Nicole Valk

Nicole Valk

2013 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award


Interned at the Department of Justice’s Criminal Litigation Unit

Majors: Legal Studies and Sociology with a Certificate in Criminal Justice

Goals: I plan to go on to law school to pursue a career in criminal law.

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Criminal Litigation Unit at the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The Assistant Attorney Generals in the Criminal Litigation Unit perform a number of important functions involving criminal-related matters, such as prosecuting selected criminal violations, sexual predator commitments and providing training and advice to state prosecutions and law enforcement officials. In addition, they work as “special prosecutors” on referral cases from district attorneys around the state, usually for complex crimes (homicide, white-collar, etc.) that require additional assistance and access to greater resources and technology.

As an intern, I worked directly with the Assistant Attorney Generals in the office and assisted them with legal research, writing briefs and drafting of other legal documents. I also had so many great opportunities to attend various trials, sentencing hearings and other events with the attorneys, as well as meet a variety of professionals within the legal field. This summer, I was lucky to witness a lot of high-profile trials as well, so it was never a dull day in the office!

My internship was a great way to end my undergraduate career at UW-Madison. I learned so many things and had valuable hands-on experiences that will be very beneficial to me in the future. I cannot say enough good things about my experience with the Department of Justice or the people that I met and worked with this summer. This internship truly reinforced my desire to pursue a career in law, specifically as a criminal prosecutor.

I am extremely honored to be a recipient of the Audrey J. Harris award. This award helped alleviate some of the financial burden this summer so that I could really get the most out of my internship. I would like to thank the Audrey J. Harris family, the Criminal Justice Certificate Program and everyone at the Department of Justice for really making these past few months such a rewarding and unforgettable experience.