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Internships Open Doors


Kylie Banouvong ’24 spends a lot of time in arguments. When she’s not competing with Simpson’s national champion speech and debate team, she’s frequently listening to criminal hearings as part of her internship at the Polk County Attorney’s Office.

The aspiring attorney is getting an insider’s look at law while engaging in a variety of legal tasks. In addition to taking in criminal hearings, Banouvong spends much of her time reviewing citizen complaint sheets or listening to Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) requests or interactions. Her assignments are often self-directed, necessitating pro-active independent initiative.

“I have a lot of free range to do things,” said Banouvong. “They [PolkCounty attorneys] want you to develop your own skills to figure out how to solve problems. For example, on a citizen complaint sheet I check to see if charges can be filed based on Iowa codes. Doing it all on my own is super helpful as I become a better critical thinker and learn to focus on the little details.”

The internship is helping Banouvong excel more in her major course work — and vice versa. Her ability to connect the dots is accelerating week by week. Along the way, she is becoming much more self-assured.

“I’m on the shy side. But now I’m a lot more confident in the classroom because I know better what I’m talking about. Then I’m able to go back to my internship and utilize what I’m learning in class.”

While her sights are still set on law school, she is considering the possibility of taking a gap year after graduation next spring. Her supervising attorneys at Polk County have reassured her she will be more than ready whenever she decides to go to grad school.

“They told me it’s good that I’m getting this experience, especially at a big county like Polk. What I’m doing is so much better than just going straight into law school. It’s going to make my transition so much smoother.”