Jessica Huerta '18 | University of Portland

Jessica Huerta '18

Victim Advocate at the Washington County District Attorney’s Office

Jessica Huerta“This summer, I am working as a victim advocate in Hillsboro, Oregon. I work with all types of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and more by providing emotional and informational support during hearings and the grand jury process. I also assist with safety planning and provide referrals to community resources. In addition to these responsibilities, I assist staff with file set-up, make informational phone calls to victims, and compose case status notification and disposition letters. 

As a victim advocate, I have learned to be careful with the type of language we use when talking to victims because some topics may be sensitive or traumatizing to talk about. There is a lot of file preparation involved in a grand jury and we work to make sure that victims know their rights. I have learned so much in this internship from my coworkers. They have helped become a better advocate and understand how the system works.

Internships are important for undergraduate students not only to have some type of experience to put on resumes, but also to get a feel for their future career. It gives you an idea if this is the path you still want to follow. I applied for this internship because I wanted to branch out and experience the different fields that the county offers and I thought it was a great way to explore options and gain connections to eventually achieve my career goal of becoming a forensic biologist.”