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Nagely Castro- Student Reporter

Among the 40 plus undergraduate liberal arts majors offered at Rutgers-Newark, criminal justice remains popular with students. Various different programs and student organizations are often advertised to students around campus but one community that seems to get lost in the crowd is the CJ community. 

I spoke to Isaiah Heredia, a second-year student majoring in criminal justice and psychology. After living in New York City for the past nineteen years of his life he was looking for a change. He found Rutgers Newark from a Google search on colleges with the best criminal justice programs and he applied to the top six on the list. Heredia was accepted into the Honors Living-Learning Community, HLLC, here at Rutgers-Newark providing him with a housing scholarship and the freedom to pursue his career in criminal justice. 

Before settling on CJ, Heredia considered a career as an architect. Throughout his second and third year in high school he participated in the ACE (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) Mentorship where he received hands-on experience from the same people that worked on the construction of Fulton Street Station in Manhattan, NYC. Heredia talked about how he eventually “fell out of love with it[architecture]” after experiencing the professional environment of an architect. One of the main reasons he started looking into different careers after the mentorship was that he felt out of place and could not picture himself committing to this profession in the long run. 

On the other hand, after taking the Criminology course offered at Rutgers with Professor Shaun Winter who often discussed his own personal experience in the field, Heredia grew more excited about his decision to switch to Criminal Justice. He could better picture himself pursuing a career in something like business security. He shared that he “would love to work for the FBI or CIA” and anticipates more job opportunities by double majoring with psychology and CJ.

Professor Winter’s enthusiasm during the weekly three-hour lectures played a role in sticking with the major. Isaiah has so far enjoyed the content and insight he receives from his courses here and considers it valuable to his success in the field. 

Other ways that Isaiah has been able to involve himself with the CJ community on campus is by participating and attending the general body meetings held by the Criminal Justice Club. Heredia enjoyed being a member of the club and now plans to “run for Vice President [this] upcoming fall semester”. An advisor from the HLLC recently shared a couple career accelerating opportunities with Heredia including a Pre Law group started by the HLLC and a 3-day CIA Boot Camp in the summer. Heredia’s experience as a CJ student at Rutgers-Newark has been positive thus far and simply states that he hopes “to see an continued expansion of the career opportunities and experiences offered to students and is eager to see the community grow stronger as students in the field get the recognition they deserve for all their accomplishments”.