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How TCNJ equipped Breana Stringer for an unexpected internship at the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

When Breana Stringer ’21 came to TCNJ, she was sure she wanted to be an FBI agent.

Stringer, a criminology major and Arabic minor, developed a passion for criminology at an early age watching her mother work as a probation officer. “Watching her love what she did made me love what she did, too,” she says.

During her sophomore year at TCNJ, she stumbled upon an internship opportunity for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness while reading the criminology department’s newsletter. She quickly submitted a transcript, resume, and writing sample and soon after, she got a call — that she had been accepted as a communications intern.

“Communications was not even a box I checked,” she says. “When they called me and told me I got the job, they said, ‘I know you didn’t pick this one, but the communications office gets to work with every other office, so you’d still be doing what you wanted to do.’”

So she did. And she credits the college’s liberal arts approach with giving her the confidence to accept such an unexpected opportunity.

“TCNJ does a really good job of exposing you to new things,” Stringer says. “There’s a lot I can do because TCNJ gave me a lot of classes that aren’t just criminology classes. They’re ‘everything’ classes.”

And quickly she grew to love her position. Although she can’t speak in detail about her experiences with the office, she can say that she gets plenty of hands-on opportunities like drafting press releases and social media posts and distributing information from the Homeland Security and Preparedness Office to citizens and visitors of New Jersey.

So while Federal law enforcement is still definitely on the table, she says, so are a whole bunch of other things now.

They key to success that Stringer recommends is for students to build close relationships with their professors and advisors. She is especially grateful for her advisor, David Holleran, and criminology department chair Margaret Leigey, for guiding and supporting her along the way.

“I wouldn’t have gotten the internship without them,” she says.

— Sarah Voorhees ’20