Page 11

Upstate Spring 14 Magazine Online

Reflecting on her own days as an intern, Ratliff noted that her experiences allowed her to complete job functions an agent would do. Her passion for her career was planted as criminal justice major and student in Dr. Diane M. Daane’s classes. Those classes, Ratliff said, were awesome. “Dr. Daane knew how to break down crimes and make it all so interesting,” Ratliff said. “She does such a great job. She really gets you interested in criminal justice. And she prepared us well.” Daane, a professor of criminal justice, believes that the internships allow students to learn the job, develop skills, professionalism and confidence. Students get the chance to determine if this is a good career choice and likewise, the agency gets an opportunity to observe an intern’s work habits and determine if this is someone they would want to hire. “We have worked with many of their (SCDPPPS) offices in the state, but the Spartanburg office has had the most intern placements,” Daane said. “The Spartanburg office of the SCDPPPS has been particularly good about helping students develop their professionalism.” Students who intern with the SCDPPPS have the opportunity to learn most aspects of the job as an agent. Daane said interns are taught how to take client reports, then they observe reports being taken, next they take reports while supervised, and finally, they take reports independently. “This is a great experience for an intern,” Daane said. USC Upstate graduate Kayla Edmonds knows firsthand how all this experience can benefit students. Just two years ago, during the 2012 spring semester, she was an intern in the Spartanburg office of the SCDPPPS. She prepared for the coveted position as if she was interviewing for a job. “The internship was such a great opportunity,” Edmonds said. “I got to see the day-to-day aspects of the job. I learned so much that you can only learn when you are on the job.” Of course, the agency also benefits from internships. A student intern must work 135 hours in order to earn three credit hours. During a 15-week semester, interns usually work between 10 to 15 hours per week. The SCDPPPS is charged with supervising more than 30,000 criminal offenders placed on probation by the courts or paroled by the State Board of Paroles and Pardons. Agents of the department are also an active part of the state’s emergency operations and Homeland Security law enforcement network. Interns often find themselves assisting existing personnel or performing tasks that the agency may not have the personnel to perform. After Edmonds graduated she had no doubt that she wanted to work for the SCDPPPS, but there were no job openings. That didn’t deter her. She kept in contact with the department by volunteering her services. STUDENT News USC Upstate graduates Kevin Kennedy, left, and Brittany Scruggs, center, take their oath as administered by S.C. Supreme Court Justice Donald W. Beatty. “I would suggest to all students that if they are interested in a job, and there isn’t anything available, to volunteer,” Edmonds said. “It shows that you want to work there and are committed. Plus, when something comes open, you’ll be the first to learn about it.” Her determination paid off as she was hired in the fall of 2012, a few months after graduation, as a SCDPPPS agent in the Spartanburg office. After taking the job, she found that there was little training for her because she had learned many of the duties while serving as an intern. In fact, when she attended the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, which is a requirement for SCDPPS agents, she was familiar with the material being covered. Again, it was the internship and her classes at USC Upstate that prepared her. “I get so many compliments from people in Columbia and around the state, on the interns from USC Upstate,” Ratliff said. “Dr. Daane is great to work with, and the students really make it happen. It’s a good relationship for all of us.” I don’t believe there’s anything that can be learned from shredding all day, Ratliff said. There is a lot of in-depth training with our interns. They become very familiar with what goes on and what to expect. I try to expose them to everything an agent would encounter. They can do most everything but go out into the field. 11  2014 Spring Upstate Magazine


Upstate Spring 14 Magazine Online
To see the actual publication please follow the link above