By: Nikki Fedorko
My name is Nikki Fedorko. I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Upon high school graduation, I moved to Kentucky to start my undergraduate career.
In 2011, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Special Education-Learning and Behavior Disorders from the University of Kentucky. I am starting my second year of graduate school at the University of Kentucky; I will graduate in May of 2015 with my Masters in Social Work.
I thoroughly enjoyed teaching special education in Fayette County. However, I realized that my talents, interests, and objectives would be better suited outside of the classroom. I became interested in social work and the criminal justice field in general after I realized how many of my students were in and out of the court system. A multitude of them were defendants, but a majority of them were victims. These students are often over-looked in the school system and in the community in general. I hope to be able to serve individuals with disabilities in my future career.
My interests in social work and advocacy vary, but one constant always remains the same for me: I want to be an advocate for victims. I am currently contemplating applying for law school upon graduation. I am confident that this amazing opportunity with Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney office will not only provide me with a high-quality, “hands-on” learning experience, but it will also guide me when pursuing my future aspirations.
By: Anika Gooch
My name is Anika Gooch and I am currently completing the second year of my Master’s at the Kent School of Social Work in Louisville, Kentucky. I graduated from Centre College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology.
It has been apparent to me for some time that I wished to pursue a career in speaking for those whose voices are have been lost amongst the crowd. A Master’s in Social Work will allow me the opportunity to advocate for those who have been left in the dark. Social work is more than Child Protective Services, it is protective services for all who need assistance. The versatility of Master’s in Social Work will allow me the opportunity to work with a large variety of populations.
As my first year at the Kent School concluded, it became time for students to interview for possible practicum placement opportunities. When searching through the list, the Victim Advocacy Program at the Commonwealth Attorney’s in Lexington, Kentucky seemed to allow for all the opportunities in regards to social work that I was looking for. The decision to accept the opportunity to learn from one of the largest victim advocacy programs in the state was a simple one. I am very interested in learning the ways in which social workers can advocate for those who have been the victims of crimes.
Only in recent decades have victims been allotted certain rights that have allowed them to move productively through the healing process. As a victim’s advocate, I hope that I can assist others in the long process of overcoming the trauma caused by experiencing a crime. I am excited about the upcoming year and look forward to learning more about the connections between the criminal justice system and social work. I hope that at the end of this opportunity, I will be equipped with the tools necessary to make a difference in the world of those affected by crime. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to intern at the Commonwealth Attorney’s office for the 2014-2015 academic year.
By: Tyler McKendrick
My name is Tyler McKendrick and I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Kentucky. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but have bled blue all of my life and made the decision to complete my undergraduate work at UK.
While I love being at student at the University of Kentucky, I am extremely excited to be graduating after the upcoming fall semester with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation, I plan on attending law school, a step that is sure to be a huge change of pace from my engineering background.
During my undergraduate career, I spent three semesters working for General Electric in Louisville as a Technical Design Engineering Co-op, but until this summer, I had no previous legal experience. In order to dampen the transition to law school, I wanted to immerse myself in the field of law and familiarize myself with the legal process, and what better way to accomplish that than working in a prosecutor’s office?
I come to the Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in Boone County, where I was an undergraduate intern this past summer. Working in a prosecutor’s office has been an excellent opportunity for me to experience the daily intricacies of the legal profession and I hope to continue to grow and learn in the Fayette County office. Thus far, my experience with the legal field, attending court and docket proceedings, preparing indictments, and have been fascinating. This internship is a wonderful opportunity for me to not only enhance my legal background, but also to hopefully provide the office with a slightly different perspective than what might be the norm. I look forward to an insightful semester as an intern in the office and I cannot wait to get started.
By: Olivia Fishback
I have been interning at the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for little over a month. In that short time I have learned many things about the day-to-day life of a prosecutor. I have been coming into the office every day, five days a week, and have befriended virtually all of my colleagues, learning their names, what they do in the office, and how long they have been doing this.
One thing I have learned is that although I was knowledgeable about what was going on at my school, in my family, and with my friends; I was still extremely sheltered.
I have had friends in the past that stole one thing or another, but none have attempted murder. I have never seen a victim’s point of view or a defendant’s point of view in such detail until now. I knew about the possibility of murder, but I never expected Lexington to have a homicide list. It isn’t that Lexington isn’t a good place to live anymore; it’s more so that I am now less sheltered than I was two months ago.
I have also learned that prosecutors are in fact not the highest paid lawyers. They go through the hardest cases, reading about the saddest stories and fighting for victims who have lost virtually everything. Regardless, these attorneys love what they do because although it doesn’t pay as much as some jobs, they help our community by trying to put the defendant behind bars.
I have learned so much. I came into this office as a rising junior going to Sayre, and left as a Prosecutor’s Intern of 2014. The experience, I don’t think I changed as a person, but it certainly widened my view of the culture in which we live. A culture where one might murder someone; however, half of the society will help the victim and their family through the hard time. These people chose to help, they want to help, and they always help. They help by comforting, and they help by proving that if you break the law you should suffer consequences.
Blerina Gojani Victim Advocate
Working with Olivia has been a great experience. Having her at the office was a great place for her to learn, and she gave so much to the social media. She knew how to edit videos already, so she was ready to take over and get the job done. She has great potential; I see her going places. I hope she will come back very soon!
By: Mary Greenfield
This summer internship at the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office served as a huge learning experience for me. When in the office environment, I learned what it is like to work in a professional setting where you are surrounded by successful people. You often don’t think about what it will be like later on in life when you are out of schooling and need to find your way in a workplace somewhere.
Through this experience I was able to catch a glimpse of one of the most important aspects of a community that I wouldn’t have had the chance to see before. I learned how cases are sent to trial and what it’s like to prepare for a trial and follow it through from start to finish. The cases just keep coming and that, in my opinion, is what makes this specific occupation different from others. The attorneys and advocates in this office don’t lose interest after just a few cases. They keep doing what they do because they want to help the community and keep striving to give justice to those who are wronged.
As well as learning the important aspects of this job this summer, I have also noticed a change in the way I think about the community as a whole. I’ve known for forever that someday I want to have a job that helps people; in which capacity I’m not sure yet. I’ve realized that not everything in the community is good and that there are some people who do not have good intentions. Even though that can be a somewhat depressing realization to come by while you’re young, I’m starting to feel it is almost necessary in order to succeed in what you want to do.
This internship as a whole has been so amazing for me and has allowed me to gain experience in a professional place where you need to be mature and available to help at all times. I’m very grateful for my time spent here and hope to continue to grow in the knowledge that I come by in the next few years. This internship has allowed me to appreciate what I have and want to strive to promote positive change in the community.
Blerina Gojani Victim Advocate
Working with Mary has been easy because everything I gave her she completed with efficiency and with a lot of thought put into it. She was successful in everything this office had her work on and was a help to many on our staff. I have enjoyed working with her this summer. I hope that one day she will come back either as another intern or as a potential employee of this office.
By: Jette Swisher
The Fayette County Commonwealth Attorney’s office, and my internship here, has taught me so much about what it means to be involved in a high paced work environment. It’s helped me to see a world beyond my own experience. It has given me, above all, a sense of self-assuredness in my goals and my future path.
Before being accepted as an intern at the office, I had only half-heartedly considered to further my studies in the school of law. I had always known I wanted to do something to help others in a way that suited my personality and skill set. Because I am so passionate about social media and communication, my dreams placed me as the head of Public Relations at a Non-profit organization. And while I’m still passionate about such things, and while I definitely haven’t ruled the field of non-profit out as a candidate for potential career paths, what I whole-heartedly want now, is to go to Law school.
Because being here, I’ve seen real-life super heroes in action. On my very first day, I went to a few pre-trials with one of the attorneys. Time after time, she stood up for the victims. Not taking any crap from the defendants, she was merciful when it was appropriate and dispensed justice throughout. I was blown away by just how cool she was and how cool the justice system is.
I worked with Ray Larson quite a bit concerning social media, especially at the beginning of the summer. I was made
a celebrity by 10 o’clock in the morning on my first day, having been forced to introduce myself on live-radio, on the spot. I loved every second of it. Being given so many opportunities to help the office with its social media crusade, I feel as though I have really accomplished something.
Just as much as my in-office experiences, my out-of-office experiences gave me so many life lessons. The numerous field trips gave us all a glimpse at a world not many see outside of their television. When touring prisons and helicopter bases, riding along with police officers, and so much more, it’s impossible to not learn a thing or two that you didn’t already know before.
The whole summer was full of experiences like these. The experiences that continue to persuade me of just how much I want to be a super-hero, too. I know more about life, and the way things work in real-time. I have discovered more about myself and what I want. I am so grateful to have been here.
Anna Curtin and Ray Larson
Richard Wooldridge and Nick Jackson