Heading straight to work after high school, Angela Ricard didn’t think she would need a college degree. But, she always knew she wanted to serve her community.
“I knew I wanted to become a police officer or to work somewhere within in the criminal justice field, and growing up, I didn’t think I would ever need a degree,” recalls Angela. “In my family, not everyone went to college, it wasn’t an automatic next step - so I hadn’t even considered the option.”
That all changed for Angela after working for many years in the criminal justice field. She was making a difference for her neighbors every day, and yet, she knew she wanted to get to the next level in her career.
“I learned just how important having your degree is,” recalls Angela. “The skills you learn are things employers seek. You learn to be committed to a goal, to research solutions, to meet deadlines. And after I had my family, I knew I wanted to set a good example for my children.”
As a Probation Case Specialist at Orleans District Court in Massachusetts, Angela is working toward her goal of becoming a probation officer.
After going back to school for her associate degree, Angela chose to earn her bachelor’s in Criminal Justice at Curry College’s Plymouth campus.
“The generous transfer credit policy is the #1 reason I chose Curry. I was able to complete my bachelor’s in just 1 year,” notes Angela.
Angela is a big proponent of supporting women seeking new opportunities, just as she did. In fact, she helped launch the first-ever Barnstable County Motherhood Program; a 12-week rehabilitative program for court-involved mothers on Cape Cod. Each week, speakers share valuable life lessons and resources on topics from nutrition to self-care.
“Rehabilitation is my passion. I’ve learned so much from the women I have worked with, it’s really inspiring,” Angela shares.
Angela credits her current career path to the supportive experience she found at Curry.
“I loved Curry – the faculty were so helpful. I stayed after class a number of times, and they were also readily available via phone or email. Living on the Cape, I didn’t have to go to Boston to get a reputable, quality education.”
Angela was also able to expand her professional network and is still in touch with many of her classmates working in criminal justice roles throughout the state.
“I loved Nancy, my advisor, too – the advising experience is awesome at Curry. She made sure I stayed on track, and helped me choose the classes I’d need to fast-track my degree.”
And how do her three children feel about Mom’s commitment to her education?
“My kids are so proud. Commencement was such a moving moment for me. They now see just how important it is to get your degree – and that there is no wrong time to do it.”
Angela’s next step? She is currently earning her Master’s in Criminal Justice through UMASS Lowell online. She recently passed the Massachusetts probation officer exam and is interviewing for assistant probation officer roles.
As she continues to pursue her dream, Angela is often inspired by a famous Winston Churchill quote:
“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”
And what does Angela say to those who’ve also felt the “tap on the shoulder” to advance their careers?
“Absolutely go back to school. Curry is there to help you make it work.”
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