Allie Tompkins ’10
National Prison Project Intern for the ACLU Foundation
Major: Political Science/Global Studies
How would you describe what you do on a typical day?
As an intern, I come into the office 5 days a week for a half day. I answer letters from inmates writing the prison project for assistance, and I work with a paralegal to do research on policy and prison programs for the attorneys on staff at the National Prison Project.
What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?
Look for the jobs that really speak to what you are interested in. I applied to a ton of internships, but the two places I received offers from were the places I was most passionate about working at. I think this really stood out on my cover letter and during my interviews.
What motivates you to go to work every day for this organization?
Even though I’m an unpaid intern, I’m motivated to go to work every day because the ACLU puts into action what I was most passionate about learning at UVM, Constiutional Law. In our project, we represent prisoners and provide them with information. I think this is important because they are a truly underrepresented part of society and it requires a lot of viligance to make sure that their rights are being upheld in prison.
How did your time at UVM, both in and out of the classroom, prepare you for your position?
At UVM I became really interested in Constitutional Law, and the ACLU is one of the best places to gain experience in this field. During my interview the attorney I spoke with was very happy that I knew a lot about the federal courts appointment process, something that we spent a lot of time on in my Political Science senior seminar. Outside of the classroom at UVM, meeting so many critical thinkers and people who are willing to question the status quo and ask important questions has really influenced the way that I understand what I do at my internship and how I interact with the other people at my job.
What was your childhood dream job?
My childhood dream job was a Marine Biologist (wasn’t that everyone’s dream job at some point?), somewhere along the way I also wanted to be a doctor.
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