Berkeley Today Stories

Huda Shalabi, Michael Smith

Pursuing Justice – a Degree with Purpose for Berkeley College Graduate

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Huda Shalabi had always aspired to a career in law enforcement. While thinking about how to achieve her goal, she learned about the Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice at Berkeley College.

When she first toured Berkeley College in Woodland Park, NJ, she was enticed by the array of potential options offered by the Justice Studies – Criminal Justice program, including classes in forensic science, cybercrime, or criminal law. More importantly, she was excited for the opportunity to learn from professors with real experience in the field. “The support and guidance from my professors made me confident I could accomplish anything,” she said.

Ms. Shalabi was sometimes challenged by balancing commitments to her courses with a commitment to helping out her family in Paterson, NJ. As one of 11 siblings she was often responsible for assisting her parents, who relocated to America from Palestine in 1989, with getting her younger sisters and brothers off to different schools. However, she found a solution – by avoiding scheduling very early morning classes she was able to balance family obligations and school work.

With a curriculum that covers criminal law, the role of law enforcement, and the causes of crime, Ms. Shalabi was able to apply what she was learning in a practical way through an internship with the Paterson Police Department. The internship, coordinated by her career counselor at Berkeley College, led to an offer to work as a dispatcher. While she decided to turn down the position due to scheduling conflicts, she continues to gain experience with the department through volunteering. “I’m accomplishing a goal that I have wanted to achieve since I was a little kid,” she said.

Ms. Shalabi’s memorable moments of her time at Berkeley include being inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success, serving as Treasurer of the Student Government Association, and being named to the President’s List every semester. Most of all, she looks forward to graduation. “To walk up and receive my degree at commencement, knowing that all of this hard work has paid off, means the world to me.”

Ms. Shalabi doesn’t plan to stop with her Associate’s degree. She is on track to earn a Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in National Security from Berkeley College in 2018, and intends to pursue earning a Master’s degree. “Being dedicated and motivated will lead you to a successful career,” said Ms. Shalabi. “Never be afraid to ask for help, especially advice.”

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