Colgate students have fanned out across the globe to apply their liberal arts know-how in a variety of real-world settings. They are writing back to campus to keep our community posted on their progress. This article was written by Madison Bailey ’18, a peace and conflict studies major from Wayne, Pa.
This summer, I am the development intern for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project (PIP) in Philadelphia. The PIP is a legal nonprofit that works to exonerate those convicted of crimes that they did not commit and to prevent wrongful convictions of innocent people.
I had heard about the Innocence Project before, most notably from its work with Steven Avery and the Netflix series Making a Murderer. The Innocence Project has revolutionized the criminal justice system in using DNA testing to exonerate the wrongfully convicted. In Pennsylvania alone there have been 57 exonerations since 1989 — four through PIP since its office was established in 2009 — with a total of 576.6 years lost by clients.
As the sole development intern at the PIP, I help to manage all marketing, communications, and advertising projects that arise. My responsibilities, therefore, vary greatly from day to day. In the few short weeks that I have been here, I have crafted graphics and marketing materials for fundraisers; managed social media accounts; built part of the website; created a Wikipedia page for our branch; written e-mails that were sent to 10,000+ supporters; and drafted press releases. On June 27, I was given the honor of drafting the official press release announcing the release of exonerated PIP client Crystal Weimer.
One of the most moving jobs that I have been involved with is helping a former client, Kenneth Granger, with his personal campaign for reintegration after he was wrongly imprisoned for 28 years. I work with Granger on a day-to-day basis, and I have found our interactions transformative, as they show me the current faults that exist in our criminal justice system. My interactions with Granger have also taught me that people who have been wrongly imprisoned in Pennsylvania receive no compensation from the state, a fact that I found startling.
I feel that I am making a difference in the world with the work that I have been a part of this summer, and it has helped me to narrow down what exactly I would like to do after graduating from Colgate. As I enter my junior year at Colgate, I know that I will take advantage of available resources to enable myself to potentially pursue a career in humanitarian law.