What does the N.Y. State Division of Human Rights do?
The division investigates discrimination complaints that fall under the jurisdiction of the New York State Human Rights Law, which covers various protected classes such as gender, race/color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, domestic violence victim status, and religion.
How did you learn about this opportunity?
I discovered this internship while seeking employment opportunities to gain experience in the legal profession. Many of my classes at Hamilton incorporated discussions about discriminatory practices and how they have become harder to prosecute under the law. Interested in learning more about systems and patterns of discrimination and the agencies that combat it, I sought out this internship with the Division of Human Rights.
What were your responsibilities?
This summer I’ve worked with human rights specialists helping review and analyze discrimination complaints. Although the office is not currently open to the public, I interacted with members of the community by processing intake calls. I listened to the caller’s story and, after consulting a specialist, informed them if their complaint fell under the jurisdiction of the agency. From there, I explained the process of filing a complaint or referred them to other resources.
I also worked on case analyses, attended fact-finding conferences, and drafted Federal Investigative Reports and Bases of Discrimination (FIRABOD for short). I enjoyed writing case analyses because they gave me an opportunity to provide my perspective on the case. The analysis allowed me to compile evidence to support whether I believed there to be probable cause for unlawful discrimination.
Niamh McDade-Clay ’25
Intended major: Sociology
Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
High School: Brighton High School
What did you gain from this experience?
This experience immersed me in the practice of human rights law and helped me hone my writing and communication skills. It granted me a deeper understanding of the legal process and encouraged me to pursue future opportunities in the field of public policy and public interest law.
I am an intended sociology major and a Hispanic studies and a jurisprudence, law and justice studies double minor. I plan to attend law school following graduation from Hamilton. I am grateful to the Summer Internship Funding Committee and the Diversity and Social Justice Project Fund for making this opportunity possible. I am grateful to the kind, talented, and hardworking staff at the New York State Division of Human Rights who created an exciting and rewarding experience. I know wherever my studies lead me, the skills and insights I gained from this experience will help me succeed.