Q&A with criminal justice student Madison CarneyToula Wellbrook | School of Public Affairs Aug 10, 2021
Tell me a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What are your interests and hobbies?
My name is Madison Carney, and I am a Colorado Native. I was born right here in Denver. Most of my hobbies revolve around my pets, which include a cat, a husky, and a bearded dragon! I used to be an Irish Step Dancer, but now I do Jiu Jitsu. In my free time, I like to play video games, go to dog parks, and make coffee.
What influenced you to choose CU Denver and pursue your Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree with a concentration in Victims and Victim Services and a minor in Psychology?
I transferred to CU Denver from Arapahoe Community College (ACC). I knew I wanted to stay in state to finish my bachelor’s and began exploring my options. My sister is actually an alum from CU Denver as well. When I was at ACC, my criminal justice professor talked very highly of CU Denver after I asked her for advice on where to transfer. CU Denver was not my top choice at the time; looking back, I can’t imagine going to a different school. I have always been interested in how people process trauma and what ways the criminal justice system can either help them heal or further victimize them. I wanted to further my education of the criminal justice system while gaining a deeper understanding of cognition and psychology, so that is the main reason I decided on this degree path. I was not aware of the concentration until one of my meetings with my advisor. Once I learned about it, I was even more excited to finish my degree.
During your undergraduate career you interned with the Auraria Police Department. Can you tell us more about that experience, what you learned, and how that impacted your future career goals and interests?
I was actually the first intern that the Auraria Police Department Explosive K-9 Unit has ever had, and it all started because one of my professors is the Patrol Commander. I began working for them as a student employee and then started my internship in my senior year. I learned about practical community policing efforts, animal behavior and cognition, and the inner workings of a police department as the intern of the Explosive Detection K-9 Unit. My time at the Auraria Police Department has opened multiple doors for my career path. I now have a handful of references, people that I constantly go back to for advice, and experience I will use in my future career.
As an undergraduate, you were really involved on campus. Can you tell us more about your engagement as a student and how that shaped your experience? Would you recommend other students get involved while in college?
I have never had the traditional college experience going from a community college to a commuter university. I wanted to have a sense of community despite all of this. I was a full-time student at CU Denver with two part-time, on-campus jobs, a member of the criminal justice honor society, and a member in three student organizations. Working in the Student Government Association gave me a leadership role on campus and gave me more opportunities to connect with the campus community as well. I was not able to walk across campus without recognizing at least a couple people. I am incredibly extroverted and would recommend everyone get involved as much as they are comfortable with.
Tell us about your favorite classes. Why are they your favorites?
My all-time favorite professor is Commander Mollendor. I took Corrections and Evidence Based Police Practices with him. In Commander Mollendor’s classes, we were highly encouraged to have in-class discussions, talk about current issues, and learn about thing we were passionate about. He was the reason I was hired at Auraria Police Department, and he helped me with multiple Student Government events.
I also loved taking Statistics with Dr. Lucy Dwight. Dr. Dwight was easy to go to with questions on the curriculum. She was the person that told me about the criminal justice honor society and encouraged me to join the master’s program as well.
These professors made me feel confident in my work. I also loved branching out and taking classes like Trauma in the Criminal Justice System, Human Cognition, Psychology and the Law, and Ideology and Culture.
What advice do you have for future students?
Take advantage of all the resources you have! I loved going to my academic advisor before every semester. I spent time in the School of Public Affairs computer lab and lounge. I loved going to professors’ office hours. And I really loved my on-campus jobs.