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Community-Engaged Learning: An HSS Student Fights Violence in Trenton

Colleen Warwick, photo by Jaryd Frankel
Colleen Warwick, photo by Jaryd Frankel

Senior Criminology major, Colleen Warwick pushed her academic interests to the next level. She took on a summer workload more impressive than most with a position working for the Trenton Violence Reduction Strategy (TVRS). Colleen shares her success story with us:

HSS: What is TVRS and how did you get involved this summer in an internship?

 

CW: TVRS stands for “Trenton Violence Reduction Strategy,” it is a program under the Attorney General that received a grant from the state to create programs for high risk individuals who have previous records and have most likely served some type of time in prison. I got involved because the head of the Criminology department, Dr Bruce Stout, would forward emails about internship opportunities and this one caught my eye, so I met with Dr Stout and decided to apply.

HSS: What work / projects did you do for TVRS? How does this fit in with your academic and professional goals?

CW: A lot of the work I did throughout the summer was very hands on in the effort to further this program. My boss, Pat Donohue, gave me and my fellow interns projects that he wanted developed for proposal to the board for possible funding. The work we were doing had the potential to turn into a real program that would be used by TVRS to benefit the clients currently enrolled in the program.

For example, a more extensive project we completed was a proposal for a “Safe Haven” in a more rough neighborhood in Trenton. This safe haven would include extracurricular activities for kids, as well as skills programs for adults, and support groups for anyone. This work fit into my academic and professional goals because it was work that was aimed to truly better a dangerous city and the people that live there.

 

HSS: How do you hope that this experience will project you into your professional future?

CW: I believe this experience will help me in my professional future because it exposed me to many different types of work that I am interested in. I was able to see a social work aspect, a planning and executing aspect, as well as being exposed to current difficulties in the city of Trenton.

Many times people assume I want to go into law enforcement because I am a criminology major, but what I would truly like to pursue is a career in preventing the massive amounts of crime that go on rather than responding to a crime that has already happened.

 

HSS: What advice do you have for students looking to get involves in similar work?

My advice for students who want to get involved with similar type of work is to explore all your options. Internships are a great way to figure out exactly what you want to do in the future, and most importantly what you want to accomplish with your future profession. I believe that once you figure out what profession you want to pursue, it is important to then think of what you want to accomplish with that profession.

 

Interview by Jack Meyers

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