As part of a multidisciplinary effort to increase student involvement in social justice initiatives, four Medgar Evers College students have completed a summer internship program in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office where they learned what it takes to become an attorney from some of the borough’s top prosecutors.
The internships were part of the new Community Justice Program, which combines aspects of the Brooklyn D.A.’s reentry and diversion programs with programs offered by the College and creates additional opportunities for students interested in law and social justice.
Nathalie Duton, 21, Landry Sen, 20, Lissette Ortiz, 20, and Omalola Marsh, 24, received a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day realities of working in a prosecutor’s office. The students worked in the appeals, early case assessment and domestic violence bureaus, among others, playing a role in reviewing and analyzing cases.
“The Medgar Evers students in our internship program were outstanding,” said District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, who spoke with the students about the day-to-day challenges faced by law enforcement. “We wanted them to see how prosecutors make tough decisions each day in our pursuit of justice and our commitment to public safety.”
“Our students had a rich and rewarding summer learning firsthand the intricacies of our legal system,” said Medgar Evers College President Dr. William L. Pollard. “This internship solidified their dreams of careers in law and is another important component of our ongoing partnership with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.”
Each intern had responsibilities that included interviewing victims of crime, witnesses and police officers involved in arrests; sitting in on court proceedings, including trials and hearings; and handling other aspects of real-life court cases. “Interviewing the officers and witnesses was most important in building confidence,” said Landry Sen, who is an active member of the Medgar Ever College Pre-Law Society.
All four students of this inaugural class of interns said they are considering law school as the next step in their academic careers. “It was a great experience, especially with me being a minority,” said Omalola Marsh. “Medgar Evers College and the District Attorney’s Office created a great partnership, and hopefully we can expand in the future.”
Under the auspices of the Community Justice Program, a new workshop series will be offered at Medgar Evers College during the fall semester. Entitled “Problem Solving Justice: The Criminal Justice System as an Agent of Social Change,” the workshops will be taught by First Assistant District Attorney Anne Swern and Counsel to the District Attorney Lance Ogiste.
The first session is scheduled for Thursday, September 22, from 2 – 4:45 p.m. at 1150 Carroll Street in Brooklyn, in room CM6. Additional sessions will be offered later this fall.
“Working with these four ambitious students was a pleasure,” said Ogiste. “They were dedicated to learning the ins and outs of the District Attorney’s Office and the responsibilities entailed, and they performed their assignments with great ability.”
Medgar Evers College interns with Brooklyn D.A. Charles J. Hynes (from l to r): Nathalie Duton, Omalola Marsh, DA Hynes, Lissette Ortiz, Landry Sen.
Medgar Evers College was founded in 1970 through the efforts from educators and community leaders in central Brooklyn. The College is named after Medgar Wiley Evers, a Mississippi-born black civil rights activist who was assassinated on June 12, 1963. The College is divided into four schools: The School of Business; The School of Professional and Community Development; The School of Liberal Arts and Education; and The School of Science, Health, and Technology. Through these Schools, the College offers 29 associate and baccalaureate degree programs, as well as certificate programs in fields such as English, Nursing, and Accounting. Medgar Evers College also operates several co-curricular and external programs and associated centers such as the Male Development and Empowerment Center, the Center for Women’s Development, the Center for Black Literature, and The DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy.