MURRAY, Ky. — After growing up watching attorneys on television, Olivia Graff was finally able to experience the thrills of a courtroom without a screen separating her from the action.

This past summer, Graff was one of three students selected for an internship with the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. The senior from Murphysboro, Illinois, is a criminal justice student in the College of Education and Human Services at Murray State University.

A typical week for Graff mirrored one of an attorney: attending court sessions, interviewing clients and organizing case files. By working alongside lawyers in Calloway, Marshall and Graves counties, she was afforded many opportunities to expand her professional network.

“Working with the Department of Public Advocacy meant that I would be able to work with people from a variety of criminal justice agencies,” Graff said. “I knew this would provide me with the opportunity to learn and observe the legal system from an inside point of view that most do not get.”

That new perspective included touring county jails, interacting with judges and sitting at the defense table during court cases.

Interning with the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy continued to ignite Graff’s passion for the field, which initially began in an Introduction to Criminal Justice class she took at Murray State during her freshman year.

“I genuinely enjoy learning how laws come to be, how they apply to present day settings and just how different the real-life legal system is from what we portray it to be,” Graff said.

Graff credits the University for providing the skills needed to excel in her internship.

“With all that Murray State has to offer, I have gained not only leadership experience, but also many friendships, time management skills and so much more that I would not have had otherwise,” Graff said.

After graduation, Graff plans on attending a law school to pursue a career with the FBI.

Having gained a new understanding of her future career, Graff encourages students from all disciplines to apply for internships.

“It is never too early to apply for internships,” Graff said. “If you are interested in learning more about your career field of choice, find an internship site that fits your needs and go for it.”

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