Grad sees cultural traditions as path to crime prevention

December 14, 2013

Cheryl Lynn Blie of the Diné/Navajo tribe has a burning desire to help her community by alleviating some of its modern ills.

“I grew up in Pinon, Arizona, one of the most economically impoverished places on the Navajo Nation,” she says. As a child she was taught the need for discipline and the duty to care for others. “We are instilled with a strong sense to educate yourself so you can give back to the community and your people someday,” she says.  Cheryl Lynn Blie Download Full Image

Yet she saw a rise in violence in Native American communities that began to replicate urban inner city streets. Youths sometimes succumbed to peer pressure, gang life and drugs. “I wanted to understand specifically about prevention and intervention strategies, and what direction we should go using the data and resources obtained thus far.”

With her master’s degree in criminal justice from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the ASU College of Public Programs, she hopes to help chart a new path for her community.

“The Native American people are very culturally and traditionally rich in our way of life, therefore, we have the necessary tools to live in a harmonious way,” she says. Blie is researching intervention methods that emphasize traditional ties and cultural teachings, as well as other crime prevention strategies.  

After receiving her undergraduate degree in political science from Northern Arizona University, she decided to join the criminal justice program at ASU. 

“From the very first day I met the department chair to working with the amazingly supportive faculty, I could not be any happier with the choice I made,” she says. 

As a single parent working full-time throughout the program, she mastered time management skills from the beginning. “Communication with the faculty, staff and advisors has been key,” she says, in resolving schedule conflicts, meeting all deadlines and requirements for school and maintaining a high GPA. 

Encouragement and support has been essential to her success as a first-generation graduate with a master’s degree. Blie credits her Native American grandparents, parents and daughter, as well as friends nationwide.

“I was raised with the values that as a Diné/Navajo woman, I am to educate myself and become aware of the issues that affect my people so I can have a stronger voice when seated at any table, so we can speak with courage, accuracy and conviction.”

“I have also been honored to be part of ASU Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honors Society. This program has opened many doors for me. Along with the motivation to maintain a high GPA, I have been able to meet with possible employers and seek future opportunities, and provide volunteer service here in the Phoenix area and on the Navajo Nation.”

After graduation, she plans to continue work with Native American communities, possibly as a federal agent or criminal investigator. 

“I am very passionate about the research I have devoted myself to, primarily because it affects my people and the future of my people.”

Editor Associate, University Provost

Grad's goal is to create opportunities for all in higher education

December 14, 2013

Higher education presents endless opportunities to make a positive difference in your life, says Kevin Correa, graduating with a master’s degree (MEd) in higher and postsecondary education. 

Despite working full time while earning his degree, he volunteered time to create opportunities for others to achieve their full potential. Kevin Correa Download Full Image

“I’ve been fortunate that my graduate program and career have complemented one another very well,” he says. His graduate research focused on the training needs and development of student coaches in the ASU First-Year Success Center, where he works as a program manager.

“Paraprofessionals such as first-year success coaches play a major role in contributing to student success,” he says. “They are on the front lines of a university’s retention efforts.”

Correa also serves as a facilitator for Access ASU's Future Sun Devil Families program, which helps students and families prepare for college. He holds monthly workshops on college preparation at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix.

The desire to see others aim for a better future also resulted in two years as a mentor for the ASU Obama Scholars Program. He joined ASU organizations such as Chicano/Latino Faculty & Staff Association, Ubiquity and Commission on the Status of Women and is a co-editor of the Diversity Works @ ASU report.

“I’m passionate about higher education and the unique opportunities it affords people, as well as the positive impact colleges and universities have on individuals and society,” he says. 

After earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and gaining professional experience in higher education, he decided to head to Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU for his graduate education.

“ASU’s commitment to excellence, access and impact, along with its model as a New American University, align closely with my personal core values,” he says.  

The master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education was also a draw, he says, because of its emphasis on professional development, administration, the integration of theory and practice, and the fact that it is geared toward working professionals.

Correa credits supervisors, colleagues, friends and family for their encouragement in the pursuit of his goals. He plans to remain and advance in the field of higher education.  

“I enjoy the rewards and challenges inherent in the field, and I relish the endless opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Editor Associate, University Provost