Brandon Azzolina

2019 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award


Interned with the WI Public Defender – Investigations Unit

I’m going into my senior year at UW-Madison and will be graduating in May of 2020. I’m studying Psychology and Criminal Justice. Post-graduation, I hope to pursue a job within the field of law enforcement.

This past 2019 summer, I interned at the Wisconsin State Public Defender (SPD) within their investigative unit. My time at the SPD has impacted me in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined. I’ve interacted with some extraordinary people this past summer. From everybody at the SPD; the attorneys, investigators, client service specialists, and all the support staff to clients and various other law professionals. Personally, my job consisted of interviewing clients and witnesses as well as serving subpoenas and photographing crime scenes. The thing about working for an office like the SPD is that I know that I’m making a difference in people’s lives. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you’re listening to somebody’s story and they tell you that you’re the only person who has given them the time of day. Feelings like this were common throughout my summer and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to experience them.

I know this experience will impact me for years to come. I’ve developed my professional and interpersonal skills. I’ve gained a lot of confidence from navigating challenging situations on a regular basis. This experience has taught me more about the criminal justice system than I could’ve ever imagined. I will always hold this experience near and dear to me.

If I hadn’t received the Audrey J. Harris Award, I don’t know if this past summer would have been possible. The assistance I received from this award allowed me to fully immerse myself into my internship. I didn’t have to worry about things like how I was going to cover rent or pay for groceries but instead could focus my energy on helping my community and growing as a person. Thank you to the family of Audrey J. Harris for funding my summer internship, I could not have done it without you!