Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Major: Political Science

Minor: Complex Systems; Law, Justice, and Social Change

Internship Placement: Department of Justice Consumer Protection Branch


Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?

I have always wanted to do the Michigan in Washington program. I first learned about the program when I was researching colleges as a senior in high school, and it was one of the reasons that I applied to the University of Michigan! I chose to do the program because I wanted to try something new that would push me out of my comfort zone - professionally, academically, and personally. As a political science major with a passion for law, I have always imagined myself ending up in Washington, so the program was the perfect way for me to get to know the city and learn about the professional opportunities available here. 

What do you do during a typical day at your internship?

My day-to-day is always different. I am working on 6 cases right now, all in varying practice areas ranging from opioid abuse to complex international fraud to criminal cases against high-profile individuals and companies. Daily, the priority level of each case varies depending on what stage it is at in the litigation process. For one case, I have been conducting research to identify possible witnesses for the criminal investigation and analyzing similar undercover operations to assist the lead prosecutor in creating an undercover strategy. For another case, I have been translating emails and other discovery productions from Spanish to English to identify documents showing intent and knowledge of fraud. I am fortunate that my work is so substantive and directly impacts the case. The attorneys and paralegals at the Consumer Protection Branch care deeply about the professional development of the interns and want to make sure that interns get as much hands-on experience as possible. This mentoring environment, along with the flexible, ever-changing, and fast-paced nature of the work, has made this internship one of the best experiences I have had so far! 

What's something that you're proud of that you've done at your internship so far?

Since the internship program gives interns a lot of responsibility, I have been very proud of the projects I have worked on and the impact they have had on the cases. For a misbranded drug case, I researched patients who have had adverse reactions to this drug that could serve as witnesses in the grand jury and aid the criminal investigation. Since this was a very niche issue and there was limited information about adverse incidents, it was difficult to identify these patients. In addition, I had to keep in mind the case strategy and find victims whose demographics and stories would complement the prosecutor's messaging at trial. Despite these limitations, I was able to find a few individuals who had very compelling stories about what they had undergone as a result of this drug. The lead prosecutor contacted these people, and several of them have agreed to testify about their experiences. I am very proud that my work directly impacted such an important criminal case. 

How has your skillset evolved or changed since you began working on this internship?

Through this internship, I have furthered my legal and factual research skills as well as my ability to use databases like Relativity. My work at the CPB has also taught me how to handle a complex, dynamic workflow with ever-shifting priorities. I have also learned more about consumer protection law in several different areas, as well as the defensive litigation that the Branch handles. This internship has also enhanced my networking and interpersonal skills. The Branch places a heavy emphasis on mentorship, and interns are strongly encouraged to connect with attorneys to learn about their academic and professional experiences. At first, the idea of getting coffee with the sharpest legal minds in consumer protection was intimidating. However, I quickly realized how welcoming the directors, attorneys, and paralegals are. Networking with them every day has been one of the best parts of this internship. Learning from these professionals' vast expertise while working on substantive projects has solidified my commitment to attend law school and my passion for fighting for vulnerable populations through the law. 

What is one fun activity that you have done since being in DC?

I recently toured the Supreme Court! It was amazing sitting in the courtroom and learning about how the Court works. I highly recommend doing that if you are interested in law or history. I also toured the White House Gardens last week. The gardens are only open in the Spring and Fall, so be sure to keep an eye out for when they release the tickets. It was super cool being so close to the White House and seeing things like the White House Rose Garden and Michelle Obama's vegetable garden. 

What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington?

Absolutely do the program!! Everyone that I have talked to unequivocally describes MiW as one of the best decisions they have made at Michigan. It is scary leaving behind Ann Arbor, but living, interning, and studying in DC offers unparalleled professional, academic, and personal growth. Those involved with the program, such as Amber, Dr. Howard, and my MiW mentors, have been fantastic resources who are always ready to offer advice and have directly shaped my career ambitions. Through this program, I have made lifelong friends, both in the cohort and with other students I have met in DC. Although I had always wanted to live in DC and work in the government, MiW has cemented that dream and has provided me with the opportunities to make that a reality. I cannot recommend this program enough! 

I would also recommend that you apply to as many internships as possible, even ones you don't think you are qualified for! I didn't apply to several internships that interested me because I assumed I was not qualified for them. I almost didn't apply to the DOJ CPB for this reason! However, when I got my return offers, I realized that I was a much more competitive candidate than I had thought. It's essential to listen to your advisors and be confident in your abilities! You'll never know unless you try, and you might be the exact candidate they are looking for.