Junior Major Moments: Law and Justice Studies Major Matthew McGrath Talks Internships and Research Opportunities

Matt smiling and posing for a picture.

Matthew takes a selfie outdoors.

Today we feature rising senior Law and Justice Studies major Matthew McGrath. Matthew is a Resident Assistant in the Whitney Center from Middletown, NJ (Monmouth County).

Could you share your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes?

Over the course of three years I have completed at Rowan, my favorite experience is a more recent one. During the fall semester of my junior year, I took a class called “Critical Issues in American Law Enforcement.” Dr. Evan Sorg was the instructor for this course; I had taken an introductory Law & Justice course with him during my freshman year.¬†

Dr. Sorg’s class relies heavily on research conducted within the criminal justice field, and I was often interested in the articles we were required to read for class. This course got me engaged in research and provided me with a more academic approach to law & justice. This past spring, Dr. Sorg reached out to me and subsequently offered me a research assistant position.

Dr. Sorg and I are currently working together in order to create a systematic review of immigration enforcement and the impact it has on crime in America. Not only is the work fulfilling, but Dr. Sorg is an awesome advisor and has definitely become one of my role models in the field of criminal justice research.

Matthew poses with some friends and with Gaten Matarazzo who plays Dustin in the hit show "Stranger Things."
Matthew poses with friends and with Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin in the hit show “Stranger Things.”

What is the most amazing or interesting ‚Äčthing you’ve learned in your major this year?

Prior to enrolling in some of the higher-level courses Rowan has to offer, I held the notion that Law & Justice relies primarily on the information presented in textbooks. This, however, is incorrect, as I have learned in Dr. Sorg’s classes as well as in other criminal justice research-oriented courses. Research is a constantly-evolving field that requires dedicated attention to detail. While others may find it to be a bit dry, I am intrigued by criminal justice research and the opportunities it may lend me moving forward.

Matthew poses in a hallway with shelves filled with glass objects.

What pre-professional experiences are helping to support your growth?

One pre-professional experience that has definitely supported my growth is an internship I completed with the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender this past spring. As a Drug Court System Navigator with the NJOPD, I had the opportunity to collaborate with over 150 Gloucester County Drug Court participants to ensure they act in accordance with probation guidelines. I was also responsible for reaching out to local businesses with the goal of providing Drug Court participants with employment as well as assisting them with essential matters including healthcare and housing.

Not only did this internship provide me with a quality professional experience that will greatly benefit me moving forward, but it was also a fulfilling position that I looked forward to every single day. I learned a significant amount during my time with the NJOPD and this experience also introduced me to the field of social work, which is something I am now considering for my future. 

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major