Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program
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Brittany Miraldi

Major: Criminology
Minor: Political Science, Global Security
Hometown: Cresskill, NJ

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I've always been opportunistic and the College of the Liberal Arts would always put on events that I took advantage of my freshman year (and still do). At a panel event, one of the presenters mentioned the alumni mentor program and I reached out to Heather Baruch-Bueter to get involved. I went onto the College of the Liberal Arts site and read about it and decided it would be a very beneficial opportunity.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

In October of 2015, after filling out some questionnaires and surveys on my career goals and interests, I was matched with my mentor. In my surveys I mentioned that I was interested in a career within the law enforcement or legal fields. Being from the NYC area, I noted that it would be convenient to be matched with someone from there as well. I come from a law enforcement family and I wanted an unbiased, different outlook on my career path. My mentor is Jordan, a Criminal Investigator for the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. He was absolutely a perfect match for me because he went to law school AND was in law enforcement, so he could tell me the pros and cons of both. He was a Penn State alum in Administration of Justice and Sociology, which is known now as Criminology. He went onto law school, the FBI, and now is with the Federal Housing Finance Agency of the Inspector General. His extensive knowledge on securities fraud, criminal investigations and legal proceedings gave me a different take on a field I was already familiar with. We are still in contact today, almost a year later and actually we might be working together this summer, thanks to his help.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience tremendously impacted my academics. Going into it, I was unsure of what I really wanted to do. I was worried that there wasn't much to do with a Criminology major but that was what I was so passionate about. We talked about classes and he helped me schedule classes that would give me a good understanding of law as an undergraduate.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Deciding if I wanted to go to law school, and when was always a topic of discussion with Jordan. He went from PSU straight to law school. I wasn't (and still am not) sure if I even wanted to go to law school. Our discussions have brought up many points in my decision that I would not have thought of myself. His understanding of Penn State and the New York area helped tremendously to filter my deciding factors. I am confident that my decision will be the right one when it comes, because his experience guided me to explore the multitude of factors in law school decisions that aren't just the surface concerns. His expertise in different areas of law enforcement helped me decide that law enforcement was definitely NOT what I wanted to do. Another really important thing Jordan and I did was go over my resume, cover letter and applications for internships. Just a few weeks ago, Jordan brought me to the USAO-SDNY to talk with high profile Assistant US Attorneys and the hiring manager for the internship program. I am hoping to intern this summer with them and have gotten extremely positive remarks about this possibility. It would not have been possible without Jordan.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I had a passion but I didn't know what to do with it. The mentor program allows you to have a helping hand from someone who sat in your seat at some point in time.

I would absolutely, 100% recommend this program to anyone in Liberal Arts. It is scary to come into college, and even your sophomore or junior or senior year and not be confident in what you want to do. That's how I was. I had a passion but I didn't know what to do with it. The mentor program allows you to have a helping hand from someone who sat in your seat at some point in time. Jordan and I joke about 100 Thomas. He knows Penn State, and he knows liberal arts. I think a main concern coming out of a huge university like Penn State with a liberal arts degree is, what am I going to do with this? It is so comforting to have a successful person, with a similar experience and interests there to talk to and guide you. There are so many positives that have come out of this experience for me because Jordan has been so willing to help me. That Penn State community spirit is always there and the alumni are so eager to help. I genuinely cannot imagine my college experience without this program. I am so thankful for the opportunities that have come out of it and the many more to come. If I had advice for anyone considering this program, I would say 100% do it. I've made a lifelong connection and his advice and experiences have shaped my own academic and career goals. It's an opportunity too good to miss out on.

For more information on the Liberal Arts Alumni Mentor Program, visit our website.

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