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

Notes from the Field: Ryan Shelley '15

Article Type 
Student Intern: Ryan Shelley '15

Internship Organization:
US Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division – Washington, DC

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
The Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division works primarily to facilitate incoming and outgoing extraditions and requests for mutual legal assistance for the United States. Any time a foreign country needs to access evidence located in the United States for a criminal investigation or vice versa, the request will come through our office to be referred to the appropriate authorities. Similarly, any time the US government wants to extradite a criminal from abroad or another country wants to extradite a criminal from within the US, the request comes through our office to be processed and referred.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
My responsibilities range from drafting referrals and various forms of correspondence to more administrative work. It varies depending on what types of cases are coming into the office and how busy the office is.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
I was excited to get started and to learn more about what the office did, though I had to attend intern orientation for all interns working in the Criminal Division of the DOJ before getting to go to my office and meet my team. Everyone was friendly and welcoming.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
I enjoy working in an office that is actively part of the criminal justice process on an international level. I get to learn about how criminal justice works in different parts of the world and the challenges and opportunities this presents to the United States.

What challenges have you faced so far?
The first few days were a little overwhelming because there was a lot of information presented very quickly. Luckily the people in my office have all been very nice and helpful whenever I've had questions. I feel completely comfortable asking for help when I need it here.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to continue developing my understanding of how countries cooperate with each other in criminal investigations and the different obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve this. The amount of legal assistance exchanged between countries is dependent on a number of factors, and I'd like to learn more about this.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
DC gets incredibly hot and humid in the summer, and it also rains a lot. It's good to always have an umbrella and extra clothes on you at work.

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