Erin Gallagher is a senior sociology major at Beloit College and is currently an intern at two internships: one with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a graphic design division officer, and the other at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office in Janesville, Wisconsin. Erin splits her time between schoolwork, her internships and at her job doing graphic design for her school’s library. She wants to pursue a law degree in Juris Doctor and Master of Social Work (JD/MSW) and eventually work on rehabilitating people in the criminal justice system.
Erin learned about the Digital Media Engagement (DME) Internship Program at the VA through a Facebook message that her uncle had sent her that made her interested to apply for a position on the graphic design team. Erin’s willingness to branch out to her community of Veterans in Wisconsin and Michigan enabled her to diversify her experience and knowledge outside of her graphic design work. After completing several #VeteransOfTheDay graphics (VODs), Erin moved on to #ContentCalender graphics and logos, her favorite being Center for Women Veterans (CWV).
Erin’s father was in the Army for 26-27 years and she remembers going to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) centers with her family while growing up. In high school, she frequently volunteered at VFWs and at a nursing home that had many Veterans. Erin said that she enjoys talking to Veterans because of the opportunities she has at getting their stories heard through social work and at the internship.
Her favorite project so far at the VA is the graphic she made for the Navy’s birthday, despite her father potentially being shocked because “he’s an Army man.” One of her favorite things at the internship is the interaction she gets with Veterans through interviews and also with other interns, supervisors and also being interviewed by Shannon for this podcast.
By the end of her time at the VA internship, Erin hopes to have made plenty of connections that she can later refer to for help, advice and direction in the future, and have made friends to meet with and visit them in their cities.