September 12, 2018 at 8:47 pm

Psychology Student Lands Internship at Athens County Courthouse

Three women stand together

Glynnis Hixson (r) with her Athens County Courthouse supervisors and OU alumni, Allison Purcell (l), victim advocate and Director of the Victim Assistance Program, and victim advocate Lauren Lowe (m).

by Kristin Distel

“Every day of my internship is a highlight,” says junior Glynnis Hixson, who spent her summer interning with the Athens County Courthouse’s Director of Victim Assistance. Hixson’s experience was so rewarding both for her and for her supervisors that she will continue her internship throughout her junior and senior years at OHIO.

Hixson, who is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology, says her work at the Athens Courthouse has confirmed what she wants to do after graduation.

“I want to specialize in forensic psychology and work in a courthouse,” she explains. “I’m interested in interviewing offenders, assessing them before court appearances, testifying in court, or working in prisons and interviewing criminals. I really want to do hands-on work.”

Viewing Judicial Proceedings Firsthand

Hixson viewed many court hearings as part of her internship duties, including the trial of William D. Blair, who was convicted in July of aggravated murder.

“I’d never observed offenders in any setting other than the news or social media, but seeing actual offenders and studying their reactions to what the Court said to them was really interesting,” Hixson states. “Attending the trials made the cases so much more real for me.”

Her internship also allows her to attend meetings between her supervisors, who are victim advocates, and the victims themselves.

“Seeing the atmosphere of the Prosecutor’s Office, hearing prosecutors talk about cases, observing how they deal with victims—it’s all so interesting and educational,” Hixson remarks. She also sends notifications to victims to alert them about their perpetrators’ upcoming hearings, which allows her to continue the hands-on work and assistance she enjoys.

Putting Her OHIO Training to Work

“My classes at OHIO definitely helped prepare me for my internship,” she notes. Hixson explains that learning about brain processes and reactions in her psychology coursework allowed her to interpret defendants’ and victims’ responses and court proceedings much more meaningfully.

“Since I’m going into forensics and working with offenders, I need to be able to understand how they are reacting to what the court says to them, and whether they are remorseful, among several other things,” she states.

A Helpful, Exciting Profession

“If you’re someone who likes to help people, you should consider majoring in psychology,” Hixson suggests. “It’s always fun and interesting, and it applies to everyday life. There are also so many research and job opportunities in psychology,” she adds.

Hixson additionally recommends that those who are interested in psychology read Daniel Keyes’s 1981 book, The Minds of Billy Milligan, a novel that chronicles a defendant who was acquitted after citing a multiple-personality disorder.

“That book led me to where I am today,” Hixson says. “That book can definitely spark an interest in psychology, especially forensic psychology! The Minds of Billy Milligan is the reason I am majoring in psychology.”

For students who need to complete an internship, Hixson advises that they begin their search early, rather than waiting until their senior year. She began seeking internship opportunities at the end of her sophomore year, which allows her to maintain the internship throughout the academic year, as well.

She further recommends looking for internships that combine research opportunities and hands-on work so that students do not have to juggle several responsibilities at once while also trying to do well in class.

“Look for something long-term, hands-on, and fun because yes, your internship really should be fun. Mine is!”

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