Department of Homeland Security: Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center
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Rachel Sorensen

Liberal Arts Major(s): Criminology
Minor: Sociology, Security Risk Analysis
Hometown: Montrose, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Summer 2021

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

I worked with the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center and completed research into the 2014 Peshawar Army School attack, including background investigation, motive, and risk analysis. This culminated in the creation of a research proposal and formal presentation to professional staff and supervisors.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This internship allowed me to continue exploring research while learning to combine theory with practical application. I also had the privilege to work with Penn State Harrisburg to obtain academic credit for the experience as well, and being able to meet Penn State faculty and staff beyond University Park helped me understand just how far the Penn State family reaches.

This internship allowed me to continue exploring research while learning to combine theory with practical application.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

I now have experience with the expectations for federal reports and research. As I worked with a partner, I also now understand how teamwork transfers into the workplace.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

Beyond the gift of enrichment funds, Penn State Harrisburg staff (specifically in the Homeland Security Program) were instrumental in my experience. Special thank you's to Alison Shuler and Dr. Alexander Siedschlag for their support and guidance.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

Being a Paterno Fellow meant that I was interested in pursuing this experience for academic credit. Because of this, I was able to meet and work closely with Dr. Siedschlag on a weekly basis to ensure that I was learning and growing throughout the summer. While the internship itself was incredibly influential, being able to obtain academic credit to fulfill a Paterno Fellow requirement was also much appreciated.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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