Miranda Cleveland is a Criminal Justice major who says the perception of law enforcement in our country is unfortunate and she wants to be part of the change. "It's sad to see what they're going through. They're here to keep our communities safe and people are hating on them for doing what they are supposed to be doing. I know there are some bad ones out there, but I want to be one of the good ones."
Cleveland grew up in the Cayuga County Town of Cato where she was homeschooled. Her father's service in the United States Marine Corps led her to consider a career in the military before she shifted to law enforcement.
Since arriving on the OCC campus one year ago, the Criminal Justice program has been a perfect fit for her. She enjoys what she is studying and has made a strong connection with Professor Pete Patnode who is a retired police officer. "He is the best professor I've ever had. He's been my lifeline if I have a question, even if it's about another class. He's the person who's made me love college." Her love of college has resulted in outstanding grades in her first two semesters, and induction into OCC's chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Cleveland is attending OCC tuition-free thanks to her father's military service and the G.I. Bill. When she's not in class, the college's Office of Veterans and Military Services is where you can usually find her. "Because I was homeschooled, I was very laid back and anti-social. For half of my first semester I was still that way. But now I talk to everyone in this office. They've really brought me out of my shell. It's like a big family in here. It's where I study and hang out and chat."
Cleveland will complete her degree next May. She plans to graduate with honors before going directly into her career. She's taken the Civil Service Exam for the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department and is interested in a future with the New York State Police as well.