The Foundation

A headshot of Jospeh Mckenna
Joseph Mckenna '11

Joseph Mckenna, RWU Class of 2011

Major:  Criminal Justice
Alumni

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 the director of safety and security at Comal Independent School District in Texas, he's able to implement his prior research examining the use of law enforcement in K-12 schools as he keeps nearly 25,000 student across 31 different K-12 campuses safe and secure. 

He attributes much of his success to the hand-on, personalized experience in the Roger Williams' Criminal Justice program that laid the foundation for his success.

"The opportunities I got here really set me up for graduate school. I started my K-12 focus at Roger Williams, carried it into my master's and then into my dissertation."

Mckenna also 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.

"I developed good relationships with faculty that took it beyond the classroom. It wasn't just a lecture everyday, "said McKenna. "I had the opportunity to work with professors on different projects and focus on other areas that I was interested in."

In his courses at RWU, Mckenna gained the academic skills he would come to rely on in graduate school, his career as a researcher and beyond. But it's the more simple, foundational skills such as public speaking, critical thinking and problem solving that McKenna uses largely in his position today.

"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.