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Pre-Law student has life-changing internship with prosecutor

October 14, 2016

Sarah Kiefer had a life-changing internship this summer. The senior who is majoring in psychology, minoring in history and women's studies and participating in Ursuline’s Pre-Law program, interned in the office of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.

Her faculty mentor, Associate Professor Anne Murphy Brown, is not surprised that Kiefer got the most out of the experience. “Sarah has been an exceptional leader on campus,” Murphy Brown said. “Working with Ursuline grad Naida Gonzalez in the prosecutor’s office has reinforced her interest in becoming an attorney and we are so proud of her.”

Her hard work has paid off. Kiefer has been accepted at University of Dayton School of Law with a full scholarship offer as part of the university's Leadership Honors Program. We caught up with a very busy Kiefer for five questions.

1. Tell us about your internship. What was the most interesting work you tackled?

My internship at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office was one of the best experiences of my life. I was working with real-time cases for the county and had access to information even the media didn’t have access to. Being part of the actual justice system and making a positive impact on the community I live in was so fulfilling! Each case was interesting in its own right. I did a lot of social media surveillance on a juvenile gang, and helped organize documents pertaining to a cold case. It was really neat seeing up close how much work goes into building a case.
2. Did you feel your Ursuline education had prepared you well for the internship?

Absolutely. The support I got from Anne Murphy Brown was incredible. She helped me put together my portfolio which I brought with me to the interview, and even told me where to park. She gave me great guidance and opened doors for me that I wouldn’t have been able to open on my own. Her willingness to connect me with the right people is something I will be forever indebted to her for. She continues to support me and the other students in the legal studies programs by constantly sending us information on law schools and scholarships that we qualify for.

3. Did the experience influence your thinking about the type of law practice you would like to have?

This internship changed the direction of my life. Before this I wanted to be an international adoption lawyer, but now I want to be a prosecutor and do trial work.

4. You were supervised by a graduate of Ursuline’s UCAP Legal Studies program, Naida Gonzalez. Did she offer you good guidance?

Naida was, hands down, the best internship supervisor I've ever had, as well as a great role model. Her work ethic is second to none and she is the most helpful person I've ever met. She was also very willing to give me constructive criticism on my projects and dropped everything she was doing to help me with my questions. She took me under her wing and made sure I met the right people in the office as well as showed me around Cleveland. 

5. Tell us about your involvements at Ursuline.

I’m on the lacrosse team (we won the conference championship last year!). I am also the president of Women’s Circle, the feminist student group on campus. I am a resident assistant and work for admissions as a tour guide. Being involved has had a lot of benefits. I have the opportunity to serve the community I live in, explore my passions, and develop my skills in leadership and time management. I absolutely recommend getting involved in something on campus. It makes your experience at school so much better!

Ursuline’s Pre-Law designation provides academic advising and law-focused events for students like Kiefer, regardless of their major. Thanks to a new partnership, Pre-Law students can complete both bachelor’s and law degrees in six years, instead of the traditional seven. In this 3+3 program, the senior year of the student’s undergraduate studies at Ursuline coincides with their first year at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, allowing the student to earn a bachelor’s degree from Ursuline after their first year of law school studies.

Ursuline’s Legal Studies program, the program that Gonzalez completed, is taught through UCAP, the Ursuline College Adult Program, an adult bachelor’s degree completion program for working men and women looking to complete their program in an accelerated format. The Legal Studies program is approved by the American Bar Association.

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