(Originally published in The Hartford Courant. Read it here
For some students, summer means spending more quality time with the remote control, having fun or just hanging out. It is a time of relaxation and, one might say, full-fledged laziness.
For others, it’s an opportunity to experience full-time employment without having to balance it with class schedules. That was the case with Corey Brinson and Brad Steward of Hartford, two college students in the city’s Student Internship Program who were assigned to work in the corporation counsel’s office.
Their duties included assisting the lawyers by doing research, attending court cases, discussing the cases with the lawyers and offering their points of view as people outside of the legal system. Cases involved employment issues and on-the-job injuries involving city employees.
The Student Internship Program is open to full-time college and high school students aged 16-21 who are Hartford residents. The summer program, which began in 1995, employed about 150 students this year. Interns are assigned to a specific unit and project in various city offices and departments and work 20 to 25 hours per week. The program will end Aug. 31. Some participants, such as Steward, who wanted time off before classes begin again, have already finished their internships.
Brinson, 21, a senior at the University of Connecticut, graduated from Hartford Public High School in 1998, where he was voted most likely to succeed.
“I’ve always wanted to do some time of public service,” Brinson said. “At first I thought of being a police officer. Then I realized that an attorney has the power to defend those who cannot defend themselves.”
Steward, 20, a sophomore at Connecticut College, said he was influenced to pursue law by his family.
“Every male member in my family is a lawyer, so that fact motivated me to gain an interest in law,” Steward said.
Both said the mentoring they received was valuable.
“These people have taken me under their wing and have given me guidance,” said Brinson, referring to Corporation Counsel Alexander Aponte and executive assistant Sandra Tortoro.
“The lessons that I’ve learned from them go far beyond the law,” Steward said.
“I’ve had nothing but support from friends and family,” he said. “They are proud to know that I will always represent my hometown positively, like it should be.”