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Swets gains experience through Highway Patrol internship

Internships are a valuable part of the student experience. By pairing classroom knowledge and real-world applications, students learn important skills needed in their future careers.

In the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, many students participate in internship opportunities across the state and nation. One of the recent summer opportunities was a criminology internship through the South Dakota Highway Patrol in Rapid City.

Shelby Swets, a senior criminology major from Spearfish, interned at the Highway Patrol from May to August. Her experience helped solidify her plans to pursue a career in law enforcement.

SDSU Criminology Student, Sydney Swets, stands with South Dakota Highway Patrol members

Swets was originally interested in the internship because of her career goals and from her dad recently retiring from the Highway Patrol. After seeing a post on the Highway Patrol’s Facebook page, Swets submitted her resume for consideration. Following a phone interview and background check, she received the offer to join them in the summer.

While each day was different, Swets had the opportunity to ride along with the Highway Patrol, assisted in the Youth Trooper Academy and attended several trainings, including mobile field force training, SWAT training and police service dog trainings. The wide variety of tasks helped her “get a better idea of what troopers do on a day-to-day basis,” which is what she was looking to gain.

She said her favorite part of the internship was participating in the ride along.

“Some of my responsibilities included putting blood tubes together, importing clerk of court documents and creating training logs,” Swets explained.

Swets is excited to continue connecting her positive internship experience to her studies in the School of Psychology, Sociology and Rural Studies.

“I can now relate things in the classroom to real-world situations,” Swets said.