Internship Experience at the Philadelphia DA’s Office [Guest Post: Amanda Iannuzzi]

First, allow me to introduce myself: My name is Amanda Iannuzzi, and I currently have a spring semester internship with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Currently, I am a senior, with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Biology. I know that you are probably thinking that this is a strange combination for a major and minor, but believe it or not, the two subjects are more related that one might actually think. There is an entire framework of criminological theories that focus on biological aspects of crime and deviance, and having a strong background in physiology, genetics, general and organic chemistry has made understanding these theories so much easier. Its adds a new depth of understanding that not many people can say they possess. In addition, it’s a great workout for each side of your brain!

So what led me to an internship at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office? Well quite honestly, I had never really put much thought into getting an internship before. With all the labs that were required for my science classes, my schedule was always jam packed; from my freshmen year all the way until the fall semester of my senior year, I had taken five classes, sometimes including an additional one or two labs. I barely had enough time for myself, let alone for an internship! However, as my senior year was approaching, I knew that I had to find a way to get some of that “real world” experience.

When classes started for the Fall 2012 semester, I caught up with a good friend of mine, also a Criminal Justice major, and she told me of how she was starting a semester long internship at the District Attorney’s Office. I was so excited for her because I knew what incredible exposure this would give her to the legal world. Being in the midst of law school applications at the time, I was preoccupied with all the work and studying I had to do. However, once the dust settled from my law school applications, I began to gain more information about the internship and apply. Applying for the DA’s Undergraduate internship is actually very simple; all you do is write a cover letter and send in your resume! You are then contacted if you are granted an interview, and in just a few short weeks, you’ll find out of you are accepted in the program! When I found out I got into the program, I was beyond excited! I had been informed of my acceptance to the internship in the same week that I found out that I had gotten accepted to my first law school! I felt so lucky to know that I would be able to get a firsthand look of the field that I wanted to go into.

R. Seth Williams, the current District Attorney serving the City and County of Philadelphia. Elected to his position in 2009, he is the first African American District Attorney in the history of the city

In the few weeks that I have been working, I have already gained so much knowledge and exposure to the world of the Criminal Justice system. However, you shouldn’t think for a second that only Criminal Justice or Sociology majors have a chance at getting the interns. People in the office, whether they are Assistant District Attorneys, paralegals or interns, all come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds.  Out of the two interns I work closely with, one is a Latin American Studies major and the other studies Political Science. Each of us brings something new to the table, and the skills that you might have can come in handy at a time when you wouldn’t expect it! If you find yourself interested in an internship that you might think does not apply to what you study, you shouldn’t let that discourage you! The sharing of knowledge and other ideas are critical in any work environment, especially at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. My advice: never be afraid to give it a shot. Don’t count yourself out because you think your major or coursework will set you back. Roll the dice, and see what comes up. You might be surprised with the results.

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