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Kathryn Schwaeble: Reflections

“I have seen the impact that a group of like-minded people coming together for a cause can achieve.”

In searching for something to fill my summer between my Master’s and Ph.D. programs, I came across the Ohio Justice & Policy Center.  I grew up in Cincinnati, so I was looking for something which would allow me to spend the summer at home before moving to Raleigh to start my Ph.D. in Public Administration at North Carolina State University, having just completed my master’s program in criminal justice at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis.  My interests include policy research and my background in research is in sentencing, and I wanted to make use of these skills during the summer.  This happened to fit perfectly with an ongoing project Deputy Director Stephen JohnsonGrove was working on, so when I reached out about interning for the summer, he determined he’d be able to fit me in for this project even though the intern positions were already filled.

During my initial in-person meeting with Stephen, I realized that OJPC was the right place for me to spend the summer, as the passion he expressed for reforming the system of mass incarceration especially resonated with me.  This inspired me to utilize my research skills to work on developing potential solutions to the levels of incarceration in Ohio.  Doing research on a volunteer basis for the purpose of furthering the mission of OJPC was far more fulfilling than I could ever have imagined going into this.

OJPC's 2016 Summer Interns
OJPC’s 2016 Summer Interns

I had already been reform-minded when it comes to the criminal justice system going into this internship, but through the weekly programming and discussions I was exposed to even more issues and viewpoints than I had been previously.  Hearing the unique perspectives of other interns and staff members on current issues was extremely helpful to understanding how we form the views we do and to further develop my own views.  Going into a new academic program in the fall, I have reinforced my views this summer and my dedication to working for a nonpartisan policy research organization after I complete my education, as I have seen the impact that a group of like-minded people coming together for a cause can achieve.

Kathryn Schwaeble, Ph.D. in Public Administration at North Carolina State University