My name is Rachel Schneider and I am a senior sociology major. After taking several sociology classes in criminal justice and inequalities, I became interested in the agency and power of prosecutors’ offices. Prosecutors have tremendous power when it comes to determining charges, sentencing, plea deals, bail, and so much more. The summer of my junior year, I applied to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to be an intern. I told them upfront that I had no practical experience in the field, but I believed that my education within the SCU Sociology Department had prepared me to be a diligent, informed, and compassionate worker. I spent the first part of the summer making copies, but after spending time with my supervisors, my work and sociological background propelled me into the Crime Strategies Unit (CSU). This unit combines the efforts of investigators, prosecutors, and sociologists to use sociological studies to tackle systemic issues. In the CSU, I watched body camera footage, listened to jail calls, and prepped cases for trial alongside the Assistant District Attorneys.
My experience in San Francisco led me to apply to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. The ACDA’s office is historically renowned for their first District Attorney, Earl Warren, who became the Head Justice in the Supreme Court and presided over decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education. I was awarded a Mary C. Warren Fellowship for young women interested in law and leadership development and the Marilyn Fernandez Fellowship through the SCU Sociology Department. I acted as a legal assistant in the Misdemeanor Jury Trials Unit for the ACDA’s office. I ran the subpoena desk, setup cases for trials, helped run the Motions Court, and worked with attorneys throughout their trials. My sociological training has helped me become a useful resource within the office and allowed me to constructively analyzed how the DA’s office can act as an accountability mechanism for the police. I’m so happy to say that my contributions this summer have given me the opportunity to continue to work for the ACDA’s office throughout my last year of college. I’m grateful to the Alameda County District Office for this experience and to the SCU Sociology Department for the skills to thrive as I follow my passion!