Olivia Powers interns with LU professor

By Ruth Kehinde – Digital Editor

Olivia Powers sits at their desk in the Brennan Library while working for their internship. Photo by Ruth Kehinde

Senior Olivia Powers is currently spending their last semester interning on campus. As they finish their criminal justice major and psychology minor, Powers is interning for Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Edward G. Weeks. Powers has been working with Weeks since the fall of 2020. 

“When I was going into the internship process, I didn’t really know what my options were due to most places I had applied to either weren’t hiring new interns due to COVID-19 or I heard nothing back from places I had applied,” Powers said. Regardless of the dilemma in the application process, Powers appreciated being accepted as Weeks’ intern.

As Professor Weeks is currently on sabbatical, he’s writing a book about aging out of the foster care system and programs available for them. Additionally, Weeks objective for this book is to promote the resources that still need to be improved upon when individuals go through the process of this transitioning.  Powers’ internship is research-based, centered around finding concrete resources Weeks can use for his book. 

To reflect on their internship experience, Powers took a justice studies internship course last semester. This course recorded internship hours and had students share their encounters and tasks in their class seminars with their classmates and professor. As they reviewed their process, Powers realized in this positive experience they’ve “never done much research work but it was cool to be able to learn new skills.”

In addition to being an intern, Powers works at the Brennan Library.

 “[They’re] always themself… I love that [they] embrace [their] uniqueness,” Elaine Rush Arruda, Head of Access Services and Powers’ supervisor said. 

Regardless of working with co-workers virtually, Powers always considered themself to be an independent worker. Although they love being part of a group, “contributing my own piece to an assignment makes me feel included and validated in my abilities,” they said. 

Despite originally lacking in skills such as researching on various databases and creating annotated bibliographies, this internship drove Powers to take accountability and strengthen those skills to use in future endeavors.

“Olivia has a way of looking at things… instead of stressing out about them, they see the humor in it. That allows others to [also] see the humor in it instead of getting anxious or upset about things. I think that’s a huge gift that Olivia has,” Library Director Anna Sarneso said.

This internship helped strengthen Powers’ research skills and taught them how to advocate for themself when it came to taking on more work. The support that Powers provided to themself was all the drive they needed to accomplish their tasks.

“I think Olivia is an incredibly creative and intelligent person and… they honestly make life amazing. I think every time they speak, I can’t stop laughing. They’re the funniest person I know,” said senior Claire Shepard, Powers’ roommate.

After graduation, Powers hopes to pursue a career as a Substance Abuse counselor. This internship gave them the necessary skills to use pertaining to research, teamwork, independence, and accountability. This internship “definitely prepared me for some parts of my future career and helped me to feel more confident in my abilities as a student,” Powers said.

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