By: Chelsea Cabral
Taylor Centeio '17 came to UMass Dartmouth in the fall of 2014 with a deep and unrelenting passion for the field of social work and criminal justice. When she transferred to UMassD, she realized that her interests were much more comprehensive and multifaceted than expected, and her choice in becoming a crime and justice studies major allowed her to develop a critical lens.
"I wanted to delve deeper and concentrate on specific issues that plague the youth and communities of color," said Centeio. "The program at UMass Dartmouth allowed me to learn about all the flaws within the criminal justice system, how prison may or may not be the answer, how unjust the death penalty can be, how we can be more aware of our rights and privileges, and how we can be a part of criminal justice reform."
Graduate study at Suffolk University
Now, Centeio has just begun her studies at Suffolk University to obtain her master of science degree in Crime and Justice with a concentration in youth crime. Using all that she's learned from her time at UMass Dartmouth to propel her forward, Centeio is entirely confident that she can help reform the criminal justice system to protect those whom are systematically trapped in its crosshairs.
"I have aspirations of becoming a probation officer in the field that can help lead youth who are trapped in the system down the right path to change their future around," said Centeio. "I want to be able to help them become well-adjusted and productive members in our community."
An appreciation for her alma mater
In her last semester at UMass Dartmouth, Centeio took an internship at the New Bedford Police Headquarters in the Domestic Violence Unit which served as great foundational knowledge prior to graduate school. There, she aided victims in filling out restraining orders, accompanied them to the courtroom, and offered resources that were available to them. It was an experience that made everything she was reading and learning in the classroom feel much more real, factual, and tangible.
"My coursework coupled with my experiences as a student has helped me become more aware of how society and systematic injustices shape and mold many people," says Centeio. "I've become a better public speaker, researcher, and more understanding and compassionate as a whole; I can thank UMass Dartmouth and the Crime and Justice Studies program for helping me build this capacity."