Originally from Thailand and now residing in Albany, N.Y., senior criminal justice major Day Day Poe successfully completed an internship with the Albany Police Department. Utilizing his knowledge from Niagara, along with his language skills and cultural background, Day Day not only gained internship experience, he in turn assisted the police department bridge a cultural gap. After graduation, Day Day will be serving in the United States Army as an active duty chemical corps officer.
How did you secure the opportunity?
Two years ago I met Lt. Melissa Gipson, who works in the Neighborhood Engagement Unit at the Albany Police Department, in a community meeting event where I helped her to interpreted local Karen Refugee elders and members in the Albany community. She was thrilled after finding out that I could speak the Karen language and was majoring in criminal justice in college. Not long after the meeting, Lt. Gipson introduced me to Police Officer Brian Mascaro, and Officer Mascaro ensured that I get front loaded whenever my school gives me the opportunity to do an internship that would allow me to earn course credit.
What did you do on a daily basis?
I planned out community events on a daily basis for the Karen Refugee Community and the Albany Police Department to improve their relationship in the community in order for both parties to bury the cultural barriers. Every Thursday night, however, I was assigned to observed local youths at PAL for their Police Explore Program.
Most importantly, what did you learn?
Throughout this internship, I’ve learned how to work with so many people from different backgrounds in just one community. Albany is very diverse and filled with immigrants and refugees from all over the world. Sometimes this could be a major issue for the law enforcement to properly do their daily job because of a language and/or cultural barrier.
As an example, a Karen refugee was mistreated by a police officer at refugee camp, so whenever they see police officers in America, their instinct tells them to avoid eye contact or run away from the police, but what they don’t know is their action seems suspicious to the police officers and this is when things could go wrong between the two parties. I’ve learned that the Albany Police Department is doing an excellent job burying these barriers by performing community policing and finding interns like myself to help them understand more about the culture and assist with languages when a non-English speaker comes across a police officer.
What advice do you have for future students?
There are so many great opportunities here at Niagara University, so go out and get it! Know that you will never be alone because you will always have professors that will guide you towards success.
How did NU's Office of Career Services help you?
Through my professor, Dr. Taylor, I was introduced to Stephanie Morris in Career Services. She helped me register for my internship and answered additional questions that I had.