Sacred Heart student to intern at Princeton

Fairfield-jamesSacred Heart University student Chenelle James of Bridgeport is spending the coming summer as an intern at Princeton University in New Jersey.

The internship program involves taking classes such as economics, statistics and public policy that prepare students for graduate-level academic success. The program focuses on enhancing research skills and developing policy memos.

With a career in public policy in mind, James hopes someday to open a facility for troubled youth. She recalled her own troubles growing up in public housing in Bridgeport with an absent father and a single mother raising four children.

“Life was a daily struggle with poverty, poor housing, violence, joblessness and hopelessness,” James said. “Few would graduate high school and even fewer would attend college.”

Although faced with adversity growing up, James credits her mother, who stressed the importance of education, for getting her to college. She remembers her mother always telling her family to “keep God first in everything you do.”

James recalls times where she questioned her ability to persevere through tough times.

“I knew that in time, I would either succumb to these factors or overcome the obstacles to transcend the negative perceptions and stereotypes that sought to define my identity and rob me of my aspirations,” she said.

James is majoring in criminal justice with a minor in sociology. After Sacred Heart University, she would like to attend a graduate program in either criminal justice or social work.

“I have a desire to make a difference in the life of inner city youths,” she said. “I would eventually like to pursue a public service career in the juvenile justice field.”

James believes that this opportunity at Princeton University will strengthen her ability to create policies, practices and programs designed to reduce juvenile crimes, delinquencies and improve outcomes for juvenile offenders.

“I want to be instrumental in ending the cycle from juvenile offender to adult offender,” she said.

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