This year, Prof. Leland Tang, Participating Adjunct Faculty in the Public Safety Administration (PSAD) program, took on the challenge of becoming the new PSAD internship coordinator during the pandemic. One of the biggest obstacles was convincing potential mentors in different fields that internships held remotely would benefit both parties. Tang spent many months encouraging his professional contacts that this was the case, while also finding in-person internships for students who live on campus without access to private transportation. In both cases he was successful!
In the political field, Prof. Tang worked with Assembly member Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley), who is at the forefront of criminal justice reform, to help Woodbury students conduct research for her office using online platforms at home.
PSAD student Sebastian Lemus currently interns with Senator Robert Hertzberg, a Democrat representing the 18th District which includes part of the San Fernando Valley. Sebastian attends Zoom meetings where he discusses project topics like higher education resources, housing projects, climate change, and environmental health.
“My favorite part of the internship,” Sebastian says, “was researching how to reform bail in the criminal justice system since…one of my career goals is to help those that are inconvenienced from the economic gap in looking for defense aid in civil and criminal cases.” Prof. Tang emphasizes how important it is to have these amazing internships on the students’ resumes as they embark on their careers.
When it came to placing students with transportation challenges with in-person internships Prof. Tang decided to look in Woodbury’s own backyard at the Hollywood Burbank Airport. “The airport is close to campus and thus easily accessible by public transportation,” Professor Tang says, “and the students are having a blast.” Airport internships allow students to shadow different departments within TSA, which go far beyond the screeners we know at airport security and include the Federal Air Marshals (FAM) department. After several months wading through background checks and red tape he successfully placed students, including Aranza Villegas, with the Burbank Airport Coordination Center.
Aranza works with the Assistant Federal Security Director for Law Enforcement (AFSD-LE), Julie Comeau. “I have learned a lot about TSA, the Federal Air Marshals, and the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) team and have been exposed to the different career paths that TSA offers,” says Aranza. Prof. Tang adds, “A big plus is those students have already passed a rigorous federal background check so if they want to work for the federal government after graduation they are already cleared.”
The PSAD program graduates its first class this year and Prof. Tang is confident that the internship program will help students launch successful careers. “The internship requirement separates Woodbury University from other universities,” Professor Tang says because it “gives students a competitive edge when they graduate. In my experience, internships definitely lead to career possibilities later.” “I am very grateful that Professor Tang helped me get my internship because I will be applying to become a Federal Air Marshal when they begin accepting applications in March,” says Aranza.
Last Updated on February 18, 2022.