College of Arts and Sciences

Meet SACJ Students and Alumni

Shawn Brennan ’16

B.A. in Criminal Justice

When Shawn Brennan graduated in May 2016, he already had a job offer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. By the following August, he was in Baton Rouge, La., helping flood survivors as a FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistant Specialist. “It is a face-to-face interaction where we can answer questions specifically about the FEMA assistance and other urgent needs residents may have,” Shawn said. “DSA directs citizens in the right path and reassures them that they are not alone through the process of getting back on their feet. Every survivor has their own story to tell, and we are here to listen and assist.” While at Arcadia Shawn went to Ireland on Preview, interned for the Burlington County Office of Emergency Management, and worked on a research project for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. “Arcadia prepared me to be committed to FEMA’s four core values: compassion, fairness, integrity and respect.”

Read More About Shawn

Samantha Compitello ’17

Criminal Justice major, Gender and Women's Studies minor

Originally from Old Bridge, N.J., Sam Compitello is also pursuing a minor in Italian. In three years at Arcadia, Sam has travelled to England as part of Arcadia’s Preview Program, spent a summer in Perugia studying Italian, and along with several SACJ faculty, spent 10 days in South Africa where she presented her research at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. A member of the Dean’s List since her first semester at Arcadia, Sam is working on a faculty research project in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, is an Orientation Leader, and is a Peer Mentor for the First Year Seminar “So, You Want to be a Lawyer?” She has also become a member of the Italian Honor Society and the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success. With aspirations to earn a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, Sam believes she “would not have the confidence that I now have” without the department. “Even if I have not had a course with a professor, I have developed a personal relationship with them, and everyone knows you by name.”

Natalie Vargas ’17

Sociology major, Gender and Women's Studies minor

A commuter student from Northeast Philadelphia, Natalie Vargas has nonetheless been active on campus, as part of clubs like the Latino Association and Puro Ritmo (a Latin dance club that has featured her choreography), and as a mentor for several groups including AVID, REAL, and NEXT-STEPS AmeriCorp. An alumnus of Arcadia’s Gateway for Success program, Natalie credits two “strong women”—Professors Ana Maria Garcia and Doreen Loury—with helping her achieve her academic dreams: “I have never felt so welcomed at a school before, and I am very happy that I chose to do my undergraduate degree here at Arcadia University.” After graduation in Spring 2017, Natalie intends to pursue a master of social work degree and aspires to run her own non-profit organization someday. 

Sabrina Forte ’18

Sociology major

Sabrina Forte did not begin Arcadia as a sociology major, but soon found her way to the department where she has become a Research Assistant to Professor Dina Pinsky, helped create the student-run Sociology Society, and earned a place on the Dean’ Distinguished Honors List. “The professors and students in the Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice department welcomed me with open arms and helped me feel at home. With their help, guidance, and support I have grown both as a student and an individual. This department helped me fall back in love with learning and I would not want to spend the next few years anywhere else.” Originally from Minersville, Pa., Sabrina plans to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology after graduation and hopes for a life of research and teaching.

Sierra Elmore ’19

Sociology major

Sierra Elmore is from Harrisburg, PA. During her first semester, she became a student blogger for Because Arcadia, made the Dean’s Distinguished Honors List, and wrote a course paper on Frida Kahlo that would be published in ScholarWorks@Arcadia. Then it was off to Stirling University in Scotland for her spring semester as part of Arcadia’s distinctive First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE). Back in Glenside now for her sophomore year, Sierra is working as a Career Peer Advisor in the Office of Career Education, as a FYSAE mentor, and continues on as a writer for Because Arcadia. All of this is good experience for her future plans: to earn a doctoral degree in social work, run a poverty-focused non-profit organization, and publish socially-conscious young adult novels. (Sierra is also minoring in Creative Writing.) “The sociology department has been a defining factor during my Arcadia experience,” Sierra believes. “The department as a whole fosters an amazing environment for students like me to learn. And the project-oriented course structures are helping me prepare for direct fieldwork after graduation, which was exactly what I was looking for in a college.”

Read Sierra's Blog