Q&A with Karen Wentz
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor | OCC Adjunct Faculty Member | OCC Associate in Applied Science, 2010 | Founding President, Criminal Justice Student Association
Describe your success story and what you’re doing now.
After receiving my degree at OCC in 2010, I transferred to Madonna University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. I also received certificates in Homeland Security and Private Investigation. In 2013, I entered Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School and graduated in January 2017. I took the bar exam a month later and became a licensed attorney in June 2017. I recently moved from a judicial secretary for Oakland County to Wayne County’s Assistant Prosecutor. I am also an adjunct professor at OCC.
What did you learn as a student at OCC that prepared you for success?
I learned that when professors encourage you to use them as a reference, please do! My relationships with my professors were key to my success throughout my education and they continue to provide resources, tools and job opportunities for me now. I also learned that setting yourself apart now will pay off tremendously in the long run. Get involved with leadership opportunities, join student organizations, do the heavy lifting now because you don’t know what doors will open for you later on down the road or what doors will be shut because you didn’t put it the work.
Did any one person or activity inspire you throughout your time at OCC to become who you are? What was the impact?
The activity that inspired me the most was being a part of the Criminal Justice Student Association (CJSA). As the founding president, I learned that I had the ability to construct and build something from nothing through the help and support of classmates and faculty members.
Briefly describe your time at OCC.
I’ve had many great instructors during the time I earned each of my degrees, but I enjoyed and valued my OCC instructors the most. Instructors in the Criminal Justice program worked in the fields they taught and learning wasn’t about memorizing information but instead the focus was on exploring and learning the skills necessary to be successful. My time at OCC was spent defining my interests and it ultimately set the pace for my future.
What advice can you share with incoming or prospective OCC students?
OCC provides a learning environment for students to explore their career interests and discover new paths to fit their passion and skills—take advantage of that! It is normal for students to have a hard time deciding on career paths. Use OCC to accomplish your goals and explore unknown areas to see what opportunities are available to you. Also, as best you can, never compare your life to the lives of others. The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday. This is your journey, enjoy the ride!