to their criminal actions rather than judge for that single instance alone. Throughout the internship I was able to build a case plan for each individual I met and as long as our clients put forth the effort to improve their own lives and take responsibilities for their past actions, our agency would see a vast amount of success with those we worked with. I was given the opportunity to see the positive impact that Probation and Parole Agents have on those they serve. It was amazing to see the progression of clients who came in hating their agent, but months later appreciative of everything they did for them. Having the chance to work for an agency where I got to work with people everyday and experience something new everyday kept everything fresh and exciting. Seeing how I could positively impact the surrounding community on a daily basis was beyond what I expected from this experience. It showed me that having passionate people, willing to work hard and dedicate themselves to serving those in the system is vital to the success of the Department of Corrections.

I am honored to be one of the recipients of the Audrey J. Harris Award, and am so grateful for the opportunities that it has given me. Being an out of state student, this scholarship allowed me to spend more time working for the Department of Corrections without having to worry about saving up the extra money from a second summer job in order to fund my senior year at UW Madison. I want to personally thank the Audrey J. Harris family for their support and for their support of my peers as we strive to be great in all that we do, especially within the criminal justice field. The generosity that comes from your investment in my education will never be forgotten and I will forever be thankful.