Criminal Justice Alumna Finds Career Helping Others When They Need it Most

Gabrielle Rainey '18 '22 chose Widener's Criminal Justice program to pursue her interest in the legal and justice field and found it was the perfect fit. Now she uses her degrees to help others when they need it most.

Gabrielle Rainey
Gabrielle Rainey
Class of 2018 and 2022
Criminal Justice
  • College of Arts & Sciences
Career: Victims Advocate Services

Gabrielle Rainey wanted to stay close to home and family when choosing a college to pursue her interest in the legal and justice field, and she found just what she was looking for in Widener’s Criminal Justice program.  

“From when I first learned about Widener, not only did I love the academics, but I loved the plethora of opportunities for extracurricular activities,” said Gabrielle. “Widener was a safe space for me where I could be myself and not be judged.”

Now working as the Director of a Victim Service Agency in Philadelphia, Gabrielle puts her Widener degrees into action helping others during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. 

A resource for those who need it most

Gabrielle comes from a family of those working in helping professions and knew she wanted to continue that legacy. She did just that by pursuing her bachelors and masters in criminal justice at Widener.

“I love learning about the law and how it impacts people. I knew I did not want to be a lawyer, or a police officer, but I wanted to help people which is how I stumbled upon victim support services.”

Gabrielle and her team of advocates work towards advocating for the needs of crime victims while utilizing methods of trauma informed service delivery. Gabrielle and her team support those during troubling times throughout every step of the criminal justice process and the healing process. 

Support at every step

During her time at Widener, Gabrielle utilized services from the Office of Career Design and Development for internship and volunteer opportunities, as well as Counseling and Psychological Services when needed.

“Widener prepared me very well. There were always opportunities available, and the professors made sure that we knew we could do anything we put our mind to. They truly care about student well-being and success.”

Gabrielle also found her home with the Widener Dance Company and served in a number of leadership positions within the organization.

“I gained lifelong friends from the company. WDC was a place that I could continue my passion of dancing and destress from academic work,” she said.

Continued connections

In addition to student services and extracurriculars, Gabrielle gives special thanks to the Criminal Justice department for the support she received and the connections that continue to grow including Shana Maier, professor and director of the Master of Criminal Justice program and Nancy Blank, professor and chair of Criminal Justice.

“I have known Dr. Blank for ten years now and she has become not only a mentor, but a friend. We stay in touch regarding speaking opportunities and internships,” said Gabrielle. “I truly wouldn’t have been able to complete my master’s degree without Dr. Maier. She pushed me when I needed extra support.” 

Career: Victims Advocate Services

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