(Photo via https://www.brameheck.com/projects/alachua-county-public-defender-office-building/)
Dr. Brian Cahill, a lecturer for the University of Florida Department of Psychology, has established a year-long internship with the Gainesville Public Defenders Office exclusively for Psychology undergraduate students. This is an unpaid internship that will allow Psychology students to earn valuable experience in the field of law. Students will be working directly with lawyers who represent low income clients facing criminal charges in Alachua County, both misdemeanors and felonies.
What exactly would a student gain from this internship? Dr. Cahill states, “Students should expect to gain a lot. This is good for any student as they will gain real-life experience while doing very important work that has a meaningful impact in the community. It helps them learn how to translate what they have been learning in class to the ‘real-world.’ I would say, most directly, this will impact students who want to go to law school, primarily because they will be doing actual legal work. They will be working with a lawyer, gathering mitigating evidence, and helping with case strategy. They’re going to be doing a lot of grunt work that will teach them whether they really want to be a lawyer. It’s a great experience to have on your CV to get into law school. It’s also really great for students who want to go to graduate school in psychology because, regardless of the area of psychology a person chooses, we as a field are becoming much more applied and are asked to work more closely with organizations outside of academia/research to apply our expertise. This gives students an excellent opportunity to learn these skills. Regardless of what area that they’re going into, any psychology student will benefit from this internship because of the interactions that they will have.”
Dr. Cahill’s main research focus is based on the ways in which social and cognitive psychology interact with the legal system. He is primarily interested in understanding how both cognitive and social factors affect an eyewitness’s decision-making during a lineup task. He also explores how jurors integrate different types of evidence in their decision-making and reasoning about a verdict. Lastly, he is interested in taking a social-cognitive approach to detecting deception in suspects. Dr. Cahill wanted to create this internship to promote his passion of using psychology in the legal field and to help his students with a great opportunity to succeed in their academic pursuits.
For this internship, Dr. Cahill will be serving as the point person between the students and the Gainesville Public Defender’s Office. “I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I’m so thankful for the (Gainesville) Public Defender’s office, and Stacy Scott specifically for opening up her office to this opportunity. I’m hoping that this is a fruitful relationship that we can have for years to come,” stated Dr. Cahill.
All application materials are due April 8th. You can read the details of the internship below: PD internship flyer