Society Member Spotlight: Jennifer Guzzardi – “Global Leader Scholarship” Recipient (Part 1)
By B. Pasapane on Mar/07/2016
Congratulations to “Global Leader Scholarship” recipient, Jennifer Guzzardi, from the Society chapter at Marist College.
Jennifer Guzzardi became an executive board member for her chapter at Marist College in her Junior year. Through her membership with the Society and her executive board position, Jennifer not only gained the confidence to talk about leadership, but also led her to a new found passion of restorative justice. The term “restorative justice” has emerged sporadically in the media as an alternative approach to the traditional methods of crime and punishment. This model involves bringing the victim, offender, and any necessary party together to talk about the crime and what can be done to achieve future success.
Restorative justice allows people to take responsibility for their actions, as well as inspires them to make a difference in the future. She first became acquainted with this practice while studying abroad in Australia. When she returned to the United States, she found herself questioning our criminal justice system. During an internship with the Philadelphia County Probation and Parole Department she quickly became interested in the theory and practice of motivational interviewing, a person-centered approach to producing intrinsic motivation to change unfavorable behavior. During her senior year, she received a grant from Marist College to present her work at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.
Fast forward a year and a half and Jennifer is currently a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Management due to its emphasis on the public and nonprofit sector. As the recipient of the “Global Leader Scholarship,” the Society was able to help fund Jennifer on her year long travels abroad to New Zealand in an effort to further her knowledge about restorative justice. As of January 2015, she has been attending Auckland University of Technology to gain a Graduate Diploma in Arts, which will allow her to combine her interests of conflict resolution, criminology, and social sciences. During this time, Jennifer is also interning at the Safer Aotearoa Family Violence Prevention Network, a nonprofit organization that uses restorative justice circles to solve problems outside of family court. Ultimately, her goal is to bring significant and transformative change to the field of criminal justice.
Today we are happy to share with you part one of Jennifer’s journey and progress abroad as a “Global Leader” who is making a better world.
New Year, New Land
By: Jennifer Guzzardi
As I waited for the ball to drop, I couldn’t help but think about the adventure that lie ahead. I had thought about the trip nearly three years ago. I had made the arrangements a year and a half ago. Now, it was two weeks. Two weeks until I board that plane to take off to a new land.
When I arrived in New Zealand, I expected to feel ‘different.’ I expected to be transformed, to have blossomed overnight because all of my dreams were becoming reality. As if I were now a new person, ready to take on my new life.
Well, maybe the twenty-something hour flight had some influence because that didn’t happen. I felt that I needed a shower. And maybe that I should brush my teeth too.
However, despite not feeling glamorous or spectacular or transformed, I felt ready. Looking back, my transformation began in the months prior to my departure. Sure, I had cut my hair, but it was bigger than that. I became empowered. Not only from the support of my family and friends but from the knowledge I sought in other areas of my life, particularly the Society.
A theme in many of the Society’s Speaker Broadcasts is independence. This seems to be rooted in a certain confidence in the belief that you’ve got something good...whether that be a physical product or an idea.
I feel that way too. I came to New Zealand to study conflict resolution, specifically restorative justice. Restorative justice is a broad term used to encompass various practices across society. Within the criminal justice system, restorative justice is used as a voluntary process to bring together an offender, victim, and any other necessary party to talk about an incidence of crime. The benefits vary from offender accountability, victim empowerment, and an understanding of what can be done to achieve future success.
While restorative justice is practiced within the United States, it is not mandatory in most states. In New Zealand, the 2014 Sentencing Act requires judges in district court to consider restorative justice for all cases that meet the criteria. For example, an offender must admit guilt and there must be one or more victims in order to consider the process.
Apart from its use in the criminal justice system, restorative justice has been used by the native people of New Zealand throughout history. Traditionally, it incorporated a spiritual component- sometimes represented in a symbolic talking piece- and allowed the Maori people to come together to solve a problem collectively.
During my time in New Zealand, I will be studying and doing an internship in an effort to gain more knowledge about restorative justice. I want to learn about the Maori culture and how that culture influences the practices and processes of the country. Ultimately, I want to bring the knowledge I gain back to the United States to further its prevalence. I want to make significant and transformative change to the field of criminal justice.