The criminal justice bug bit Brian Jankowski at a young age thanks to his uncle Mike. "He was a State Trooper. When I was a little kid he would come by with his police car and show me his gear. He let me turn on the lights and siren. It really stuck with me."
That lifelong goal of a career in law enforcement made a recent event even more meaningful. Jankowski was grinning from ear-to-ear when Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway came to campus March 10 and presented him with a scholarship check totaling $250 from the New York State Sheriffs Institute. "This check is in recognition of your academic success and your dedicated pursuit of a career in criminal justice," Conway told him. "It's a great feeling to be recognized," said Jankowski. "It's really an honor."
Jankowski is a 2015 graduate of Marcellus High School who initially attended OCC right out of high school. A severe reaction to a medical procedure forced him to quit after his first semester. He spent a few years working a variety of jobs before deciding to return to campus. "I learned while I was out working in the real world if you're not doing what you love you're wasting your time. The quickest way to do what I love was to come back to OCC. It's such a great school."
He returned to the Criminal Justice major in the spring of 2019 and earned an outstanding 3.9 grade point average. In the fall he topped it with a perfect 4.0. "I'm passionate about what I'm learning. I have my drive and I have my passion. Learning comes so easy after that. I've never felt so excited. It feels so good to achieve."
Jankowski will earn his associate degree in December. He plans to transfer to a four-year college and keep pursuing his dream. "Any career in criminal justice is appealing to me. I'd really like to work outdoors and be a conservation officer, but wherever the path takes me if fine."
OCC Criminal Justice & Public Safety Department Professor Jessica Wieczorek thinks the sky is the limit for Jankowski. "He's very focused and very motivated. He's one of those students you know is going to successful."