Carissa DeLain

2019 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award


Interned at Division of Criminal Investigation in the Appleton Field Office

I will be starting my second year at UW-Madison this fall and I will be graduating in May of 2021 with majors in Political Science and Legal Studies and a certificate in Criminal Justice. After graduation, I plan to attend law school to become a prosecutor, hopefully near my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. My ultimate goal is to become a district attorney and then a circuit court judge. 

This summer, I have had the incredible opportunity to work for the Division of Criminal Investigation in the Appleton Field Office. DCI is a part of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and the special agents who work for DCI are charged with investigating crimes of statewide nature or importance. Over the course of my internship, I have performed a wide range of tasks, from basic data entry to assisting with search warrants, and I was also given opportunities to accompany agents in court and on operations. I was able to personally observe many of the concepts that I have learned about in school, which provided me with a deeper understanding of what I have learned. I chose to apply to DCI this summer because I wanted to see what the investigative process looks like before it reaches a prosecutor, as this knowledge will benefit me in my future career. I certainly learned more than I could ever have imagined through this internship and made connections that will benefit me for the rest of my life. 

Going into this internship, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I had only finished one year of college and was the office’s youngest intern ever at 19 years old. I did not think I knew enough or had enough experience to be qualified, and I was worried that I would be a nuisance to the agents rather than helpful. However, once I started my internship I quickly realized that I was there because they wanted me to be, and they were happy to teach me whatever I needed to know. I was able to develop professionally this summer because the nature of my internship required me to gain the confidence to approach professionals in the criminal justice field and ask for opportunities, and because the agents I worked with genuinely wanted to help me be successful and learn as much as I could. I now feel much more prepared to enter the workforce when I graduate as a direct result of this internship. Additionally, I was able to meet many attorneys in the area that I am hoping to eventually work in, which was not only a great learning experience but also an excellent networking opportunity for my future career. 

Overall, this internship has impacted me in ways that will affect me for the rest of my life. I have gained so much confidence in myself and feel much more prepared to be a professional in the criminal justice field. I truly do not believe that I would have been able to learn and develop as much as I did without the financial support of the Audrey J. Harris Award because I was able to fully dedicate myself to my internship and take every opportunity I could rather than having to schedule my internship around another summer job. I am deeply grateful and honored to be a recipient of this award because it allowed me to fully engage in my internship to learn as much as I could, which will in turn make me more successful in my future profession. I sincerely hope that I can pay this kindness forward one day.