Flint Study Away Internship Spotlight - Hannah Hawes

August 1, 2023 - JJ Thomas

Hannah Hawes is a junior at MSU studying Criminal Justice (with minors in Law, Justice, and Public Policy, as well as Philosophy of Law) who has been interning at the Genesee County Office of the Public Defender.

The internship is part of the College of Social Science Office of Experiential Learning Flinty Study Away Program.

Hannah’s roles in the internship vary widely. She spends a lot of time in the courtroom attending hearings, preliminary examinations, and sentencing hearings. She also meets with clients at the Genesee County Jail, assists in writing mitigation reports, and builds defenses for clients. Hannah says that her coursework in Criminal Justice has helped her succeed in this internship.

“The criminal justice classes I have taken prior have led me to not only understand criminal law more thoroughly, but also why criminology directly affects my work,” Hannah says.

With intentions of pursuing a career in Public Defense, Hannah says that this internship has taught her about the importance of enthusiasm and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone as a Public Defender. Ultimately, the biggest lesson Hannah says she has learned through this internship is that being yourself is truly rewarding and that connecting with coworkers is essential because they can help you learn from their prior experiences.

Regarding the Flint Study Away program, Hannah says that the experience was amazing and that the program itself was immersive. “I cannot even begin to express how much I have grown and learned during my short eight weeks in this office. I want to personally thank Cathy White for being so involved and helping me through this experience. I also want to thank the Genesee County Office of The Public Defender for having me this summer. They are truly all amazing people and the work they do is phenomenal” Hannah said.

Photo of Hannah Hawes, Junior at MSU studying Criminal Justice and currently interning with the Genesee County Public Defenders Office