Senior Spotlight: Valedictorian Gabrielle D’Angelo Readies Herself for a Law Enforcement Career

Senior Spotlight: Valedictorian Gabrielle D’Angelo Readies Herself for a Law Enforcement Career

Senior Spotlight: Valedictorian Gabrielle D’Angelo Readies Herself for a Law Enforcement Career

When graduating senior Gabrielle D’Angelo ’20, a Criminology major, learned she was the Class of 2020 Valedictorian she couldn’t believe the news. “I was so shocked when I found out. For me, being named valedictorian is the ultimate honor and privilege,” she says. “It’s the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.” The road to the top of her class wasn’t easy for the Brooklyn, New York native, who admits that she had a tough time transitioning from high school to college. “One of my biggest challenges was getting acclimated to a college workload. I wasn’t used to writing 20-page papers. But I applied myself, kept my focus and really worked hard to put my best effort forward each day.” With her bachelor’s degree in hand, D’Angelo is proud of not only herself for reaching this incredible milestone, but also her graduating 2020 classmates who were all faced with a challenging final semester. “I’m sure we all imagined our last few weeks at John Jay differently. I’m proud of the effort all John Jay students made to finish the semester strong. It shows how resilient our community is and I’m proud to be part of that John Jay community.”

“Being named valedictorian is the ultimate honor and privilege. It’s the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.” —Gabrielle D’Angelo

Getting a Justice-Focused Education
Dreaming of becoming a police officer with the New York City Police Department (NYPD), D’Angelo wanted a college experience that could provide her with access to experts in the field and a strong criminal-justice focused education. She set her heart on John Jay. “I wanted to really broaden my knowledge in Criminology. When I saw that many of the criminology and police science courses were taught by professors who actually work in law enforcement, that really caught my eye. It was exactly what I was looking for.” At John Jay, D’Angelo found mentors who championed her goal and motivated her to strive for academic excellence. “Professor James Durkin, from the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration really made my time at John Jay productive,” says D’Angelo. “From the moment I stepped foot in his class, he challenged me because he knew I could do anything I set my mind to. He really believed in me.”

“I’m committed to living a life of public service. My goal is to become a Sergeant in the NYPD and a leader that serves the public wholeheartedly.” —Gabrielle D’Angelo

Making Her Dreams Come True
Everything that D’Angelo encountered while at John Jay fortified her desire to embark on a career in law enforcement—from the support of professors like Durkin, to the comprehensive criminal justice education she was receiving in the classroom. The College also connected her to programs that gave her real insight into the field. “While I was at John Jay, I joined the NYPD Cadet Corps program and it helped shape me as a person. It instilled in me a great deal of discipline and gave me the skills, knowhow, confidence, and experience to truly be a leader in the field,” she says. Looking to the future, D’Angelo envisions herself moving up the NYPD ranks and helping to create a safer, fairer society. “I’m committed to living a life of public service. My goal is to become a Sergeant in the NYPD and a leader that serves the public wholeheartedly.” To celebrate her achievements, D’Angelo had a small celebration with her immediate family while taking part in the College’s virtual ceremony. “My family is very proud of all I have accomplished. Their constant support throughout these last four years helped me each step of the way. It wasn’t easy but it was definitely worth it.”