Rowan Alum, Aspiring Professor Continues Education in Criminal Justice Graduate Studies

Marlo Rossi sits by a tree with her computer speaking to another student

A prospective career change brought Marlo Rossi back to Rowan and on a brand-new professional path in the university’s Criminal Justice master’s degree program.

Marlo, from Gloucester County, NJ, transferred to Rowan and earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2019. She graduated with her sights set on law school. Through substitute teaching in public schools, Marlo found a new calling that drew from her civil service knowledge base and interests in both education and the justice system. 

Her future goals now include completing not one but two advanced academic degrees.

Marlo sits outside up against a black fence

“I thought I was going to get my four-year degree and then go right into the workforce or go to law school,” Marlo says. “But this program has allowed me to learn more in-depth information about a subject that I was interested in initially. This has really narrowed that focus on what I want to do.”

Just one semester in, Marlo says she loved the program from the first class she had.

“I left with a sense of pride in knowing I’m going to continue to learn more. It’s only my first semester; it that was that good, I can’t wait for the rest,” she adds. 

Rowan offers both face-to-face and fully online criminal justice master’s programs for adults returning to college. Enrolled in the on-campus experience, Marlo says she prefers face-to-face courses — though COVID-19 shifted how she took classes in the spring 2020 semester. 

“With the pandemic, I had to go online. I prefer the interaction with the professors and with other students in the program. I like that interaction. I was homeschooled my whole life, so I was used to the online, at-home kind of schooling. But I’d prefer face-to-face,” she says. 

Marlo sits outside with a laptop and talks to another student

“Getting to know people” in smaller classes, on a close-knit campus with restaurants and nightlife, are a few things that initially drew Marlo to Rowan as an undergraduate — and still do. Now, the graduate program affords her a work-life balance she enjoys. 

“I like that the program was only one day a week. It was later in the afternoon, so you could work during the day, which I really liked because I would [teach] in the afternoon and go to school at night,” she says.

Marlo’s advice for prospective students is to be ready to work hard and be prepared to learn a lot in “such a short time.”

“For instance, I started with only two classes, and the amount that I’ve learned in terms of writing and critical thinking, has been mind-blowing,” she says. 

Her long-term goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program blending political science and criminal justice. After she earns her master’s degree, she hopes to become “an adjunct [professor] at Rowan so that I could give back to the school I’ve learned so much from.” 

Marlo sits outside next to a tree

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