SLCC Student Learns Valuable Legal Lessons in D.C. Intern Program

by October 8, 2012

Salt Lake Community College has launched an internship program to help connect students with a range of educational opportunities. The program is focused on providing students with internships in the Washington, D.C. area, but are not limited to political internships. Students select internships that align with their area of study; the College helps to facilitate the process of securing the internships.

Jacob Lauritzen finished an internship with the NAACP—the country’s oldest civil rights group. Lauritzen spent his summer walking by the White House everyday on his way to and from work. Lauritzen did a lot of quality research and writing about issues and causes he feels passionate about. He made real contributions to the lobbying and public relations efforts of one of the world’s most important civil rights organizations.

“The internship exceeded my expectations,” Lauritzen said. “It was amazing to get to work for the NAACP, and I had so many experiences that went beyond what I did for my internship. I got to do things that made my college experience that much richer.”

The Washington Bureau of the NAACP resides on the ninth floor of an office building that sits next to the French Embassy, just up the street from the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On his first day, Lauritzen got right to work. “They took me back to the wall of binders in the conference room and explained that I would be taking a current civil rights issue, researching it, and then putting it together in an executive summary,” he said. Laurtizen chose the topic of prosecutorial misconduct’.

Prosecutorial misconduct — is when prosecutors act less-than-honestly to win criminal cases —often result in court cases that end with defendants receiving decades-long prison sentences. Noting that he had never done such extensive research, Lauritzen found the range of tasks he had to perform to get the information he needed both challenging and rewarding.

“I was making phone calls to agencies all over the country gathering statistical data, speaking with judges, and even meeting with congressmen,” he said. “I was even invited to attend two Senate Judiciary Committee meetings.” Lauritzen was able to attend the historic impeachment hearings of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. He had conversations about legal matters, about education, and about civil rights issues with many of the leaders currently shaping policy and opinion.

Lauritzen participated in the kind of real-world opportunities he could never have had in a classroom or learned from a textbook. And he learned at the feet of experts, too. “If ever I had a legal question, one of the NAACP lawyers would sit down with me like a college tutor and conference with me,” he said. “When I had litigation questions, I could walk right in to Hilary Shelton’s office (Director of the N.A.A.C.P. Washington Bureau) and he would be happy to discuss it with me. Only once did he ever excuse me early and that was because he had a call from the White House Chief of Staff.”

The lesson that sticks with him most is that, “I can achieve anything as long as I’m willing to commit the time and effort to find the right resources.”

Salt Lake Community College is currently accepting applications for its Washington D.C. Internship program for the Summer 2013 semester. The internship usually lasts one semester. Applicants can be interest in pursuing internships in areas as diverse as politics, the FBI, art, aeronautics, and more. Students accepted into the program will receive interview training and may be eligible to receive a stipend to assist with some of the internship costs.

About the College: Salt Lake Community College is an accredited, student-focused,urban college meeting the diverse needs of the Salt Lake community. With more than 62,000 students enrolled each year, the College is the largest supplier of career and technical education programs in the State of Utah. The College is the sole provider of applied technology courses in the Salt Lake area, with 13 sites, an eCampus, and nearly 1,000 continuing education sites located throughout the Salt Lake valley. Personal attention from an excellent faculty is paramount at the College, which maintains a student-to-teacher ratio of less than 20 to 1.

For more information, contact Tim Sheehan at (801) 957-5090.

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