Vanessa Everson

Vanessa Everson

2014 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award


Interned at the Mendota Mental Health Institute

Majors: Psychology and Social Welfare with a certificate in Criminal Justice

Goals: I plan to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and hope to have a career as a Forensic Psychologist.

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Mendota Mental Health Institute. During my internship, I worked with the population of Wisconsin who were found Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Disease or Defect. I was able to work closely with various psychologists who were able to show me more about what goes into working with the forensic population.

Specifically, I worked on the Risk Assessment unit. When a patient is considered for a transition to lower security, a very thorough and intensive investigation has to be done in order to determine if the transition is safe. This involves weeks of interviews, evaluations, and report writing before the final recommendation can be made. I was able to do a lot of these interviews and reports independently, which was a very cool and unique experience for me as an undergrad.

Interning at Mendota has given me such valuable experience that I would not have been able to get anywhere else. Working with the psychologists allowed me to do things that I never thought I would be able to do as an undergrad! I had lots of interaction with the patients and got a valuable understanding of what goes into working with this segment of the forensic population. This summer has really reinforced my desire to pursue my PhD so that I can continue this type of work as a Forensic Psychologist.

I am extremely honored to be a recipient of the Audrey J. Harris award. This award helped relieve some of the financial burden of the summer and allowed me to fully commit myself to the work that I do here, allowing me to get the most out of my internship.