Pandemic Inspires Career Change for Keiser University Lakeland Student

Marie Bonilla moved to Davenport, Florida five years ago from her home in Puerto Rico. She moved to the United States after hurricane Maria swept through the northeast Caribbean in 2017. At first, she wasn’t quite sure what to do with her life. She spent her days helping around the house, assisting where her parents needed, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Bonilla realized that she wanted more.

Bonilla discovered Keiser University after searching for universities that could offer a program in forensics. Keiser University was able to offer a hands-on approach to forensics learning, and Bonilla appreciated the flexibility of class schedules. She received her associate’s degree from Keiser University Lakeland, and quickly enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program soon after.

The associate program allowed Bonilla to ease back into the routine of schoolwork, while also challenging her to become a better student.

“The program kept me intrigued, and the professors always wanted to help,” Bonilla said. “It didn’t matter what time of day I had questions – they were always there.”

Bonilla’s advisors were the ones who encouraged her to keep going after her associates degree for a bachelor’s degree. They explained that although she could get right into her career field with the associates, she would have better future opportunity for growth with a bachelor’s degree under her belt.

Now, about halfway through the program, Bonilla is thankful for the guidance. She said that taking criminal justice classes has allowed her to learn both the front and back sides of the career, the whys, hows, and what-ifs.

She is predicted to graduate in the summer of 2023. Afterwards, Bonilla said that she plans on looking for a career in forensics at a local police station.

Graduates of the B.A. in Criminal Justice degree program will develop an understanding of the history of the criminal justice system, including its evolution and impact on society. In this program, students will develop an ability to understand the tools and procedures used by criminal justice professionals, and an ability to think critically and communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.

Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in Social Mobility by U.S. News And World Report in 2022.

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Keiser University is pleased to join forces with guest lecturer, and New York Times Bestselling author Don Yaeger, to offer The Greatness Leadership Initiative: Transforming the World in the Face of Change. This open, online course is available free of charge to all in the Keiser University community. Stay tuned for more information!

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