Valeria Gomez is a sophomore at DU studying accounting. Through the Summer Internship Award Program, which provides funding for unpaid internships, Valeria interned last summer with the Attorney General’s Office in Denver, Colorado. We asked Valeria some questions about her internship experience and here are her responses:
What is your biggest takeaway from your internship?
The biggest takeaway from my internship this summer were the pivotal relationships that I built. I grew the most while I listened to other people’s stories, and the way they got to be where they are now. Oftentimes, we forget that people who are in high positions of power are human as well, and I very much enjoyed getting advice from people who are doing things that I might someday want to pursue as well. I am sure I learned and grew the most from the advice I received from them.
What were you most proud of during your internship?
I was most proud of helping my supervisor conduct research on topics that are super important and relevant to our city, state, and country. I did research on various cases that included issues about immigrant detention in Aurora, corporations in relation to the 8th Amendment, and water rights in Colorado. I really felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself and I knew I was doing work that was important and valuable. It was really interesting to do research on very historic parts of the law, like the 8th amendment and Colorado water rights, as well as very contemporary issues like the current immigrant detention crisis in the country.
Please share with us a funny moment from your internship:
There were a series of summer intern sessions in which we were able to meet with many different people who are a part of the legal industry, and one of them was Colorado Supreme Court Justice Marquez. She is so inspirational because she was sworn into the court very young, and she is Latina, first generation, and from Colorado. When we went to meet her, I was going to introduce myself to her, and as I said hello, I leaned in to shake her hand, but all of a sudden I was way too close so I opened my arms and hugged her. It was the most awkward hug ever, especially because it lasted for about 3 seconds too long, and she just looked at me so taken aback but tried to act natural, but I think that at least now she remembers who I am.
What are your next steps in your Career and Professional Development journey? What do you plan to do after graduation?
This year I want to focus on growing and developing my network as well as shift into accounting. I want to get more immersed into the accounting industry and participate in summer immersion programs with well-known accounting firms in Denver. I hope to graduate with my Masters and then take a gap year and go to law school. I am unsure if I would like to go on a service program for a year or maybe just put my accounting degree into use.
What would you recommend to other students applying for unpaid internships or the Summer Internship Award Program?
I would recommend that they make the most of everything. Opportunities come in all industries and times, and I think it is important to be open minded to them. While applying to the Summer Internship Award Program, it is very important to show that there is a need for the award, but I think it is more important to show the purpose of your internship in your life and how the award would help supplement that purpose in your growth.
*These responses were collected by our Career Peer Advisor, Walid Hedidar