Heidi Wedel: Internship

Heidi Wedel

Criminology major
Communication, Sociology, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies minors

Where was your internship placement?
UMD’s Women’s Resource & Action Center (WRAC)

What did your general duties involve?
I hold office hours in person almost every day of the week where students can come in and get resources. The interns also organize events that fall under our mission statement and market it to the student body. We are certified advocates for PAVSA and volunteer through them several times a month. One of my specific duties is being the volunteer coordinator, which during non-COVID times would be a more active position. April is sexual assault awareness month and I am a member of the committee that plans certain events. There is constantly something going on, even amidst the pandemic we are hoping to reach out to the student body and spread awareness.

What was your most memorable experience?
I think it is super rewarding to have positive feedback from the event you put your heart and soul into planning. Even if only one person attended, that would be a success because it is one more student who knows we are here and we want to help. I am very proud of organizing Palentines week and also the virtual photo gallery for sexual assault awareness month that is coming out soon!

Has your internship influenced your career path?
I have been called to victim advocacy and my position at WRAC allows me to assist students on campus, bring awareness to gender violence, and increase public understanding of social justice. It has given me a lot of hands-on experience working with survivors, being a member of a university committee, leadership skills, and advocate maturity. Training is not enough to prepare sexual violence advocates, the best way to learn how to become a better advocate is by doing advocacy. This experience has helped me develop into the advocate