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TRIO student seeks to become CSI investigator

TRIO student seeks to become CSI investigator

NORFOLK, Neb. -- Northeast Community College student Amanda Gonzales of Littleton, Colo., has been chosen as the October 2023 TRIO-CSP student of the month.

The daughter of Marvin Gonzales and Maxine Quintana, both of Littleton, Amanda has two older sisters, Jen Guzman and Caressa Hughes, and a little brother, Ajay Gonzales.

Amanda is completing her degree here at Northeast Community College and will graduate in May of 2024 with her associate of arts in criminal justice-law enforcement. After her graduation, Amanda plans to transfer to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She is undecided where but plans to go where she can continue both her education and athletic career in softball.

Amanda has career aspirations of becoming a Crime Scene Investigator, hopefully, close to home in Colorado. Amanda has always been interested in criminal justice and enjoys learning and exploring the new concepts of her content area. She likes lifting fingerprints and being able to sketch out the crime scene, as well as problem solving the various cases she comes across.

During her time at Northeast, Amanda has been actively involved within the campus community. She is a member of the Northeast women’s softball team and was an ICCAC Second Team Academic All-Region recipient in her first year. Amanda competed in Skills USA for the criminal justice crime scene team where they earned second place out of 18 teams. She also worked as a desk assistant for Residence Life.

In her sophomore year, she joined Residence Life again by serving as an RA (Resident Assistant) and is the vice president of the RAs. She is also the president of TRIO Club and actively participates in the events that TRIO holds. She does all this while still being a member of the softball and crime scene team and upholding her academic standards by having a GPA of 3.3.

Being able to serve in these roles requires an impactful support system. Amanda credits her family and close friends as the supportive people in her life who motivate her to keep going. She states that they are always there for her to talk to when something is wrong and can give her the advice she needs to work through adversity.

Amanda has not always found taking on the extra tasks to be an easy thing. In high school, Amanda said that she felt unmotivated and lacked the intrinsic motivation to go to school and to strive to do her best in her work. Attending college helped her find a passion for learning, and having a career she is passionate about has helped her to strive for and achieve her goals -- both personally and academically.

One person that Amanda credits in her life is her sister, Jen. Jen was a mom of two young children when she decided to go back to school and pursue her master's degree in social work and child welfare. Seeing her sister wear multiple hats and excel academically encouraged Amanda to step out of her comfort zone and do the same.

“Having a role model like my sister to look up to made me believe that I could accomplish my goals no matter how far I may have been from them at the time,” Amanda said.

As well as her family and friends, Amanda also has a wonderful support system here at Northeast Community College that helps her daily.

Iris Woodhead serves as Amanda’s softball coach.

Amanda has been such a great ambassador for not only our softball program but Northeast Community College. She is someone we want our recruits to meet because she does the right thing on and off the field. She is passionate about her education and how she plays on the softball field. She truly has earned the recognition she is getting,” Woodhead said.

Her criminal justice instructor, Mattthew McCarthy, provided highlights of Amanda’s strengths.

Amanda is a pure joy to have in the criminal justice program. She is an active member of the criminal justice program, is a leader on our SkillsUSA Crime Scene Investigation teams and is a wonderful student. She studies hard, comes to class every day, is a member of the softball team, and is one of the students I have come to rely on, whether in class, asking questions on tours, or speaking to the HLC teams when they were here. I am very excited to see what Amanda's future holds for her. She is a true rockstar,” McCarthy said.


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Amanda Gonzales (Northeast Community College)