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Most people can articulate a dream job, or two, or three, hopefully something other than wave watcher or gourmet food taste tester. Rarely do many of us get the opportunity to actually interview for and land that dream job. That is exactly what Valerie Pinkston did recently.
Valerie started her collegiate journey at Dominican University in 2007, earning a degree in Criminology & Sociology with a minor in women and gender studies. When she was not studying, Valerie spent time in the role of President for D.A.S.H., Domestic Abuse Stops Here. Since Valerie loves to learn, she did not stop there. Hoping to lay the foundation for her dream job, Valerie went on to earn her Master’s degree in Criminology from Lewis University.
While earning her Master’s and afterward, Valerie was employed at the Social Security Administration, which allowed her to obtain experience in the federal workforce.
Valerie stated, “As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to help people although I was never quite sure in what capacity.” During her undergraduate education at Dominican, she was afforded the opportunity to intern at various organizations where she was able to get a feel for the world outside of college where opportunities and new experiences abounded. “In doing so, along with majoring in Criminology, I found my calling.”
Now Valerie is positioned in her dream job as a Reentry Coordinator with the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago. She recently joined a well-respected team that is responsible for supporting the U.S. Department of Justice's "Smart on Crime" initiative, which was launched in 2013 to promote fairer enforcement of the laws and to alleviate disparate impacts in the criminal justice system.
One of the reasons she believes she earned an interview at the United States Attorney’s Office is because of her current enrollment in the Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution program, and in which she is nearing completion. Valerie values her current studies in conflict resolution and considers them as extremely complimentary to her new position. She is able to utilize the hands-on mediation skills she has learned thus far from the program.
Valerie’s main duties include informing and educating a wide audience of community members, bar associations, service groups, and law-enforcement organizations and agencies about reentry practices and/or crime prevention strategies.
Specifically, she will be responsible for meeting with federal, state, and local authorities to obtain input on ideas to increase opportunities for successful reintegration by offenders into society.
She will be tasked with implementing strategies designed to reduce recidivism, enhance public safety, and facilitate successful reentry back into society.
Valerie greets each work day with enthusiasm and passion. She looks forward to finishing her second master’s degree in Conflict Resolution at her alma mater, to growing in her dream job and to advancing her career even further.