OXFORD, Miss. – Growing up in Como, it always bothered Trakevia Miller to see young African-American males, including some of her own family members, ending up in prison. She often wondered what she could do to end the cycle of violence and crime that hit so close to home.
Miller’s parents worked long and hard to support their family of six. They always encouraged their children to get a college education, something that was easier said than done. Miller started out at Northwest Community College in Senatobia and nearly dropped out. But after overcoming doubt, she completed her associate’s degree in general studies, making it on the honor roll and Dean’s List, and enrolled at the University of Mississippi.
Determined to pursue a career where she could make a difference, Miller chose a major in criminal justice with an emphasis on corrections and a minor in sociology. She is on track to graduate in December and plans to pursue a master’s degree and attend law school, all so she can become a defense attorney to help young people who find themselves in difficult situations.
When Tim Outlaw, warden at the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs, reached out to Ole Miss in search of interns for the company’s summer program, Linda Denise Keena, assistant professor of criminal justice, pointed him to Miller.
Management & Training Corp., which operates the Marshall County facility, quickly snatched up the senior, flying her to their corporate office in Centerville, Utah. The paid internship continues through the end of July and has given Miller tremendous experience and insight.
“This internship is priceless,” Miller said. “I have worked with some of the top executives at MTC who have been an incredible source of information and expertise. This internship brings me that much closer to my goals. And MTC has even offered me a job once I graduate. You can’t ask more of an internship!”
MTC, the third largest operator of correctional facilities, partners with the Mississippi Department of Corrections to operate all the state’s private prison facilities.
The company provides paid 11-week internships to nearly a dozen students each summer. Each intern is paired with mentor and is assigned meaningful projects during his or her stay with the company. In addition to networking meetings with MTC’s top executives, the interns tour one of the company’s Job Corps centers as well as a correctional facility.