An original Pennsylvania native, Dr. Michele Bratina has moved back from Florida and is one of the new professors on campus this year.
She graduated from Penn State Harrisburg with a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science, The University of Arkansas with a Master of the Arts in Criminal Justice and continued her schooling to get her PhD in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
During Bratina’s time at Penn State Harrisburg she got involved in a criminal justice club, which triggered a strong interest in the criminal justice field. During this time one of her mentors inspired her to pursue a career in this field. She went to conferences where she presented her research, which also furthered her interest and strengthened her love of the field.
Bratina’s experience of moving back to Pennsylvania had a bit of a rocky start, but she quickly learned the kindness of a small community. “I was surprised by the amount of generosity I received from the people of this area,” she said.
She was also surprised by how well the community itself stands together and helps each other.
Being a professor can be busy and demanding but she enjoys working with the students and being able to have that interaction with them within the classroom. One of the best parts of being a professor is being able to give the knowledge that she learned as a student back to the students in her classes today.
“Being a Professor is the most rewarding career ever,” Bratina said.
With the semester coming to an end, I asked her what kind of advice she would give to the students who are graduating this year and are planning on pursuing a career in criminal justice. The first piece of advice she offered is that after they graduate, go out in the work field and get their experience first. After getting the experience and making sure that this is the field you want to be in, then go back and continue your education.
“I say this because I started later in my life than most people, so I didn’t have that fifteen to twenty year experience that most people have,” she said.
The other piece of advice is along the same lines with getting experience in the world.
She tells students, “Enjoy life and get a feel of the real world.”
If you see her around campus, don’t hesitate to stop and talk her as we welcome her aboard the Shippensburg University faculty. Let’s show her the same generosity she received when she first arrived in town.