Kathryn Russell '11 - Criminal Justice/Psychology


Many young adults decide on college because they want to expand their horizons and see the world. Kathryn Russell '11 took that decision to heart...and quite literally.

Not only did the Bend, Oregon native travel over 3,000 miles across the country to attend Curry College back in 2007, but she recently took a trip around the world to study abroad as well.

A Psychology and Criminal Justice double major, Russell decided in her junior year to take a semester at sea. The 12 credit class, taken through another university but credited fully through Curry, was a whirlwind boat trip to 14 different countries, spending 2 to 4 days in each country studying various cultures.

"It was a sampler of stops where we had a chance to explore some of the medical, legal and mental health institutions in other countries. It was certainly eye-opening and a great way to compare cultural techniques between the U.S. and other nations," she recalled.

In India, Russell volunteered at a mental hospital and visited a schizophrenic research center. While in the country of Mauritius, Africa she observed the female prison system from the inside. She also had a chance to interact with local institutions in Japan as well, among other places.

Russell feels the trip strengthened the education she is currently receiving in both of her majors at Curry.

"Psychology is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. The teachers are the best. They know and appreciate what you are going through as far as college life goes and they guide you every step of the way."

"As far as the Criminal Justice program, the professors all have professional experience; judges, cops, D.A.s, etc. And they are so passionate about what they do, which in turn makes me want to be passionate in my career."

Russell has also taken her involvement on campus outside the classroom. Her position as a resident assistant parallels the ideals taught in each of her concentrations.

"Being an RA is great work experience, it's a little bit of everything. I get to interact with new students and help facilitate their first-year experience. We help them find their way around campus and give them advice on professors and which classes to take. We are also a shoulder to cry on, a friend and in some cases a policy enforcer."

One reason Russell chose Curry was due to the terrific support structure provided by the school's renowned Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL).

"The PAL program at Curry College has helped me to become a strong writer and has given me the confidence to ask for help when I need it."

"I was super ashamed about being dyslexic in high school, now I am proud to tell my story to others with the same learning disorders, and let them know that with PAL, they can do anything if they put their mind to it."

Russell's ultimate goal is to become a therapist in a juvenile detention center, citing the fact that many young offenders have gone their whole lives with undocumented learning disabilities.

"I want to help young people with learning issues turn their lives around, get them out of the criminal justice system and into schools or other programs. It's something that would have a double effect of helping them and society at the same time."

In the meantime, she continues to be bitten by the travel bug and plans on joining the Peace Corps in Africa after graduation.


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