October 6, 2022 SPRING 2022

Yanvier Morel ’23, NYPD Domestic Violence Officer

Born in the Dominican Republic, Yanvier Morel ’23 grew up in public housing in the South Bronx. “I’m the first generation to go to college,” he says. “There was a time when my mother and I were in line at church to get free food. I want to bring a degree into my house and say, ‘Mom, this is what your son did.’”

Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?
YM: Professor Alden Foster asked our class if anyone lived in my neighborhood. I shyly raised my hand. After class, he told me that the NYPD wanted to build relationships with people from my neighborhood. Professor Foster prepared me for my first meeting with former NYPD Police Commissioner O’Neill (James O’Neill ’88, ’93) and made sure that I applied for an NYPD internship. I took the test to become a police officer and within a month of my internship, they called me and said, “You’re going to the Academy.”

 

“My family left everything behind—their culture, language, family, everything. I just want to be able to say, ‘All of your hard work paid off.’” —Yanvier Morel ’23

 

What was your best day on the job?
YM: The best day was when my mother saw me in my uniform for the first time and started crying. My mother left the Dominican Republic with aspirations of giving us an education. My family left everything behind—their culture, language, family, everything. I just want to be able to say, “All of your hard work paid off.”

 

Contents

Remembering Our Heroes

Looking back on 9/11 two decades after the tragedy. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Improving Mental Health Behind Bars

Virginia Barber-Rioja’s, Ph.D.,’02, ’09 passion for psychology and law helps system-impacted individuals with mental health challenges. By Shirley Del Valle

President’s Letter

“We’re living through challenging times.” I’ve found myself writing, saying, and contemplating those five words countless times this year.

President
Karol V. Mason

Chief Communication Officer
Kira Poplowski, Ph.D.

Editorial Director
Andrea Dawn Clark

Writer/Editor
Shirley Del Valle

Creative Director
Laura DeVries

Web Developer
Chunhui Meng

Web Producer
Anh Phan