Sean Perry wanted to be a police officer, so he enrolled in UMass Lowell’s undergraduate criminal justice program.

“At the risk of sounding clichéd, I think everyone who signs up for that major wants to help people,” says Perry, a native of Methuen. As he gained knowledge and experience, however, he saw that research can also help people.

As his career goals evolved, Perry decided to enroll in the bachelor’s-to-master’s program. He earned a master’s degree in criminology/criminal justice in August 2018.

During his graduate coursework, Perry learned that research and policy evaluation are needed in the criminal justice field. It was a potent lesson.

“Certain classes were eye-openers,” he says. While not a math lover, his success in descriptive and inferential statistics course bolstered his confidence. “I realized, yes, I could do that,” he says.

Perry plans to pursue a Ph.D. in criminology with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor or private sector or government researcher whose studies could help improve police departments or criminal justice systems.

He cites the high-quality faculty as a reason he continued, and wishes to continue, at UMass Lowell. “I received a really good education here. I feel like I never got anything less than Ivy Leaguers did,” he says. UMass Lowell professors are so approachable, he says, contrasting that with experiences he says friends have had at Ivy League institutions: “In fact, the down-to-earth atmosphere really suits me.”

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