“I now see my background as a strength and a bridge to connecting to others.”
"I was inspired to study criminal justice because of an incident when I was younger and was frisked by a police officer because of the color of my skin and what I was wearing. It left me determined to find ways to improve the relationship between the government, police and my community," recalls Jean Casseus.
Jean made good on the promise he made to himself, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice cum laude in 2017. Today, he wears many hats: as an outreach coordinator at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, as a mentor at the United Black Men of Queens Foundation, and as head coach of Monroe's womens' soccer team, which he took to the National Championships in Florida.
"When I first came to NY from Haiti, I wanted to hide my roots in order to fit in. But because Monroe is a melting pot of diversity, I was encouraged to fully embrace who I am," he says. “This new lease on life has helped me in my career. I now see my background as a strength and a bridge to connecting to others, and I’m more impactful in my job when working with people from all different backgrounds and beliefs.”
Having professors who worked in the field gave Jean a real understanding of what kind of work he would be doing. "Professors who have worked as attorneys or detectives shared their stories of what they went through. You just can’t get that from a book. They teach you what you need to know and it has helped me shine in my career."