With a desire to help people through justice, Hastings College senior Holly Haswell spent three weeks in January interning for the Hastings Regional Center and the District 10 probation office. During the experience, the criminology major from Ashland, Nebraska, had the opportunity to expand on sociological theories outside of the classroom.
Haswell was the first intern in recent history at the Hastings Regional Center, a residential substance abuse treatment center for adolescent males ages 13 to 18. She mainly shadowed coaches and oversaw the admissions process. She also followed the youth and helped them with their homework.
The coaches of the unit’s purpose are not only to provide security and safety but also to be an outlet for the youth to help them work through their challenges. Haswell oversaw this process and she said she enjoyed seeing the youth learn from their challenges.
One of Haswell’s favorite experiences at the Regional Center was her last day. The staff played a game of volleyball against the youth, and the team would purposefully miss shots while playing.
“Seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces when we played against them was special. It felt nice to be part of their experience,” she said.
At the District 10 probation office, Haswell’s experience included various roles, from shadowing departments to looking through past pre-sentencing investigation files. She used skills gained in Hastings College classes to give her best judgment on the files about what she would do. She found that she and the state probation officer she shadowed, Trevor Anderson, had similar views in the decision-making process.
One of Haswell’s favorite experiences at the probation office was shadowing a probation officer who was visiting with a probationee. The individual tried to lie to the officer, and she did not have time for that.
“She is very intimidating and is someone you do not want to lie to, and it was eye-opening to see that power dynamic,” she said.
Haswell said she enjoyed learning the different aspects of the job at the probation office and seeing how the systems worked together, which are skills she will need in the future.
Haswell said she wants to be a probation officer in the future but would like to start out working with juvenile treatment facilities, like the Hastings Regional Center.
Haswell said her internship experiences helped her to further expand on theories and concepts she learned in the classroom. For example, she talked about how she saw labeling theory in play at the regional center. The youth would label themselves as being bad and would act out according to that label.
“It was a good experience to see the concepts I’ve been learning about and apply them to everyday life,” she said.