The U.S. Marshals may soon have a new member, a student from American International College. One of only 30 chosen nationwide, Sarah Calgreen has begun her training under the Centralized Student Career Experience Program (CSCEP), a cooperative education program that prepares undergraduate students for Deputy U.S. Marshal (DUSM) positions.
For Calgreen, a Stratford, Conn., resident, getting into the program was a dream come true. "I always knew I wanted to go into law enforcement, so when Professor (Jill McCarthy) Payne told me about the US Marshal program I researched it, and decided it was something for me," she said.
It is a 16-week (640 hour) work-study program for college students pursuing degrees in criminal justice, political science, psychology, public administration, sociology, or social sciences with a concentration in one of the majors listed. CSCEP allows students to apply classroom experience to the real world, and offers work experience in the public sector. Students who successfully complete the program may be noncompetitively converted to a DUSM position.
"It started with an internship last fall and then I applied for the cooperative education program, but it took more than a year until I was accepted," she said. "I began looking at other options including grad school, and then I got the phone call telling me I had been accepted into the program."
Thomas Fitzgerald, chair of the Criminal Justice department at AIC, said Calgreen exemplifies the characteristics shared by so many AIC students: seriousness of purpose and the willingness to fully engage the college experience. "She is a case study of a person that has attained personal fulfillment and is well positioned for professional achievement and civic engagement as a member of the criminal justice community. Her acceptance into the Deputy U.S. Marshal Student Trainee program is indicative of her personal qualities and the nurturing capabilities of American International College," Fitzgerald said.
"I spoke with Ms. Donaval Mitchell from the Recruitment Office of the Marshal Service and she informed me that Sarah was one of 30 selected from across the country," Fitzgerald said. "This was possible because the Service received an ‘Emergency Exception’ from the federal hiring freeze and that the CSCEP program is now ‘on hold’ as they await future funding for the Service," according to Fitzgerald.
Calgreen is not the first AIC student to become a U.S. Marshal. John Gibbons, a 1978 AIC graduate was sworn in as the first African American U.S. Marshal for Massachusetts in 2010. "I get to interact with Marshal Gibbons in the office. He has been great. It's just a nice feeling to work with someone who came from AIC," Calgreen said.
This semester Calgreen has been focusing on fugitive investigation, prisoner operations, etc. "When I graduate in May, I'll be available to go into the first class in August. I have to pass monthly fit tests, and complete certain training. As long as I meet all of the requirements I go into the program," she said.
The U.S. Marshals are very regimented and strict, according to Calgreen, something she likes. "They're a team they work together and have each others back. Having grown up playing sports, I know the concept of teamwork."
Calgreen is no stranger to hard work. Along with her 40 hours a week with the U.S. Marshals, Calgreen still goes to school full time and is very active on campus as a Peer Mentor, Orientation Leader, and a Criminal Justice Honors Society Member.
A consistent Dean's List student, Calgreen has been a member of the Women's Softball team since her freshman year, and was a Northeast-10 First-Team all-Conference selection.
"Coach is being great making accommodations for me because of my schedule including one - on - one practice. Academically, professors have gone above and beyond working with me in order to make sure I don't fall behind," Calgreen said
What has been her favorite part of the program so far? "I really like the fugitive task force element and the investigative side," she said.
The toughest part was waiting for a year to be accepted into the program.
Some of the challenges she has faced include learning the art of handcuffing. "Because I've never had any experience I'm very awkward using them. I took cuffs home with me and practiced on all of my roommates. I'm not used to not being good at something so I have to practice so I can be the best I can be," she said.
"I would like to be in the New England area working in one of the federal courthouses. But I'm only 22, so if they send me to California, I'm ok with that, too," she said.