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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Intern Spotlight: Courtney Kiehl

June 11, 2014

Courtney Kiehl was born and raised in Fremont, California. She has just completed her second year at the Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law. For the past ten years, Courtney has been deeply committed to victims’ rights issues and a passionate activist in the movement toward ending sexual and domestic violence.  She has been involved with various organizations including founding a nonprofit with a mission to provide a forum for victims of abuse to share their stories, a coalition of student activists from each of the University of California campuses, and since her time in law school has been active in a national student movement concerning Title IX.  Victims’ rights have been the cause of her life and that is why she was thrilled to spend the summer with the NCVLI, continuing to pursue these goals, to learn from and work with a team just as dedicated to achieving them as she is. Courtney told us a little about her experience as an intern at NCVLI.

What did you know about victims’ rights before working at NCVLI?

This is a difficult question for me to answer because I’m continuously learning more about victims’ rights and have been from the time I was a victim going through the criminal justice process.  Since then, I’ve worked closely with victims and have researched and read everything I possibly can.  That is how I learned that victims’ have rights and how I came across NCVLI.  

What have you learned while working at NCVLI?

Similar to the previous question, this is difficult for me to answer since I am always learning new things, but I think one of the biggest takeaways from this summer is learning how few people even know about victims’ rights. Unless you are fortunate enough to attend one of the few law schools where victims’ rights is taught or even mentioned by a professor, you could receive your JD and pass the bar without ever knowing they exist.  That is why NCVLI is so important and why it has been such a privilege to be a part of it, even if only for a few months.

What did you do while working at NCVLI?

I helped with preparation for the Crime Victim Law Conference, assisted victims when they contacted NCVLI for resources and referrals, and worked with the staff attorney’s on a range of assignments.

How has working at NCVLI impacted you?

I’ve known about NCVLI since I was a 14-year-old victim going through the criminal justice process.  It has been such an honor to work here, to finally meet Meg Garvin, Doug Beloof, and to listen and learn from some of my other heroes at the conference. I was geeking out the entire weekend, but tried my best to play it cool.  Being surrounded by these intelligent, driven, and kind individuals, observing first-hand the amount of work they put in and how much they truly believe in what they do has inspired me even more than I already was.

What did you like most about working at NCVLI?

The team, the work, it’s been a dream come true.