Connections count, especially when you are a recent college graduate, like Sara Velasquez, ’10. In her case, contacts made while a CSE student landed her jobs within her field of justice studies.
“At CSE, I had several opportunities to network within the justice field,” Sara says. “I worked with Professor Dave Aussicker on events for Deirdre’s House, and I also completed an internship for the Morris County Prosecutor’s office. Both proved helpful in my job search.”
Almost immediately after receiving her BA in Justice Studies with a legal concentration this past May, Sara landed a job with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office in Support Services. There, as coordinator of the Community Affairs Unit, she planned and coordinated events for the unit and acted as liaison for the Morris County Community connecting them to services within the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
A few months into that job, she received a call from a neighboring institution – Deirdre’s House – with another offer of employment. The Deidre’s House position, which she recently accepted, is more closely aligned with her skills and taps into her CSE minors of communication and victim services.
“We are very proud of Sara,” says Aussicker, Chair of the CSE Justice Studies Department. “She worked very hard as a student and took advantage of opportunities offered to her. Employers will truly benefit from her talent and energy.”
Sara is a child advocate at Deirdre’s House, the center for Morris County’s child victims of abuse and/or neglect, or those who have witnessed domestic violence. When a child victim comes to the house, Sara is the first person these children meet. Her job is to help them to feel comfortable and at home. The children may be at the center for a physical examination, an interview, or counseling; but all these services are provided in a house-like setting, complete with playrooms and a backyard. Sara is also the Morris County Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator. As such, Sara is in charge of coordinating case conference meetings in which various agencies, such as DYFS and the Prosecutor’s Office, come together in order to review cases, share and record case information, and address any issues or concerns that arise from a case.
“The children who come to see us have already been traumatized, so we want to provide a setting that is nurturing and calming,” Sara states, who also finds her bilingual skills helpful in reaching many of her young clients. “It is great that I can use the knowledge from my justice classes at Saint E’s and make a difference in young lives. This is what I went to school to do.”
CSE will always hold a special place for Sara. “I had a lot of support at CSE”, she recounts. “I was given opportunities to be involved and become a leader (she started the Justice Club and Justice Honors Society while here). CSE really made a difference for me … I would have been lost at a bigger school.”
Sara lives in Bloomfield, N.J., and will begin her Masters in Justice Administration and Public Service at CSE in January.