Sociology, concentration in Criminology
The inner workings of the justice system
As a student in the Criminology concentration of the Sociology Department at Bishop’s University, William Hébert-Vendramini has developed an interest in how ordinary people can wrongfully end up on the wrong side of a conviction.
As he is making plans to pursue a law degree after he graduates from Bishop’s, he decided to apply to the B.E.S.T. Project Fund to see if he could deepen his knowledge of the justice system and gain critical experience in the field.
Indeed, William will be working for the Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. Though the Innocence Project is headquartered in New York City, the 22-year-old student will be spending the summer at their Honolulu, Hawaii chapter.
“It’s incredible that I can participate in something significant like this,” says William. “I didn’t even know that a school could do something like that for students!”
The Dorval, Quebec native will be working side by side with lawyers and law students. “I’ll be shadowing the entire appeals process where I’ll learn how to prepare cases, what goes into the appeals process, how a law firm functions, and how lawyers treat cases.”
He continues: “I’ll be helping with research in cases where the inmate was wrongfully convicted. I’ll have the opportunity to see how inmates are contacted and updated on their appeals process.”
There’s no doubt that B.E.S.T. is helping William prepare for a successful career in law, and he thinks the fund can help students in other disciplines as well. “B.E.S.T. helps students prepare for what they want to do after they graduate. Sometimes a student can’t fully discover and understand what they want to do in their career when they’re still in university. Having an opportunity like this really helps, because it exposes us to what we hope to be involved with.”
William’s perspective on his project goes beyond the benefits he will reap professionally. “B.E.S.T. is giving me the opportunity to represent Bishop’s University abroad. I believe it’s up to us students to uphold that image. Communicating and being part of this group is helping us become better acquainted with what it means to be a global citizen.”