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During this year’s January Term (J-Term), several students chose to participate in off-campus internships during the three-week period between the fall and spring semesters. From working at law offices and financial institutions, to interning at the Indiana State House and various medical centers, Trailblazers completed a variety of hands-on internship opportunities!

“These experiences are so beneficial because students get to strengthen skills that aren’t regularly taught directly in school–they learn to self-advocate and connect with people in our greater community,” said Director of College Counseling Maddy MacAllister. 

“What I also love about internships is that students can sometimes experience an internship that they don’t love and it helps with not pursuing that as a potential major before they even go to college.”

Senior Jaclyn Copeland’s interest in the medical field led her to complete an internship at The Surgery Center of Carmel. The center focuses exclusively on outpatient surgery in the specialties of gastroenterology, podiatry, orthopedics, and others. 

“I’ve always wanted to get some experience shadowing and working in the medical field,” said Jaclyn. “It’s hard to get involved when you’re not in college or a medical student, but with my internship I was able to get some hands-on experience, including working with patients–which is a huge part of medicine.”

Each day, Jaclyn arrived at her internship early to assist with the morning rush of patients. She worked primarily in the post-op unit where she helped nurses with a variety of tasks, including patient charting, helping patients move around the facility, and preparing supplies needed for the next day’s surgeries. She’ll return to The Surgery Center of Carmel this summer for a paid internship position. 

“My internship definitely reinforced that I want to pursue a career in the medical field,” said Jaclyn. “I was trying to figure out if that was something I really wanted to do because it’s eight years of school, but getting the experience of working with patients reaffirmed that I want to do it.”

Juniors Hamza Raddad and Scarlett Fisher pursued internships in the areas of politics and law, respectively. Hamza completed his internship working at the Indiana State House under Sen. Fady Qaddoura, District 30 where he conducted research for housing policies. He also accompanied Sen. Qaddoura at committee meetings where he observed senators discussing policies, as well as testimony from members of the community. 

“My favorite part was getting to sit in on committee meetings and hear testimony from ‘real life’ people,” said Hamza. “This is what politics is really about–catering to constituents and hearing what their needs are.”

During his time at the Indiana Senate, Hamza was the only non-college-aged intern working for Sen. Qaddoura. Looking ahead, he plans on pursuing a law-related internship this summer. 

“I was already interested in politics, and now I really want to pursue it as a career,” said Hamza. “Leading up to it, I think I’d like to do law to set myself up for getting into politics.”

Student Scarlett Fisher was drawn toward the law career field when she interned at the Ohio Justice and Policy Center in Cincinnati where she worked for Executive Director David Singleton. OJPC is a nonprofit law firm that offers a spectrum of legal services, programs, and resources to navigate the complexities of the criminal legal system. The firm has provided free legal service to Ohioans since 2002.

“I want to be a human rights lawyer and at the OJPC, I was given important work reading through court transcripts,” said Scarlett. “One of the main things I did was look for exculpatory evidence, which is evidence that was withheld from the defense during the trial and could potentially change the outcome of the case. It was a lot of reading, but it was worth it.”

Like Hamza, Scarlett was the only high school student interning at the organization, where she worked alongside law school students.

“They would talk about the stress of preparing to take the bar exam. So, hearing about their experiences was a good eye opener.” 

Scarlett also had the opportunity to sit in on arraignments and a parole hearing. 

“It was for a man who had been convicted and been in prison for over 20 years and he actually got on parole, so he’s free,” said Scarlett. “He’d started his own organization in prison, he took college credit classes; the growth he’d shown was immense. It was actually my last day [at the internship]–it was incredible.” 

“I just think if you open your mind, you can be surprised by the growth that you see in people. For me, these are still human beings and they deserve civil treatment and justice.”

This summer, she will be interning at the Cincinnati Citizen Complaint Authority. 

Trailblazers who are interested in participating in an internship during J-Term must attend a meeting during the registration period, which takes place in the spring semester of the year prior. Students are required to submit an application, which includes a pre-evaluation from their mentor, as well as a written piece about why they want to intern. 

The Student Internship option has been an educational opportunity at University for the past 20 years. It is offered to junior and senior students. Participants are graded on daily evaluations, a site visit from the college counselors, and a supervisor evaluation. They must complete 90 hours at their internship. 

“Internships are definitely not for everyone,” said MacAllister. “They require a lot of hard work, responsibility, and maturity, but they are also super fun and students learn a lot about themselves.” 

The informational meeting for internships during the 2024 J-Term will be held in April, prior to class registration for the 2023-24 school year.