In high school, Jenny Konecnik '14 found herself torn between two potential career paths: one, to work for the FBI, and the other, to open her own bridal boutique. After arriving at Emmanuel, her dreams of dresses and veils yielded to the theoretical perspectives and empirical research as she declared a major in sociology with a concentration in crime and justice.
Her interest in criminology began at a young age, when she would watch documentaries on missing persons and homicides investigations.
"Sometimes, in the end, the cases would be left unsolved and I would be so frustrated," Konecnik said. "I would wonder, 'Why can't they solve this?' I needed to know."
When she came to Emmanuel, she took a variety of sociology courses, but it was during "Crimes Against Humanity," a class exploring large-scale crimes such as apartheid, human trafficking and torture, as well as the organizations that work to fight these atrocities, that she set her sights on crime and justice.
Konecnik first began to explore potential career opportunities in her hometown of Sparta, N.J., during the summer before her senior year. For two months, she interned at the Sparta Police Department, where she was able to observe many aspects of the department, including the detective bureau, dispatch, patrol and the gun range. The experience opened her eyes to the variety of opportunities in the field.
"I had always been dead-set on working in the FBI," she said. "So much so that I didn't even know other areas in the field existed."
Returning to Boston for the fall semester, Konecnik began a second internship with the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, working under Major Paul DeFazio at the South Bay House of Corrections-a seven-building facility that houses adult male and female inmates convicted of crimes with a sentence of two and a half years or less.
During the first half of the internship, Konecnik shadowed employees in the classification department, which determines where inmates at the jail should be housed. For the second half, she utilized her information technology minor by heading a research project on the recidivism rate of the jail by analyzing BOPs.
"I loved working in a correctional office," she said. "I loved talking to the inmates and interviewing them about their backgrounds. I learned that each crime, each person, each situation, is so different.
"I couldn't have asked for a better internship."
This semester, Konecnik is exploring yet another avenue in her major, working as an intern in the Criminal Bureau under the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. The Criminal Bureau investigates and prosecutes a wide range of criminal cases and violations of the public trust, including corruption, financial fraud, organized crime, major narcotic offenses, appellate issues, insurance and unemployment fraud, environmental crimes, internet and online crimes, and more. In this role, Konecnik assists lawyers by reading and summarizing cases and going through evidence.
"It's definitely not an internship where I'm standing at the copy machine all day," she said. "I'm really helping to move the process along."
With each new experience, Konecnik has grown more confident in her chosen trajectory, while her career choices have expanded far beyond the FBI.
"A few months ago, I was so sure I wanted to work in the prison system, but this internship might have changed my mind," she said. "I love everything I'm doing.
There are definitely worse problems to have!"