At a Glance

Year: ‘24
Major(s): Criminal Justice
Activities: Washington Center internship, research assistant

Criminal Justice BA

As a criminal justice major, you will deepen your understanding of crime-related issues and criminal justice systems and policies, and will learn to apply this knowledge to address social problems.

For Carley Bennet, the best way to counter terrorism is to stop it from happening in the first place.

“I feel like there is a reactionary approach (to terrorism),” she says. “I would really love to see a shift in that approach to prevention and intervention aspects.”

Looking to mitigate religious and alt-right terrorism, Bennet is pursuing a career working for the federal government. As a senior, she completed an internship with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through The Washington Center, a nonprofit organization that partners with UML. The immersive, semester-long experience complemented her studies as a criminal justice major with a concentration in homeland security and a minor in peace and conflict studies.

“I knew it would be a really great opportunity for me to advance my career, specifically because a lot of my interests lie in federal work,” says Bennet.

During her time in Washington, D.C., Bennet worked with the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) in the DHS Office of Partnership and Engagement. She drafted and edited reports for four HSAC subcommittees, wrote talking points for HSAC subcommittee co-chairs and reviewed documents to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act’s guidelines for HSAC’s charter renewal.

A native of Natick, Massachusetts, Bennet initially planned to go to college out of state and major in peace and conflict studies. After taking a gap year and shifting her focus to homeland security, she decided UMass Lowell’s criminal justice program was a better fit.

Bennet counts Sociology Asst. Prof. Stephanie Ortiz and Criminal Justice Prof. James Forest among her favorite professors at UML. Bennet completed a research assistantship with Ortiz and says her classes have integrated well with her career interests. Forest, she adds, is a “wealth of knowledge” in the field of homeland security.

After completing her degree, Bennet hopes to find a job that will allow her to return to Washington and build on her DHS experience. Once she is established in her field, Bennet aspires to be a role model for young women in the same line of work.

“As sad as I am to be leaving campus and as scary as it is to leave that safety net, I'm really excited for the start of my career,” she says.

Why The Washington Center?

Carley Bennet headshot
"I knew it would be a really great opportunity for me to advance my career, specifically because a lot of my interests lie in federal work."