The Charger Blog

Criminal Justice Students Host Youth Justice Networking Event

As part of a service learning course, students organized a networking event that brought together local leaders and professionals in youth justice, enabling students to learn more about the field and make meaningful connections with those who share their passion for youth justice.

December 9, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Group image of students at the youth justice networking event.
The event enabled students to network with and learn from local youth justice professionals.

Maddy Mandeville ’22 is dedicated to helping others. A criminal justice major, she is particularly interested in youth justice, and she believes adults can make a meaningful impact in kids’ lives.

Mandeville, who will accept her degree as part of the University’s Winter Commencement, and her classmates in her “Exploring Delinquency” service learning class recently shared their passion for youth justice with the University community. The class hosted a networking event on campus that enabled students to connect with local leaders and professionals in the field of youth justice.

“This was important because not a lot of jobs are advertised in the field of youth justice,” said Mandeville. “This was a good way for students to see what their options are.”

The event brought together professionals and experts of diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise, including Richard Colangelo, Jr., the chief state’s attorney and an adjunct criminal justice professor at the University; Destiny Tolliver, a pediatrician and postdoctoral fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale; and Lorenzo Boyd, Ph.D., Stewart Professor in Criminal Justice and Community Policing at the University.

Image from the networking event.
Students were seated at tables with youth justice professionals.
‘My passion is for people’

Students were seated at tables with youth justice professionals, and they had the opportunity to learn more about their work and ask questions. Connecticut State Representative Robyn Porter discussed her work and her 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 the community,” 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 about youth justice with professionals, as they shared their own experiences, passions, and goals. William Carbone ’74 MPA, executive director of the University’s Tow Youth Justice Institute and a criminal justice lecturer, discussed how his early experiences in the field shaped his beliefs and continue to inform his work.

“Many kids are born into an environment where they don’t have support,” he said. “They are in homes that are very chaotic, and it’s a lot for them. I don’t believe in solitary confinement or restraints for kids.”

Image of the panel at the event.
Each guest spoke to students as part of a panel discussion.
‘I apply what I learned every day’

After the roundtable discussions, each guest spoke to students as part of a panel discussion, sharing their advice for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the field.

Veratisha Morey ’13, a correctional counselor for the Connecticut Department of Correction at the Bridgeport Correctional Center and a self-published author and editor, returned to her alma mater to be part of the event. She believes in the importance of education, saying it is critical to helping kids succeed and that it has been important in her own life.

“Juveniles are not short adults,” said Morey, who has also served as a juvenile detention officer for 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 the same as adults. Kids need role models. Kids 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 career.”

Image of Danielle Cooper and Lorenzo Boyd with guests.
Dr. Danielle Cooper (left) and Dr. Lorenzo Boyd (right) with guests.
‘One of my favorite professors’

Hosted by the “Exploring Delinquency” class, the Tow Youth Justice Institute, and the Connecticut Justice Alliance, the event was planned by the seven students taking the course.

“For me, it’s about student empowerment,” said Danielle Cooper, Ph.D., CPP, an associate professor and director of research for the Tow Youth Justice Institute and the students’ instructor. “This event was a direct effort of the students, it was engaged service learning. This was what the students wanted to do, and it was their final public project and a great way to explore delinquency.”

Mandeville, the soon-to-be criminal justice graduate, helped lead the panel discussion. She enjoyed being a part of the event, and she says this service learning class has been particularly impactful.

“Dr. Cooper is one of my favorite professors,” she said. “She dives into the curriculum, and she uses real-life stories. It was great to host this event. You can’t necessarily change an adult, but you can impact a kid’s life.”