What It’s Like to Be A Criminal Justice Major at Marist

I’ve always had trouble making decisions. When faced with 100 flavors, I want to try each one (I’ve been banned from the frozen yogurt place). With nearly 100 Undergraduate Programs of Study, Marist has an exciting range of fields to explore. I want to learn more about all of them, one major at a time.

Valeria Corral is a sophomore here at Marist. She’s a Criminal Justice major with a Political Science minor, also pursuing her paralegal certificate. I spoke with her to learn more about her experience.

Q: What inspired you to be a Criminal Justice major?

A: I always knew that I wanted to do something after school that would really impact people’s lives. I don’t want to just sit at a desk all day doing paperwork; I want to be out there helping people. Especially as a woman of color, I felt like my experiences and knowledge could be a great addition to the field and help those most impacted by the criminal justice system.

Q: What’s been your favorite class so far?

A: The most interesting class I took was “Corrections.” Sometimes when you take Criminal Justice classes, it can be a lot of definitions. In Corrections, we learn all those things, but we learn more about the issues that come along with Criminal Justice practices. Like, the real-life consequences of what we do. Some of the stuff just blew me away. For example, depending on the severity of your crime, if you’re giving birth in prison, you can still be restrained and denied epidurals during your labor. That’s just crazy. That’s still a woman giving birth, her experience is no different just because she’s incarcerated.

Q: Has there been a class that you found particularly difficult?

I’d say the most difficult was probably Criminal Law. It’s easy to take notes on what each law means, but way more difficult to apply them to real life situations, and that’s the skill the class focused on developing.

Q: Have you worked on a project or assignment that particularly interested you?

A: I did my Honors-by-Contract with my Corrections professor. We essentially studied when and how the U.S. Immigration system became so criminalized. I examined the policies of past political administrations and how politicians spoke about immigrants. I looked at every U.S. President since Eisenhower. I wanted to see where that turning point was, where it became a more criminal issue.

Q: What are your plans after Marist?

I’m planning on going to law school after I graduate Marist. It’s a little intimidating as a first generation college student to think I’ll be put in a situation where I don’t have outside resources to help me throughout the process, while everyone else seems to have so many connections within the legal world. But I believe I have a unique perspective to offer the field.

Q: This is my final, most important question. Do you like Law & Order?

A: Of course. I love that show.

About Marist

Located on the banks of the historic Hudson River and at its Florence, Italy branch campus, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Marist is consistently recognized for excellence by The Princeton Review (Colleges That Create Futures and The Best 384 Colleges), U.S. News & World Report (8th Best Regional University/North), Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (“Best College Values”), and others. Marist educates approximately 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students in 47 undergraduate majors and numerous graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees.

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