Grant Recipient: Eliana Theodorou ‘12
Major: Sociology, Environmental Studies
Organization: Special Victims Bureau, Queens District Attorney’s Office
Location: Brooklyn, NY
This summer, I am working as an intern in the Special Victims Bureau of the Queens District Attorney's Office. The Special Victims Bureau handles all rape and sex crime cases, child abuse cases, and elder abuse cases. Because of the sensitive and especially traumatic nature of the crimes the Bureau handles, assistant district attorneys must not only be skilled at handling a trial but also sensitive and able to work with people during what is likely the most difficult event that has occurred in their lives. Just observing the ADAs at work has been an incredible learning experience. In addition, though, all of the interns in my bureau attend bi-weekly lectures; on Tuesdays, one of the ADAs from the Special Victims Bureau talks about some aspect of their work--some of the topics have included the sex offender registry, how to interview a child, how to take a non-coercive videotaped confession, and how to pick a jury--, and on Thursday, all of the interns in the entire DA's office gather for a lecture from an ADA from a different bureau each week, so we can all learn a bit about what other bureaus do. The DA's office is great about really letting interns learn and observe--this is definitely not an unpaid job type of internship--and we often get to go sit in on trials and sometimes even go with ADAs as they go out to a crime scene. Specifically, I've been doing a lot of research for an ADA's law review article about prosecuting shaken baby syndrome, as well as transcribing lots of interviews and phone calls. So far the internship has been a great experience. The internship has also demonstrated to me that Wesleyan, (and especially the sociology major!), prepares students for the combination of skills required to be an ADA in the Special Victims Bureau--or to work as a lawyer with any vulnerable, oppressed, or exploited population. This type of work requires excellent logical reasoning and critical analysis skills, writing skills, as well as extreme compassion and the ability to understand the situations of others.