Internship Highlight with Kait Gifford ’21

Internships are one of the main forms of experiential learning experiences offered at Roanoke College and within the psychology department. Each semester, our department sends students to work with various different organizations, across a number of fields or professions within psychology, to gain exposure to the field and to share their experiences with the department and other students on campus.

While COVID-19 has come with many challenges, this semester, many internships were able to resume, allowing one student, Kait Gifford ’21, to gain an internship that allowed her to overlap her two academic areas of interest, psychology and criminal justice. Specifically, this semester, Kait Gifford has been interning with the Salem Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Continue reading to learn more about this experience and what Gifford does during this internship.

Can you tell me more about your internship?

At my internship, I have gotten to review past and current criminal cases here in Salem. I pretty much have free range over the case files including any important videos from the crime scenes, witness statements, and any other supporting documents which is very interesting and exhilarating. After I have reviewed the cases, I report what I have learned back to the Commonwealth Attorney and we discuss the pertinent portions of the cases and what would be relevant at trial.

What drew you to interning at the Commonwealth Attorney?

I was actually recommended to this internship by Interim Chief of Campus Safety, Joe Mills. I am a student dispatcher at Campus Safety and I knew that I wanted to have an internship that combined psychology and criminal justice. I want to go into Forensic Psychology, and I felt that this internship would give me a better handle on some of the legislative principles of the field, while also allowing me to apply what I have learned through my psychology courses at Roanoke.

What does a normal day look like for you?

For the most part, I spend the majority of my time at my internship pouring over the case files. However, I also sit in court and watch court proceedings and trials in addition to talking to the people that work in the different aspects of the court system. I feel that this has been particularly interesting and beneficial for me because everyone takes different paths, so it is interesting to hear how some of the essential people to the courts have made it to where they are today.

Thanks again to Kait Gifford ’21 for sharing this experience, and if you are interested in completing an internship, you can reach out to the psychology department’s internship director, Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand, as well as check out the Psychology Departments, and Career Services websites for more information and resources.

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