“A Unique Opportunity to Apply What I’ve Learned” – Jarrod Ryan interns with NB Child and Youth Advocate

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Jarrod Ryan is seeing firsthand how the treaties and human rights he’s studied in class impact real cases at the office of the New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate.

The fourth-year student is working as an intern at the office and is taking advantage of the practical experience and opportunity to apply his knowledge to local current issues.

“In class you learn theory and talk hypotheticals, whereas here I’m working on actual cases that are ongoing,” he said.

“It’s a really cool opportunity to see how these rights progress throughout these cases and then to apply my knowledge of treaties and human rights law to Canada’s domestic obligations, provincial obligations, and municipal obligations.”

Ryan spends 10 hours a week with the New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate working on legal research, general research on provincial strategies for Alzheimer’s and dementia—a part of the office’s dual-mandate—and writing child rights impact assessments.

“When an issue arises I write an assessment saying what rights are implicated in the situation and how they can be better upheld,” he said. “It’s really cool that I get to do individual case work because it’s something undergraduate students don’t see a lot.”

Ryan learned early on in his internship the importance of asking questions. Working alongside Gavin Kotze, director of systemic advocacy, has provided ample opportunities for growth.

“This is very much a learning experience for me and they’ve been very helpful,” he said. “This work has real-world implications and you need to be meticulous. You need to make sure you’re producing quality work.”

Through his internship, the Human Rights and Law, Politics, and Society student has developed research and communication skills and earned professional experience that will benefit him when he graduates—especially if he goes to law school.

“I’m starting to see all of the knowledge that I’ve gained through my degree translate into an ability to make real-world contributions,” he said. “My time at the office of the Child and Youth Advocate has provided me with a unique opportunity to apply what I’ve learned in my courses to ongoing issues facing our community.”

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