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Student Profile: Jessica Rodriguez, '16, Justice Administration

Morristown, N.J. (February 24, 2016) – Jessica Rodriguez, '16 of Clifton, N.J., received the prestigious Andrew K. Ruotolo Jr. Memorial Scholarship to complete her graduate studies at CSE in Justice Administration. In the fall of 2015, Rodriguez traveled to Trenton, N.J., to receive her award during the New Jersey Prosecutors' Association Meeting.

The Ruotolo Memorial Scholarship was named for Andrew K. Ruotolo who worked in the Union County Prosecutor's Office and created a child advocacy center in that county. He wanted to ensure a safe haven for young victims of child abuse and neglect through supportive activities and resources.

This resonated with Rodriguez who has a passion for child advocacy and had written a paper about a non-profit that she would like to eventually open that would work with children to keep them out of the juvenile justice system. It is this paper that she adapted into an essay that won her the scholarship.

She feels that her knowledge of the judicial system coupled with her experience in managing health care offices will give her what she needs to get her non-profit out of the planning stages and into reality.

"I need to know the legal system in order to advocate for young people," she says. "That is one of the reasons I am pursuing my degree in Justice Administration at CSE."

Her other reason to attend CSE was because of the spiritual and ethical aspect of the College.

"This place has a compassion for all of humanity," she says. "I wanted to be a part of this and learn from it. It will help me work within the judicial system as a compassionate professional."

The subject of spirituality is a big part of her capstone. She is examining, in depth, the effect of spirituality-based rehabilitation programs in prisons. Her research has led to studying several programs that advocate spiritual examination as a step to rehabilitation.

Rodriguez earned her associate degree at the County College of Morris and her bachelor's degree at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania in criminal justice. When it came time to continue an advanced degree, Rodriguez looked to CSE because of the small classes and online program which gives her flexibility.

"I manage two dermatology group practices in New Jersey," she explains. "I needed a schedule that would not conflict with my job, but it needed to be a great program."

Once she graduates in May, 2016, she would like to find a job in the parole or probation offices as she works on starting her child-advocacy non-profit.

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Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the College of Saint Elizabeth has a strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society.

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