New Class For Gainesville Public Defenders Office Internship

Dr. Brian Cahill established a year-long internship with the Gainesville Public Defenders Office, exclusively for Psychology undergraduate students. Students will be working directly with lawyers who represent low income clients facing criminal charges in Alachua County, both misdemeanors and felonies. After a competitive process, four Psychology undergraduates have been named as the newest members of this internship cycle.

Photo of Alexandria Chen-Fraser

Alexandria Chen-Fraser

I am majoring in Psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis and a minor in French and Francophone studies. I am from Tampa, Florida. I am very passionate about the criminal justice and legal field. I came to the University of Florida to pursue my dual love of law and psychology. While at the University of Florida, I completed several courses that further solidified my knowledge and increased my passion for psychology and law. I would love to augment justice especially for minorities, people of different cultures, and people with special needs. Often, these populations do not get the best counsel. Considering my cultural background as a Jamaican-American, working with different cultures has always been dear to my heart. I have held leadership positions in several multicultural clubs. Also, I traveled the world and immersed myself in different cultures. Therefore, once I heard about this internship at the Public Defender’s Office, I had to act on the opportunity. This internship combines my dual passions of psychology and law. This opportunity is an honor that will prepare me for law school by providing me with opportunities to work in the legal field as an undergraduate. Through this internship, I will be able to understand hands-on the ins and outs of the life of an attorney while gaining the knowledge to be efficient and proficient in law school.

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Mary Faas

I am a Psychology and Criminology double major going into my third year at UF from Miami, FL. I have previously interned with UF’s Student Legal Services where I have learned to analyze case files and conduct research on the information present in the existing database. After receiving an e-mail notifying all psychology majors of the internship opportunity with the PD office, I knew that this would be the ultimate opportunity for me to gain first-hand experience into the legal field and working with public defenders. Since the 7th grade, I have noticed the flaws within our criminal justice system and knew my desire to reform it. . Through this internship, I am certain that I will gain an insider view on how to better assist the disadvantaged of our community and fill the gaps present within our system through conversations with low income clients. I am certain this position will bring me closer to my professional goals in becoming a public defender or criminal psychologist and I am grateful for the opportunity!

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Stephanie Goldfeld

I am a 4th year psychology major at UF. I have always had an interest in pursuing law, however working for the Public Defender’s Office will give me more experience into the foreground of the US legal system. Last summer, I had the opportunity to work with the Department of Children’s Services and the Juvenile Court associated with it, in my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. I was able to talk with clients, provide research for cases, and attend courts with attorneys and case workers. Even though this experience was amazing, the Public Defender’s Office will provide a more hands-on learning experience and a larger challenge. I am very excited to work for the Public Defender’s Office because of the great work they do by providing clients of all backgrounds aid with a non-judgmental outlook. This internship is the perfect transition before heading into law school, helping to give more experience in the field of law and working towards her goal of becoming an attorney to serve others.

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Chloe Kaminsky

My name is Chloe Kaminsky and I am pursuing a Psychology major at the University of Florida. I have had some experience working in a legal setting, shadowing an administrative judge at the Miami-Date courthouse. Additionally, this new opportunity to become an intern at the Public Defender’s office is a perfect way to gain hands-on experience in a unique position, as I have always had an interest in both psychology and legal fields. This is a rare opportunity that will allow me to work in a legal setting and give me a new perspective by working in the criminal justice system. I am excited to gain the insight, experience, and knowledge about the criminal justice system that will give me the skills I need to become successful in the field. Criminal justice reform has always been a passion of mine, and I am hoping that this internship will show me the ways that the interaction between psychology and law may help to better the legal system.