Cumberland County District Attorney's Office, Criminal Investigative Division
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Catherine Farber

Liberal Arts Major(s): Criminology, Sociology
Minor: German
Hometown: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Summer 2021

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

I shadowed the lead detective for Cumberland County, John Mays. We conferred with the DA's office often and investigated anything that they asked us to. I spent time with every detective that I worked with and got to understand their specific role, since each of them specialized in different types of cases. Outside of detective work, I was also able to sit in on different types of courts, including a homicide trial, miscellaneous court, MDJ hearings, and Together Optimizing Mental Health Solutions (TOMS) court.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, I feel that this internship has prepared me for the upper-level Criminology and Sociology classes that I will take. Having hands-on experience in the criminal justice and criminal law world will allow me to better understand advanced theories as well as apply them to real life. I did most of my general education courses during my first and second years, meaning my last two years will involve mostly major classes. This internship helped me get hands-on experience that I can apply to those courses.

"Having hands-on experience in the criminal justice and criminal law world will allow me to better understand advanced theories... [and] apply them to real life."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

A large part of my goals for this internship was to be exposed to as many different areas in the criminal justice field as possible. I feel that I met that goal and then some. I spent days with the District Attorney's Office, Pennsylvania State Police, probation, victim services, the sheriff's office, and in the forensic lab. After those experiences, I have a better idea of what I am most interested in and would like to pursue once I graduate from Penn State.

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.)?

I applied for this internship separate from the College of the Liberal Arts, but once I found out that it was going to be unpaid, I realized that I needed financial help to be able to participate in it. I asked my advisor, Heather Corley, about any financial opportunities that Penn State or the College of the Liberal Arts offered and she directed me to the Career Enrichment Network. It was there that I found the opportunity to gain funding for this experience. I was also selected for another grant specifically from the Department of Sociology and Criminology.

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