Three UNT Criminal Justice students awarded scholarships

The students find the scholarships to be a reflection of their hard work.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Victoria Williams, Shekinah Colson and Martina Martinez, all current students enrolled in University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s Department of Criminal Justice degree programs, were awarded scholarships.

Victoria Williams, set to be a senior in fall 2019, is a recipient of the J. Edgar Hoover Scholarship. For her, the scholarship is an honor that proves hard work reaps success.

“I have worked hard throughout my college life by maintaining above a 3.5 GPA and being involved on campus to be able to be considered for prestigious awards and scholarships,” Williams said. “Being awarded this scholarship proved to me that hard work and late nights of studying pays off.”

Williams has always wanted to serve the community and was involved with the Tyler Police Department Youth Explorers during high school.

 “The reason I chose criminal justice is because I’ve always had a desire to serve the community to ensure justice is carried out in the criminal justice system,” Williams said. “During high school, my favorite organization I was a part of was the Tyler Police Department Youth Explorers. I had the pleasure of serving as a Tyler PD Explorer for two years. This program gave me more insight of my future in the criminal justice field.”

Shekinah Colson, currently working as a senior research associate within the Center for Human Identification at the UNT Health Science Center, is a recipient of the Tory J. Caeti Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship to her is a symbol of her hard work.

“Receiving this scholarship means everything to me,” Colson said. “Being a mother of three who works full time and takes classes, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. Even though I know the collective efforts will add up some day to make a real difference in the lives of others, sometimes it feels like it is such a small drop in the bucket compared to the incredible need for people to dedicate their hearts and passion to the criminal justice field. Receiving this recognition is a form of support and encouragement that makes me feel like I’m finally finding my feet.”

Colson found the criminal justice degree as a way to expand her understanding of law enforcement.

“I felt like I had gaps in my knowledge of law enforcement policies and procedures,” Colson said. “I appreciate everything law enforcement does for us and recognized my need for a deeper understanding of their role. I knew that this degree would allow me insights into future strategic planning for process improvement and to identify more ways that we can provide valuable services to those who are exploited, lost, abused and hurt.”

Martina Martinez, currently a junior, was a recipient of the Jacob Andrew Fritsch Scholarship. She says the scholarship is changing her life.

“Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me because I come from a middle class family that struggles every day in order for me to be able to go to college,” Martinez said. “This scholarship contributes to me fulfilling my dream of going to college and continuing with my studies.”

Martinez hopes that through her hard work, she can inspire others.

“I chose criminal justice as my major because I want to be a police officer so I can serve the community and become a role model to other younger people,” Martinez said. “Also, I want people to know that with hard work and dedication dreams are able to be achieved.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college, says he’s always thrilled to see students succeed.

“Victoria and Shekinah are both incredibly accomplished and very deserving of these scholarships,” Dr. Chumbler said. “I can’t wait to see what these bright individuals achieve not only while at UNT, but once they graduate and embark on their careers in criminal justice.”