My internship at Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department

Raquel Kassab (left) and fellow intern at Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department.

Name: Raquel Kassab-Flame

Hometown: Merida, Venezuela

What is your major? I am a psychology major, minoring in criminal justice.

Where are you interning? What are you doing there? I am interning with Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (MDCR). I am currently working in the Community Affairs Unit, helping with social media and planning events and job fairs. I have also been interning for the Monitor Release Bureau. There I learn about individuals who are confined to their residence and monitored by MDCR Officers.

How did you get your internship? What I love about FIU is that many opportunities are shared by email. I got an email saying that there was an opportunity to work at Miami-Dade Corrections, and I didn’t think twice before applying. A week later I had an interview; and, shortly after, I started the internship.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? I would advise every single student, in any year of education, take advantage of every opportunity that is given to them. FIU does an awesome job of referring you to internships and jobs. My advice to fellow students is to apply without thinking twice. Some internships might not work for you, but I assure you that you will be able to find an outstanding place to gain the experience you need for your career.

Kassab and Duke, a nine year K9 member of the Miami-Dade Corrections Unit.

What projects are you working on? The most exciting project I’m working on is planning a K9 retirement party. Some people take for granted how hard working these dogs are. Duke has been working for Miami Corrections for nine years now. It’s time for him to retire and enjoy his life off duty. Another remarkable event I am planning is a basketball tournament with every county department in Miami-Dade (Fire, Police, Airport, etc.), where we will raise money for United Way.

How does your internship connect back to your coursework? Thanks to this internship I have had the opportunity to look deeper than ever into the criminal justice field. I have gone to court, watched hearings, met judges, toured jails, visited bootcamp programs for juveniles and gone on ride-alongs with the Monitor Release Bureau officers. My internship has allowed me to see with my own eyes what I have been hearing from my professors. It has given me the chance to understand the criminal justice system first-hand.

What is the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? The coolest thing I’ve done so far is attend a Bootcamp Program Intake. I woke up at 2 a.m. to see how the program works for juveniles who are facing more than five years in jail, some having 50-year sentences. The program gives them a second chance and helps them to develop discipline. When I talked with the juveniles, younger than me and some even my own age, I learned that although they are facing many years in prison, they are willing to change their lives through the program.

What do you like most about your experience? What I like the most about this experience is that I get to see everything from the inside and learn from experts that have been working in this field for decades. It has helped me meet professionals in the criminal justice field and mentors that can help me in the future.

Kassab and fellow interns learning about the criminal justice system.

What have you learned about yourself? I’ve learned I am really passionate about helping improve the criminal justice system. I really want to continue to pursue this career field.

How has this position increased your professional confidence? The team I work with at the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department trusts me when it comes to getting things done and come to me when they need help with events or projects. That has given me the confidence to know that I am learning, and I can go anywhere I want in my career.

How have you expanded your professional network? I’ve met people I never thought I would meet and that has opened doors for me that I was not expecting.

How is your internship helping you prove yourself in the “real-world?” This internship has really opened my eyes. I have seen how the criminal justice system works, what consequences await individuals, and how judges decide if individuals go home, go on house arrest, or get a second chance through bootcamp. Through my experience, I’ve been able to prove that my understanding of my course work and my passion for the criminal justice field make me a great contributor to bettering the criminal justice system.