This post is part of the Career Center’s bi-weekly roundup of alumni success stories. Check out Gianina’s story below, and find more SuCCess Stories here!
A Conversation with Gianina Horton ‘14
Major: Political Science
Grad Year: 2014
Current Job Title, Organization: Program Manager for Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops
“Gianina” is not a very common name – which is why, when Gianina Horton saw a post on Facebook from another Gianina in Denver, she immediately added her as a friend. Little did she know that this other Gianina would one day offer her a job.
Gianina graduated from Colorado College in 2014 with a degree in Political Science. After graduation, she began her career as a PIFP fellow at the Denver Scholarship Foundation. While working at the foundation, she decided to attend a meeting on police accountability in Aurora, Colorado.
During this meeting, the attendees broke out into small groups to discuss and brainstorm the issue. Horton suggested a program designed to build officer and youth relationships. The other Gianina – or “Gia”, as she likes to be called – was at the meeting as well, and was impressed by the suggestion. Gia tapped Gianina on the shoulder and asked her to apply for a job.
Gianina now works as a Program Manager for the Office of the Independent Monitor in the City and County of Denver. The program she manages is called Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops, which works to improve relationships between the Denver youth and law enforcement.
According to Gianina, her program attempts to do this in three ways; 1) by educating youth in Denver about their rights and responsibilities when in contact with law enforcement, 2) by educating officers on adolescent development and de-escalation techniques, and 3) by leading forums, workshops, and community-led facilitated dialogues between youth and police.
Gianina describes the most rewarding part of her job as being involved in an initiative where youth and officers are part of a larger conversation, and where there is potential for building youth and law enforcement tool-kits to foster safe encounters.
While her career path has not changed dramatically, Gianina does have a better idea now of what she would like to do with her career than she did when she graduated. She is also grateful for the critical lenses and frameworks she developed during her liberal arts education.
If Gianina were to give advice to students looking to find a job in her field, she would tell them that they should show up to community events. “In terms of criminal justice, there is a lot of community organizing happening,” she says. “[Knowing] who the players are in your field is key. Identify the ones that can assist you in your next steps.”
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