e polanco imgMajors and Minors: Criminal Justice and Political Science, Psychology and Criminology

Year: 2016

Why did you choose X as your major?

The decision to major in Criminal Justice and Political Science came naturally as I have always been interested in learning about the social and political theories that help to shape our creation of laws and societal norms. Furthermore, I wanted to explore how the study of law and crime paired with the psychology of human behavior influences our society, justice and legal systems.

What did you like most about it?

My collegiate experience helped to fundamentally change the way that I gather information, process that information, and relate it back to my surroundings. Since I was able to study law and crime from a criminal justice perspective, a political perspective, and a psychological perspective, in a more boarder sense, I was taught how to tackle challenges at multiple angles. This is a trait that has proven itself invaluable as I continue to make strides in my professional career.

What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am currently employed by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). My title is a Bilingual Family Service Specialist within the Adoption Unit. Working for DCP&P has been both challenging and overwhelmingly fulfilling. I have been granted the opportunity to meet with families and children at their most vulnerable state and have a responsibility to connect them to appropriate services, concrete supports, and community resources. It is my expectation that these efforts will help to foster an environment that supports the well-being, safety, and success of each family and child that I serve.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

I began my career with DCP&P in the Permanency Unit shortly after graduating from Rutgers. In the early spring before graduation, I attended a Career Fair Event at Rutgers which introduced me to a recruiter from DCP&P. As the hiring process can be exhaustive and intensive, I became officially employed by DCP&P several months thereafter.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?

I transitioned from a position in the Permanency Unit to the Adoption Unit within DCP&P after receiving the support and recommendation of my superiors.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

During my time at Rutgers, the Criminal Justice Program offered a curriculum that challenged my preconceived notions about law, crime and society in a way that allowed me to broaden my understanding of the dynamics that shape the everyday functioning of our society. Moreover, I was given the opportunity to work as a Student Assistant in the Criminal Justice Program through the work-study program which allowed me regular access to Criminal Justice professors and staff. I attribute my current successes in large part to this experience because these professors and staff provided me with an overwhelming amount of support and guidance throughout my entire academic career at Rutgers.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

As a recent Rutgers alum fresh into the workforce, the best advice I can offer is to take advantage of every resource offered by Rutgers. Rutgers offers a variety of resources including: program or department specific events, academic workshops, internship and/or volunteer opportunities, career fairs, networking events, or even social gatherings. Reach out to academic advisors, program coordinators, or student organizations and inquire about such events because each is a unique opportunity to gain meaningful academic and professional connections for those seeking to enter the workforce.

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