The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Gabriela Urias '16

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Student Intern: Gabriela Urias '16

Internship Organization:
U.S. Department of Justice: Office of International Affairs

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) works on an international level to help capture and prosecute criminals both within the U.S. and in foreign countries and maintain foreign relations and U.S. strategic interests when law enforcement issues cross international borders. This is done primarily by managing incoming and outgoing extraditions, as well as requests for mutual legal assistance for the United States.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
I am a part of the Mexico and Central America team, which means that we handle extradition cases and mutual legal assistance requests relating to countries within this geographic area. My role as an intern is to aid the team in processing these cases, whether that means reviewing and referring mutual assistance requests, translating and editing extradition packages, or sorting through and summarizing information provided for a case.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
I was looking forward to my first day, and couldn't wait to finish the required orientation and get started. I was given my own office with a name plate, so I felt very official and welcomed. Everyone was really nice and excited that I spoke Spanish, so I was actually given a translation review to do right away.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
I think it's been most rewarding to have this opportunity to be a part of increasing justice on a global scale. While working on cases, I read about the criminals involved and the horrible acts they've committed. It really makes me realize the type of people I'm helping to capture and prosecute, and that I'm actually making some sort of a difference in the world.

What challenges have you faced so far?
When I first started my internship, I was met with a really steep learning curve. I had to quickly learn about international treaties, legal terms, and how to process a mutual assistance treaty in order to do the assignments I was given. While this was difficult, I found it to ultimately be worth the hard work and very beneficial to my experience overall. I've been able to delve into legal processes and responsibilities that I don't think I would otherwise encounter as an undergraduate.

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to continue learning more legal aspects and about how countries cooperate in general. Especially with Cuba officially opening it's embassy here in D.C. just this past week, it will be interesting to see how things unfold in terms of the OIA working with prosecutors there and building our relationship with them after so many decades. I also hope to use my experiences to better focus my professional goals as I enter into my last year at Dartmouth.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship? 
Stay away from the metro when there is Nationals game that evening.

Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our Notes from the Field series. The Rockefeller Center helps students find, fund, and prepare for a leave-term internship experience in public policy research, public policy analysis, issue evaluation, or activities which help shape and determine public policy.



The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences