More than 1,000 students from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will walk across the stage on Sunday, May 13 as they graduate from West Virginia University, ready to take on the world.
As Commencement is upon us, several of our Eberly College graduates reflect on their time at WVU and their plans for the future.
Michael Conroy, from Cincinnati, Ohio, started his WVU career as a mechanical engineering major because he loves to solve problems and math was always his strong suit. However, after two years in the program, Conroy realized he was not going to make the kind of difference he wanted to make in the world if he stayed with that major. He eventually changed his major to criminology to prepare for a career in criminal justice or law.
After completing a course with other students and inmates located at a federal prison, Conroy recognized a need for psychologists in the prison system. He then decided to add a second major of psychology.
“I recognized the need for psychologists to help ex-convicts re-enter society effectively,” Conroy said. “This was definitely not a direct path to get where I am today, but I am far happier having followed my passion.”
Conroy enjoys that the criminology major will lead WVU students on a path toward working with the police or FBI, political action or as a stepping stone to law school.
“This major will open your eyes to countless social issues and teach you the research and theories behind them so that when you graduate, you can become a part of the criminal-legal system and help change it for the better,” Conroy said.
He is a co-founder of the Voices United Think Tank at the Women’s Medium Security Federal Prison in Hazelton, West Virginia, a teaching assistant for the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program and a behavioral therapist at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities’ Intensive Autism Service Delivery clinic. Following graduation, Conroy plans to pursue a Master of Social Work to tackle community and familial problems on a micro and macro scale.
“When you go here, get involved,” Conroy said. “You have access to a lot of opportunities. Having time set aside in your life to get hands-on experience like this made all the difference in the world when it came to figuring out what path I want to take and knowing what I like to do.”