Paola Aguilar

Paola Aguilar

PAYETTE COUNTY — While members of Payette High School’s 2019 graduating class were preparing this week to receive their diplomas before launching themselves toward new horizons, a high-achieving 2011 grad was back home in Payette, settling in for a summer internship here with the Payette County Prosecutor’s Office.

Paola Aguilar, a student of the University of Idaho College of Law, began her own post-high school launch with two years of college at Washington State University in Pullman. Later she completed two more years at UI in Moscow before entering the UI College of Law and attending classes at the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center, located in the historic Ada County Courthouse adjacent to the Idaho Capitol in Boise.

Payette County Prosecutor Ross Pittman said it’s not unusual for the Prosecutor’s Office to host a summer intern, but it’s somewhat remarkable to be hosting one who’s from Payette. Pittman, who grew up in Payette County, interned with the Gem County Prosecutor’s Office.

As an intern, Aguilar gains valuable experience while she puts in basically full-time hours with the county prosecutor’s operation, but she earns no college course credits. She said an externship she’ll be performing this fall in the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office will be good for 12 credits, however.

She is on track to graduate next spring with her juris doctorate.

Aguilar said she took her bachelor’s degree in political science “because I was interested in politics.”

She said she likes the Palouse and enjoyed her time at WSU, but after a couple of years of paying the out-of-state tuition she needed to return home and find employment that enabled her to rebuild her educational cash reserves.

She said she then worked two years in New Plymouth at Internet Truckstop, where she discovered she had an aptitude and liking for information technology. She realized she could probably pursue it successfully as a career, but she couldn’t bring herself to cast aside her dream of becoming a lawyer.

“I learned how to do some IT. It’s good experience, and I learned a lot. … I like it, but it’s not my passion,” Aguilar said.

While there’s no reason to assume that Aguilar will ever seek employment with the Payette County Prosecutor’s Office, there’s also no denying that strong professional ties can be forged through internships. A case in point is Payette County’s most recently hired deputy prosecutor, Michael Duke, who gained the staff position last fall. Previously, Duke performed an internship with the Prosecutor’s Office in 2017, and after he graduated from law school in spring of 2018 he served the office again as an intern while he was waiting to take his bar exam.

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