Helica Goncalves ’20 learned the secret to success at UMass Dartmouth.
“Stay engaged!” she said. “I found great resources and opportunity, because I stay engaged.”
The Boston native found the Crime and Justice Studies program a key for preparing to help others. Helica started in the College NOW program, where students receive intensive tutoring and support as first-generation college students. The experience helped her define her own path as a peer mentor for College NOW, tutoring in the local Boys & Girls Clubs, and working in the federal America Reads program.
She completed an internship in youth court, an intervention program aimed at middle school students, that allowed her to take a proactive approach. “I worked with a case manager, visiting students at home and at school and checking on behavior goals to keep them from slipping into more trouble. Our goal was to keep them out of the juvenile justice system.” Helica’s concern about the role crime can play in derailing others, particularly people of color, is leading her to her goal to become a defense attorney.
“UMass Dartmouth is a great choice,” she said. “It is a diverse university, and the faculty are engaged and understanding. They inspired me to explore my Cape Verdean roots and gave me the resources to have an engaging academic experience.”