As part of the Service Learning course, the students organized a networking event that brought together local leaders and professionals in the field of youth justice, enabling students to learn more about the field and make meaningful connections with those who share their passion for achieving youth justice.
December 9, 2021
Maddy Mandeville ’22 is dedicated to helping others. Majoring in criminal justice, she is particularly interested in youth justice, and she believes that adults can have a beneficial impact in children’s lives.
Mandeville, who will be accepting her degree as part of the university’s winter start, and colleagues in the service education class Exploring Perversion recently shared their passion for youth justice with the university community. The class hosted a campus networking event that enabled students to network with local leaders and youth justice professionals.
“This was significant because not many youth justice jobs were advertised,” Mandeville said. “This was a good way for the students to learn about their options.”
The event brought together professionals and experts from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise, including Richard Colangelo, Jr., state attorney general and associate professor of criminal justice at the university; Destiny Tolliver, a pediatrician and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the National Program for Physician Scientists at Yale University; and Lorenzo Boyd, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice and Community Policing at Stewart University.
my passion for people
Students sat at tables with young justice professionals and had the opportunity to learn more about their work and ask questions. Connecticut State Representative Robin Porter discussed her work and outreach efforts, as well as the importance of balancing it with her family and her life outside of work.
“My passion is for people and society,” she said. “Finding balance is different for all of us. Balance is your peace.”
The event enabled students and professionals to have in-depth discussions on youth justice with professionals, sharing their own experiences, passions, and goals. William Carbone ’74 MPA, executive director of the university’s Youth Justice Institute and lecturer in criminal justice, discussed how his early experiences in the field shaped his beliefs and continued to inform his work.
“Many children are born into an environment where they do not have support,” he said. They live in very cluttered homes, which is a lot for them. I don’t believe in solitary confinement or restrictions on children.”
“I apply what I have learned every day”
After the roundtable discussions, each guest spoke to the students as part of a panel discussion, and shared their advice for students interested in pursuing a career in the field.
Viratisha Morey ’13, a correctional counselor for the Connecticut Department of Corrections at Bridgeport Correctional Center and a self-published author and editor, is back at her alma mater to be part of the event. She believes in the importance of education, saying that it was critical to helping children succeed and that it was important in her own life.
“Juveniles are not short adults,” said Morey, who also served as a juvenile detention officer with the Connecticut Court Support Services Division, and as a social worker and investigator for the Department of Children and Families. “You can’t treat them like adults. Children need role models. Children in the juvenile justice system need help, and we need to be the help they need. What I learned in my classes at the University of New Haven makes sense, and I apply what I learned every day in my professional life.”
“One of my favorite teachers”
Hosted by Exploring Perversion, Two Youth Justice Institute, Connecticut Justice Alliance, the event was planned by the seven students who participated in the course.
“For me, it’s about empowering students,” said Danielle Cooper, Ph.D., CPP, associate professor and director of research at the Tow Youth Justice Institute and student educator. “This event was a direct effort by the students, and it was an interactive service education. It was what the students wanted to do, and this was their last year project and a great way to explore deviance.”
Mandeville, a soon-to-be criminal justice graduate, helped lead the panel discussion. She enjoyed being part of the event, and says the service learning class was particularly impactful.
“Dr. Cooper is one of my favorite teachers,” Dr. said. “She dives into the curriculum, and uses real-life stories. It was great to host this event. You can’t necessarily change an adult, but you can affect a child’s life.”