As an intern for Canandaigua City Court, Alicia Quarterman ’22 observed criminal court every morning, where cases ranged from various misdemeanors to felony charges. From learning about court proceedings, to working with the district attorney and city clerks, Quarterman says the experience gave her a comprehensive understanding of criminal law and the criminal justice system.
In addition to helping to prepare the judges’ briefs for criminal cases, Quarterman learned how to operate the court’s computer systems. She drafted materials for the district attorney to review on traffic violations and created appearance notices for defendants.
“I asked everyone about their career paths, from the advisor to the judge to the city clerks. I wanted to know if they chose to go to law school, or what drew them to the public verses private sector. It was very instructive for me,” says Quarterman, a writing and rhetoric major and entrepreneurial studies minor.
The internship helped Quarterman solidify her decision to pursue a career in law. To continue her studies in the subject, she enrolled in a class that focuses on legal writing this semester with Visiting Instructor of Writing and Rhetoric Michelle Ellwood.
“We have been looking at free speech cases, and many interesting cases on college campuses in particular. We’ve looked at court cases throughout U.S. history and learned how to debrief them,” she says.
In addition, Quarterman says one of her most influential courses has been “Discourses of Rape in Contemporary Culture,” with her advisor Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Cheryl Forbes. The course examines the many ways culture talks about rape, especially in the media and entertainment industry.
“This course introduced me to issues concerning rape and sexual assault on many levels, including the legal field,” she says. “Ultimately, this course opened my eyes to the many ways the legal field incorrectly handles issues such as rape and sexual assault. What I learned from this course inspired me to consider a career in law.”
On campus, Quarterman is a member of HWS Leads, a Centennial Center initiative that helps students develop leadership skills. Quarterman says the HWS Leads program helped her feel “more confident and comfortable” when she interviewed with Canandaigua City Court. “I also gained confidence in myself, public speaking, and my leadership style,” she says.
She has been a tutor for the Geneva Boys & Girls Club and served as a 2020 Orientation Leader. She learned of the internship through Director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services Brandi Ferrara.
“Honestly, I would recommend that every HWS student make an appointment with Career Services. I first made an appointment with Brandi to express my interest in a summer internship within the legal field, within a week, she sent me an application for the position,” Quarterman says.