Looking back on my four years at JCU, I can see how it had such a tremendous impact on my life. From my very first sociology class, I was challenged to not only think about what is visible on the surface, but what lies in deeper exploration. My professors taught me that in order to fully understand a theory you must challenge it (as I often challenged my professors), and in doing so, you can better understand the deeper meaning of the theory. I credit the sociology department at JCU with providing the foundation that would help save my life less than a year after graduation.
As a military police platoon leader currently serving in Afghanistan, it would be logical to think my sociology degree may not be currently in use. However, that couldn’t be more wrong. While I am running combat operations, I am simultaneously systematically studying the structure, interactions, and collective behavior of the Afghan people. My sociological foundation from JCU allows me to better understand the Afghan people, especially when it comes to determining their disposition to U.S. forces. The criminology foundation I also acquired at JCU has helped me understand the vast criminal networks that exist in Afghanistan. It allows me to formulate my approach to limit and stop these criminal networks in the area I am responsible for. I have been able to interact with the Afghan people and better understand their way of life because of what I learned at JCU.
Also, as my professors in the sociology department urged me to never accept anything less than excellence, which led to me graduate summa cum laude, that same mantra as followed me into this chapter of my life. My four years at JCU helped me embrace, welcome, and accept challenges. It also inspired me to go out and change the world. Without Dr. Penny Harris, Dr. Ernest DeZolt, Dr. Richard Clark, Dr. Susan Long, and Dr. Wendy Wiedenhoft I would not be as successful as I am today.