John Vaccaro is a John A. Reisenbach Scholar at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He will graduate this spring with an MS in Forensic Psychology. The Reisenbach Scholarship supports John Jay graduate students who are committed to advancing public safety and quality of life in New York City.
I knew I was interested the psychology of the criminal mind while still in high school. Little did I know, my voracious curiosity would turn into a burning passion to understand and rehabilitate offenders and prevent violence in the community. It is this passion that drove me to where I am today: on the cusp of completing a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The experience and training John Jay has afforded me serves as the cornerstone for what I know will be my career as a Forensic Psychologist.
Through the cutting-edge courses John Jay offers I had the opportunity to present original research in front of the Director of the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI. Through the connections of professors and classmates I was able to extern at a facility that treats sexual offenders. In addition, I also had the opportunity, along with an incredible team of talented graduate students, to create and implement a pilot study designed to work with high-risk sexual offenders in an effort to prevent sexual violence in the community. There is no doubt in my mind that the research and work I am doing now is making a difference in the battle against violence and crime in New York.
One of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced, as almost every student in America faces, was financing my education. This obstacle is insidious and very real – many students are stymied from pursuing their educational dreams due the inherent financial burdens of education. For me, the John Reisenbach Foundation Scholarship was a lifeline that allowed me to go above and beyond the minimum requirements for graduation and undoubtedly enabled me to obtain crucial experiences and knowledge that will help make my career aspirations a reality.
Using what I have learned at John Jay, I plan to work in New York City for two years before applying to clinical forensic doctorate programs en route to fulfilling my goal of becoming a licensed Forensic Psychologist. Through all this, I hope to continue to prevent violence, advocate for the disadvantaged, and ultimately uphold justice in New York.
For more information visit John Jay College of Criminal Justice.