Eastern Maine Community College is proud to announce that Rebecca Peters, Criminal Justice, has been named the 2022 Student of the Year.
Rebecca is not only a Dean’s List student in a rigorous program, she and her husband have four sons ranging in age from 12 to 20. Her husband has worked in law enforcement and corrections since 2008 and was her inspiration for entering the field. As her children grew, Becca saw a need in their school for outside support, and she acted by organizing with other parents to start a PTA for her rural school district.
As a non-traditional student entering a traditionally male-dominated field, Becca quickly emerged as someone who set the bar high for herself and by extension, her peers. During her first semester in the fall of 2020, she was selected to serve as the student representative on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, which consists of professionals from around the state in the areas of policing, courts, and corrections. As the fall semester wound down, Becca took the opportunity to work with one of her peers to assist the Orono Police Department on a data analysis project. During the spring of 2021, while carrying 13 college credits on campus, she completed the forty-hour Maine Criminal Justice Academy (MCJA) Phase I Law Enforcement Pre-Service (LEPS) program, which is the first step in becoming a police officer. At the end of the spring semester, she volunteered to assist in the distribution of graduation regalia and gift bags for EMCC’s class of 2021.
Becca also turned what would have been an unpaid internship with the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office into a paid clerical assistant position, where she began working 25 hours a week last spring and continued through the fall semester and into 2022. In this position, she learned about the prosecution process, saw police reports and summonses first-hand, learned about victim and witness advocacy, and networked with many law enforcement, prosecution, and corrections professionals.
With graduation still two months away, Becca passed Phase II of the MCJA LEPS program and is already certified to be a police officer in the State of Maine. She completed the Phase II program while also taking the final four EMCC criminal justice classes. On February 7, Becca was sworn in as a full-time police officer with the Lincoln Police Department. She is currently completing her FTO training phase and will eventually go to the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program at the MCJA.
During her time at EMCC, she has served as a peer tutor and mentored her fellow criminal justice students by helping them with the course content, as well as their organizational and study skills. Her peers say that she is highly motivated, goal-driven, strives to be the best and is quick to offer a helping hand. Fellow CJ student, Lucas Leighton, said “Becca is a leader in our program, offers encouragement, tries to include everyone in group discussions, and always offers a unique perspective on various topics in our class discussions.”
CRJ Department Chair Cornel Plebani shared, “Becca was a student whose raw talent emerged early in her first semester in the program. Accordingly, she was quickly identified for various community-oriented opportunities to accelerate her professional development. Becca excelled in all of these endeavors, especially in her role at the District Attorney’s Office. They consistently told me that she became an indispensable asset whose departure for Lincoln PD was a loss for the office.” Rebecca was also called upon to be one of the student representatives who greeted Governor Mills when she visited campus to participate in the Women in Leadership Panel. She was able to talk with the Governor prior to the event and advocate for women in law enforcement and the Criminal Justice Program at EMCC.
In addition to being the 2022 EMCC Student of the Year, Rebecca was also chosen as a PTK New Century Workforce Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship. This scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions on a national scale as they plan to enter the workforce upon the completion of a degree or certificate. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
New Century Workforce Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,200 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce Scholar was selected from each state.
“We congratulate Rebecca for receiving this prestigious scholarship, and we are honored to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize her outstanding achievements,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for students to succeed as they prepare to enter the workforce and for putting college completion within reach.”
Rebecca has proven to herself, her program, and her college that she is a valuable member of her community and that you can return to college later in life and not just succeed but excel. Congratulations Rebecca, from all of us at EMCC.
The Maine Community College System will be holding a virtual ceremony to celebrate Student of the Year Recipients with EMCC hosting an in-person viewing celebration on campus. The ceremony will be held on April 27th at 11:30 AM. Details for both the virtual event and in-person event will be posted here as they are finalized. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or media requests.