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Internships Open Doors


Elijah Keopuhiwa-Carvalho ’25 has always had his eyes on a career in law enforcement. He had no idea just how far he would have to go to pursue that dream. Today, he finds himself five time zones away from his Hawaiian home to study criminal justice at Simpson.

What a journey it has been. He initially explored West Coast schools close to home, but quickly determined all those options were far too expensive. So, he extended his search across the mainland looking at all kinds of possibilities before striking gold (and red).

“Simpson was just one of the recommendations that popped up on my college application website,” said Keopuhiwa-Carvalho. “I really wanted to be a criminal justice major, and Simpson was the number one criminal justice program out of the 19 schools I applied to.”

Keopuhiwa-Carvalho says he absolutely made the right choice, speaking highly of Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Denise Leifker and the mentoring she has provided during his time here. He’s ecstatic about landing an internship with the Indianola Police Department (IPD) this fall as a junior — securing the one spot they had available.

He primarily does ride-along shifts with patrolling officers, giving him an insider’s view of their day-to-day encounters and responsibilities. He’s also getting the chance to shadow the school resource officer for Indianola Schools to get a glimpse of how he interacts with students.

The experiences are helping him make important connections between what he is learning in the classroom and the realities of working in law enforcement.

“Three years into my major, I know the basics of how laws work and are enforced,” said Keophuhiwa-Carvalho. “Now those things are beginning to show up in my internship. Whether it’s simply seeing how officers communicate with dispatch or recognizing signs of someone who is high on drugs, as I learned in class instruction, things are coming together.”

Combining his internship insights with other in-the-field experiences, such as his May Term class that featured visits to three different correctional facilities, Keopuhiwa-Carvalho says he has reinforced confidence in his professional plans.

“Going into this, I was hesitant about whether I would actually like it. But, I’ve had a blast, and this is looking like the career path I wanted since I was four years old.” Keopuhiwa-Carvalho says he is considering another internship before seeking a police officer position upon graduation in May 2025.