Student from the Democratic Republic of Congo aims to improve the criminal justice system
by Michelle Mondo
Christine Nduhura is looking to her past to help make a difference in the future.
“I want to work within immigration services because of my immigrant background,” the St. Mary’s University student said. “Our process of obtaining citizenship was so smooth when I came here, but that’s not the case for everyone. I want to help ease the process for others.”
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nduhura was a baby when her family fled to Rwanda amid the ethnic cleansing of her people. She was in middle school when they immigrated to the United States in 2010.
Now 24, Nduhura is a junior majoring in Criminal Justice. She transferred from St. Philip’s College, following the path of her older sister Joyeuse Nishimwe, a Biology Senior at St. Mary’s.
“When I was young, most issues (in Rwanda) were resolved via violence or bribes,” said Nduhura of her interest in criminal justice. “I wanted to learn about the American process and how it differs from Rwanda and, most importantly, how I can play a part in improving the system.”
Criminal justice is the study of the administration, organization, goals, processes, practices, roles, philosophies and histories of organizations created to prevent and control crime and delinquency.
Christine Nduhura, Criminal Justice junior
“I wanted to learn about the American process and how it differs from Rwanda and, most importantly, how I can play a part in improving the system.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Nduhura hopes to attend the St. Mary’s University School of Law. If she does not get a job working in immigration services, she wants to help children within the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Criminal Justice Professor Milo Colton, Ph.D., J.D., who is also an attorney, has been teaching at St. Mary’s for decades. Nduhura has taken two of his classes and is currently in two more. He sees in her the kind of student that exemplifies the University’s Marianist mission dedicated to serving the common good.
“She is definitely an empathetic individual,” he said. “She cares about other people, cares about civil rights and civil liberties, all the things we want our students to keep in mind during our program so that, when they get out in the workforce, they don’t forget the social justice mission that St. Mary’s promotes.”
Criminal Justice and Criminology Assistant Professor Colton Daniels, Ph.D., said the program allows students to take criminology, criminal justice and forensics classes, which prepares students like Nduhura to work in a variety of fields.
“We give students extreme flexibility in tailoring their degree to fit what they want to pursue in their career,” said Daniels, adding that the course work trains students to see human behaviors through different lenses.
Milo Colton, Ph.D., J.D.
“Christine cares about other people, cares about civil rights and civil liberties, all the things we want our students to keep in mind during our program.”
The mission was one of the reasons Nduhura wanted to attend. Before she became a student, she volunteered with her sister during the University’s Continuing the Heritage Day of Service. Now, their youngest sister volunteers and hopes to attend St. Mary’s as a future nursing student. On Oct. 21, the University announced plans to create a Bachelor of Nursing program to be housed in the new Blank Sheppard Innovation Center.
“That’s why I wanted to study criminal justice,” Nduhura said. “I want to make a difference and the St. Mary’s mission speaks to me.”