The Next Generation of Advocacy-Centered Researchers
Meet Domenique Montgomery, the Center for Justice Research’s (CJR) Summer 2021 intern.
Finishing up his undergraduate degree at TSU, Domenique’s long-term goals include teaching at the collegiate level, as well as building a fund that focuses on making investments into companies that leverage new technologies to solve prominent social justice issues.
“My experience at CJR has been pretty eye opening,” Domenqiue said. “Seeing Dr. Howard Henderson’s work ethic has left a pretty good impression on me so far and has definitely challenged me to step my game up. I think he sets the bar high, because he sees and wants the best out of us, but also because he really wants us to be successful even when we leave the center.”
One major benefit to an internship at CJR is seeing firsthand how applied academic research is conducted. But the experience working at CJR goes beyond academic reports. How to educate the community on social justice issues, and how to engage with different leaders in order to achieve real-world change through policy and awareness.
The closer Domenique gets to completing his internship, the more he says that he is developing a deeper understanding of society and the inequities that people from various communities face daily. These new perspectives are ones that he sees himself keeping as he progresses closer to his goals.
“Being able to hold conversations with individuals and provide them with vital information that could help spark an innovative idea or create the partnerships needed to address these key issues, Domenique feels are vital to addressing these social issues.
Breaking into the criminal justice reform space can be daunting and frustrating, especially if students are being rejected or not receiving a response. Domenique advises that persistence and patience pays off when pursuing internships.
“I’ve lost count on how many applications I’ve submitted over the last year alone, but if it's really something you want to be a part of, just keep at it,” Domenique said. “Even with this internship, I had to remain persistent, but in the end, it was definitely worth it.”
Aside from how to get the perfect internship for your career, Domenique feels students should understand that their lives will take unexpected turns, and it can take more time than expected to find the right direction you want to head towards.
Domenique wrapped the conversation by saying,“Life is a journey. I know people say that a lot but the older you get the more you really realize how true that statement is. It took me over 10 years and returning to school full time to get a better idea of who and what I wanted to become. At 29 years old, some days I still wake up uncertain about what’s next for me. Not knowing if this direction is truly where I want to go, but I can say that now more than ever I feel more confident and certain that my path is a true reflection of who I am.”