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Alumni Profile: Yessenia Gomez G'18

by Gregg Casazza '19

Yessenia Gomez G'18 never planned on becoming a police officer. That all changed with an internship at the Massachusetts supreme judicial court, where she realized that her enjoyment in the criminal justice field largely stemmed from community interactions.

Yessenia Gomez G'18 | Photo by Margaret Brochu"I didn't want to sit in an office all day," says Gomez, who thrives on interpersonal connections. In the field, she spent a decade as a campus police officer at Wellesley College before moving to her current role at MIT in 2016.

"The work on a college campus is more interactive and personal," she says. To maintain those relationships in the field and explore new perspectives, Gomez enrolled in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program with a focus on emergency and crisis management at Lasell College, which "enhanced every aspect of my job," she says.

"I put it off for many years, but in the end the [graduate degree] program was the best thing I could have done," she says, citing the online format as essential in completing work while managing a rotating shift schedule - which can include 16 hour days - and time with her family.

Now graduated from the program, Gomez has taken on a new leadership role with the Massachusetts Latino Police Officers Association, for which she is the interim president. The organization aims to bring more diversity into law enforcement through mentorship, training, and advocacy programming.

On the ground at MIT, Gomez steps onto campus each day with a better sense of how to help her constituents.

"I deal with situations in which people are at their worst, and that can be challenging," she says - perhaps more so because of those strong community connections. At the same time, she finds the work immensely fulfilling.

"No day is the same. And just when I think that the work isn't rewarding, someone thanks me for what I do. It validates the bad days."

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