The Foundation

A headshot of Jospeh Mckenna
Joseph Mckenna '11

Joseph Mckenna, RWU Class of 2011

Criminal JusticeAlumni

When RWU students graduate, they do so with the skills they need to build a successful career and take on important issues. Joseph McKenna, a first-generation college graduate, is a prime example. As associate director of research and evaluation for the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University - where he earned his master’s and a doctorate in criminal Justice - McKenna conducts research examining the use of law enforcement in K-12 schools in order to put together a nationwide framework for school-based officers to use. He says it was his hand-on, personalized experience in the Roger Williams' Criminal Justice program that laid the foundation for his success.

"I definitely attribute a lot of my success to Roger Williams, stemming from not only what I learned there but the relationships and the life lessons."

Mckenna sites RWU faculty, like Sean Varano and Julie Coon, as prominent mentors who were always willing and able to guide him on his path, he says. In his courses at RWU, Mckenna gained the academic skills he would come to rely on in graduate school and his career as a researcher. Mckenna, in managing his course load with campus life and a part-time job, also learned skills like organization, time management and prioritization -- skills that sets students up for the future, he says.

"It's not just intelligence," that students require in the workforce, Mckenna says. "There's other things that you need to be successful" and a Roger Williams education teaches you that.