Danielle Stewart, Master of Science in Criminal Justice Concentration in Criminal Behavior
Current occupation: Juvenile Correctional Officer
What made you decide to pursue your degree as an adult?
I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in life. I graduated with my Bachelors early and felt like there was so much more for me to do. I’ve always had a passion for the criminal justice system but never knew how I wanted to contribute to it. Getting my Master’s just seemed like the right thing to do. I’m going to be the youngest in my family to have a Master’s Degree and I plan to continue my education and pursue a Law Degree. Working with troubled juveniles in a direct care setting encouraged me to go further and find an even deeper way to help them. I hope to use my educational background to pursue criminal law or family/juvenile law.
Why did you choose to study at Tiffin University?
I had no idea what university to choose for an online program. I knew I couldn’t physically go to classes because of my lifestyle and necessity to work. I honestly found Tiffin by Googling the top, most affordable, online criminal justice programs for a Master’s Degree. As I was scrolling, I found Tiffin.
I researched the school’s website, the types of courses offered, and tuition fees. Everything seemed to line up perfectly with what I was looking for. In addition, every administrator that I spoke to whether they were admissions, professors, registrar, or the dean, all were very helpful and timely when responding back. I knew that I would have great success with the first impression that I was fortunate to experience.
I knew that I would have great success with the first impression that I was fortunate to experience.
What has been your experience with the program so far?
The program is very consistent. Each term has a very similar format, and every class has the same due dates. That alone is what helped me succeed in my program. I never had to second guess when anything was due. Major projects were always due on Sundays, and discussions were due on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The professors have been great. I’ve only had one professor that I struggled with, but ultimately she was challenging me to advocate for myself and taught me much more than I thought I was going to learn in that class. I found an appreciation for all of my professors. They made me push myself to limits I never would have back in undergrad, and because of that, I went from a 2.4 GPA in undergrad to maintaining a 4.0 in grad school.
What keeps you motivated to stay in the program?
One of the greatest motivators in this program is the accelerated program that is offered at Tiffin. I didn’t know when I applied/enrolled that it was an accelerated program. Once I found out, nothing was stopping me from earning my degree. The school/assignment schedule made it easier to maintain. Honestly, my future goals and aspirations kept me motivated to finish strong. I come from a split family. I’m half black and half white. The white side of my family always thought I was going to struggle in life because I am a person of color. That just motivated me to prove them wrong, and be the youngest in the family to earn a Master’s Degree (23 years old). As for the black side of my family, I will be the first person to graduate with a Master’s Degree. My older sister was the first to graduate with her Bachelor’s. So, knowing that we have made a name for ourselves in our families is the most rewarding feeling and the biggest motivator out there.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about going back to school?
The biggest piece of advice I can give to future students is to find your passion. I didn’t find it until I graduated with my Bachelor’s and began my Master’s. You want to do something you love, not because society says it’s the best thing to do, or your family pressures you to do so. Do it for you because if you’re passionate about something, success automatically comes along with it. You automatically manage your time and prioritize your life because you have a desire to dig deep into your passion. Don’t be afraid to take a risk.
TU’s motto is: Without risk there is no gain. Can you tell us about a time when you took a risk and what you gained from it?
I’m currently taking a huge risk in life right now. I’m about to resign from my current job in Denver, CO to move to Houston, TX without knowing exactly what it is I’ll be doing there. My sister lives there and she knows I’m working on going to Law school. She has opened up her home to me and my two dogs where I can study for the LSAT and live rent-free. Leaving my job is a huge risk. Going to Law school is a huge risk, but I know in the end I will be happy with my successes, have an amazing educational background, have many experiences both good and bad, and I will be doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I will be a part of the criminal justice system, making a difference, and helping people who truly need my help.