Kent State Geauga Student Turns Difficult Past into a Bright Future

As children, we are shaped by our environment. Positive and negative experiences can have lasting impacts on our lives. For Kent State University student Ryann Doherty, her childhood adversity fueled her passion for justice and hope and led her to the criminology and justice studies major.

Doherty did not follow the typical high-school-to-college-to-career route. Instead, she worked as a bartender and waited for the opportunity to return to school. But a passion was burning inside her, sparked by her early years. In her thirties, Doherty’s financial situation changed for the better and paved the way for her to return to college. That path led her directly to Kent State University Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg.

“The Twinsburg location was absolutely perfect,” Doherty says. “This has been the best experience ever. It’s overwhelming going back to school at all, let alone going to a huge campus. When I found out the Twinsburg location was right near my house, and much cheaper, I was so excited.”

Her interest in victimology stems from two important elements of Doherty’s childhood. During the majority of her youth, Doherty watched as her father struggled with alcoholism and anger, which prompted her to want to give back to people in situations similar to hers. The second element was watching the TV show “The First 48,” an A&E documentary series focusing on the urgency of the first 48 hours after a crime. Doherty is intrigued by the action and importance of finding out the truth, tracking down perpetrators and resolving the crime to help victims. These combined experiences led Doherty to pursue a career path through Kent State’s criminology program.

“The teachers here are phenomenal,” Doherty says. “Everybody at Twinsburg is awesome. From the security guards to the maintenance guys to the teachers, everyone is always so nice.”

Doherty is empowered by women’s rights movements across the country and says that her experiences as a female bartender and the way she was treated were not always pleasant.

“My life led me to realize that I was a victim and how important it is to get help as a victim,” Doherty says. “So, victim advocacy is what I really want to do just to give a voice to victims and allow them to see the avenues they can take and the help they can get.”

Doherty, now a junior, knew of Kent State’s great reputation when she was looking into which school to attend and explains that she always wanted to graduate from Kent State. The Twinsburg location just-so-happened to be close to her home and more convenient for her than the Kent campus.

“There are smaller classes, you get one on one time with professors,” Doherty explains. “Going back to school at an older age can be a lot, so personal attention means everything to me, and it’s why I’m succeeding now.”

Doherty will graduate Summer 2019 and hopes to work in an inner city as a victim’s advocate.

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