Career Exploration Night Sheds Light on Criminal Justice and Business World


Nichols College held its second of three Career Exploration Nights on Sept. 30. Career Services was responsible for the three part event which took place from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 where a panel of professionals were present on each night. Approximately 100 students attended this event, which was designed to provide students with information and advice about potential career paths. The event featured a panel comprised of criminal justice and business industry experts. Sharing their knowledge were panelists: Tracie Carmel, correctional program officer with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; school psychologist Stephen Peters of Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley; Carolyn Burke, AVP of talent acquisition at MAPFRE Insurance; Massachusetts State Police Trooper David Gould, and Samir Goncalves, Northeast program manager for Ernst and Young, and a 2011 graduate of Nichols College.

Carmel and Gould explained what life is like working in law enforcement, which was especially helpful to the criminal justice majors. They discussed how difficult the police academy can be and how extraordinary their daily tasks turn out. Carmel started her path toward law enforcement through volunteer work at a women’s prison. She enjoys talking to different types of people every day and making a difference in the inmates’ lives. She also got the Daniels Auditorium audience laughing when she admitted working in a prison is a bit different from what we see on the Netflix show “Orange is the New Black.”

Gould said he became interested in public safety and criminal justice when he saw how police officers are part of a brotherhood. He explained that he can depend on any of his fellow officers. Gould also discussed how his days could range from normal patrols, to missing persons cases, school lockdowns, and riot control. On 9/11 he was given the task of searching every plane at Boston’s Logan International Airport. In high stress situations such as this, Gould said it’s important to stay calm and focus on the task assigned. “At the time we weren’t given extensive details on the 9/11 situation, we just carried out our assignment of searching the planes.”

Students learned that there are no typical days in law enforcement and to always protect themselves if they should work in that field because anything can happen.

It was apparent from how he talked about his students that Peters loves his job as school psychologist at Shepherd Hill. He said he finds it rewarding when he is able to help youth with personal problems, by teaching them coping skills and providing the necessary counseling. Not only does he work with students, but also with teachers and parents to create positive environments.

Peters told students that it is important to specify which route of psychology they plan to study, because the job field is slim if they have only a bachelor’s degree. There are more career options with a graduate degree.

Burke works in the fields of insurance and human resource. She described her position as in-depth problem solving and interpreting policies, along with overseeing the recruitment of new candidates. Burke stressed how important it is to stay on top of one’s field by continuing education and attaining certificates. She also told the human resources majors in the audience that she started in an entry-level position, but with initiative, hard work, and determination, it is absolutely possible to advance to a higher position.

Goncalves, a 2011 Nichols graduate, shed light on the business world and steps that Nichols students can take to be successful and stand out from the crowd. He explained that it’s okay to make mistakes – but just don’t make the same mistake twice – and that it’s important to take initiative in the workplace, rather than wait for direction. As a project manager, Goncalves keeps tabs on multiple projects to make sure they’re timely and high quality. He also admitted that most of his days are spent on the phone talking with clients.

Overall, each panelist had interesting stories to share about their work lives and how they got to where they are today. There was an abundance of great advice given to not only the business majors, but to every student present, regardless of major. Our generation has the opportunity to job search and change jobs; we aren’t pinned down to just one career, and there are so many options for upcoming grads. All of the panelists agreed that good communication skills, teamwork, respect in the workplace, management skills, and technology skills are key for anyone looking to enter the business world.

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