College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Internship Profiles

Catherine Gelband

Internship:  Whatcom County Public Defender

Interning at the Whatcom County Public Defender complimented, enriched, and extended my studies in Political Science. My internship and Western courses continuously informed one another. This simultaneous application of classroom knowledge and community-based experience created a holistic, symbiotic approach to my education in Political Science.


Having a specific interest in law, interning at the Public Defender gave me a sense of legal procedures and allocation of responsibility in real time. Interns are given the chance to complete investigative work directly with clients, witnesses, and others involved in cases and often follow a case from start to finish. The best part of the internship was the caliber of projects entrusted to interns and the accessibility and proximity to the work of the investigators and attorneys. It truly paints a picture of work in the field of criminal law.


Students considering an internship at the Public Defender should look forward to fast-paced, hands on work under the supervision of engaged, helpful, and informative staff. There is no formal initial training, rather, interns are trained with each new task. My best advice is to ask any and all questions early and often.