This spring, State’s Attorney Jerry Brady’s office hosted their first high school intern. Mary Sherman, a student at Richwoods High School in Peoria, joined the State’s Attorney’s office two days a week after school. The office was no strangers to interns. Office Administrator Julie Dickerson says, “We try to have two or three interns ever semester, but in the past, we’ve only had college students and students studying law. Mary is our first high school intern.”
Initially, the State’s Attorney’s office was somewhat nervous about having a high school intern. “We deal with a lot of sensitive information and we didn’t know what to expect at first,” says Dickerson. “We have to gauge the individual and learn more about them. Mary did an excellent job… She’s a very mature young adult.”
Mary shared that the internship was very rewarding for her. “Everyone was so nice. They were always willing to teach me how to do things, and they were very kind and encouraging.” Her time at the State’s Attorney’s office gave her new insight to what it’s like to be a lawyer, which helped her make decisions about her education. “It helped me to realize that I don’t want to be a lawyer. I’m glad to know that now, instead of after I’ve gone to college.”
Dickerson reported that the biggest challenge was making sure there was always something for Mary to do. “You don’t want them to be bored or think there not trusted, but we were almost always able to figure out a back-up plan if we needed to.” Overall, Dickerson said that it was very helpful to have Mary there. “It’s nice when we can push something aside because I know that Mary will be here in the afternoon.”
As part of her internship, Mary had the opportunity to observe a few felony trials. Mary said, “it definitely puts you our of your comfort zone, but it was very interesting to see. [The trials] are not like they are on TV. It doesn’t happen that fast.”
Overall, the State’s Attorney’s office was very pleased with their experience hosting Mary. Dickerson reported that it was a very rewarding experience for both her and Mary. “If you can help a young person make their decisions for education, I think that’s important,” she says. “It’s great to be able to give them hands on experience to help make decisions.” Dickerson also added that they do plan on hosting more GP Works interns in the future.
Agreeing with Dickerson, Mary says that high school internships are a great opportunity for students. “It’ll just help you feel more confident in your career path or decide you want to change your career path before you’ve invested the time and money into a degree.” She adds that she hopes more employers will create internships for high schoolers. “We’re really eager and ready to please; we want to add to our resumes!”