Ivonne Santana ’23 is a criminology major who recently served an intern in the Kings County Federal Court through the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program. Santana’s work was supported by the Carl Dennis Ignite Award, which allows students to avail themselves of professional experiences that might not otherwise be possible financially. The undergraduate reflected upon what the experience was like with Le Moyne's Office of Communications.
Office of Communications (OC): Can you start off by telling me a little bit about your internship site, for example, which office you were in, what they do or specialize in, what happens there?
(Ivonne Santana) This summer I had the amazing opportunity to work an intern at the Kings County Federal Court (Brooklyn, N.Y.). I wrote memos; attended court proceedings such as evidentiary and sentencing hearings and trials; and sat in the courtroom during the R. Kelly case. (That is honestly the highlight of my summer). Every day, the judge to whom I was assigned held different proceedings. I attended many of them to get a feel for what takes place in the U.S. court system. Overall, I learned a lot about how the federal court operates, especially how it handles national security issues.
OC: What were your primary responsibilities in your internship, or what was a typical day like for you?
(IS) Some of my responsibilities were to write memos on Social Security Administration cases and to read over some of the court’s past precedents. I also attended multiple hearings held by [judges throughout the court]. My favorite cases were the criminal proceedings because they focused on the area of law that I am most interested in pursuing. However, I also attended hearings related to class-action lawsuits and other civil procedures, I met with district attorneys, public defenders and judges to learn more about their jobs. I also spent a significant amount of time working with the law clerks.
OC: How would you complete this sentence: The best part of the internship was …
IS … getting to know the judge I worked for on a personal level and [observing] the R. Kelly case was fantastic. However, he biggest highlight of the internship, though, was meeting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It was a great experience.
OC: How did you change or grow over the course of your internship?
IS: This internship made me grow as an individual. I moved to New York City for two months and had to commute daily to the courthouse. [The internship] also gave me a clearer idea of what I want to do in the future and introduced me to different areas of the law that I never thought about before. Most important, this experience made me love law even more and I am so happy I was able to do it.
OC: What are your professional plans for the future?
IS: In the future I would love to be an attorney (a prosecutor, to be exact) and then to become a federal judge. My ultimate goal in life is to become a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
How would you finish this sentence: I hope to use my Le Moyne education to make the world …
IS: … a better living environment for the upcoming generations. My Le Moyne education has expanded my curiosity for the world. It has opened my eyes to the needs of the world and the endless opportunities to help others. A Jesuit education does mark a change in someone’s life and it has definitely impacted mine in so many ways. Le Moyne teaches you to think outside the box, to think about others … and the environment surrounding you.
This is part of a series of question-and-answer sessions with Le Moyne students who recently completed meaningful, transformative work as interns for a range of businesses, government entities and nonprofit organizations. For more information on finding an internship opportunity at Le Moyne, visit the Office of Career Advising and Development.