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January 5, 2023

Field of Her Dreams

A true people person, Grace Calus ’23 is majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology because she knows that no matter what career she chooses she’ll be serving others.

“It’s difficult to find experience that allows someone to learn so much through first-hand work as an undergraduate student, but the Principled Problem Solving program pushed me to find this internship and prepared me with tools that made it all possible.”

Grace Calus '23
Criminal Justice major, Psychology minor

“I love talking to people, hearing their stories, and helping them,” she says. “Also, Criminal Justice is something we experience and see all around us, but we know very little about the system itself.”
A native of Creedmoor, N.C., Grace was drawn to Guilford through the recruiting process for softball
“I visited many schools and finally came upon Guilford. The campus is so beautiful and homey, and there’s a large number of academic programs to choose from. I also considered going to law school, so the Elon Law Program interested me because it’s a money and time saver.”
Grace says she’s still considering law or graduate school after a year of professional work, something that will be a snap considering her invaluable internships and skills set.

Learn more about Guilford's Master of Criminal Justice program.

Practical Experience

Two internships shaped Grace’s decision-making process for her postgraduate plans. 
Her first was with A.L Collins Law Firm in Kernersville, N.C., in the spring of 2022. The small, family-owned general law practice handles a variety of legal services, including estates, wills, and civil cases, as well as low-level criminal charges.
“I had the opportunity to develop skills such as legal research, writing, and professional communication, and I gained further exposure to the criminal-justice field as a whole,” she says. “I wrote wills, powers of attorney, and other legal documents based on notes from clients, I conducted title searches to track property ownership, shadowed a judge, witnessed hearings, and so much more.”

Grace’s role as a Principled Problem Solving Scholar (PPS) led to her second internship with Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) in the summer of 2022.
“SAF granted me the position as an advocacy intern with the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) and the N.C. Justice Center. I managed three bilingual social media platforms for FAN, campaigned for a new coalition coordinator, communicated with member organizations, and created a Facebook page for the N.C. Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project, which provides information for workers in Spanish.” 
She also worked with other interns in the cohort to build trust and relationships with farmworkers. The interns shared information with the farmworkers while keeping in mind their strenuous lifestyle. They offered breaks with a meal, a few laughs, and some competitive soccer games.
“I learned a lot from this internship about the farmworker movement and how much more farm work is intertwined in communities than what meets the eye,” she says. “I also learned about different cultures and how important communication and language are, as well as the impact that policies have on each person in our society,” she says. 
“It’s difficult to find experience that allows someone to learn so much through first-hand work as an undergraduate student,” she says, “but the Principled Problem Solving program pushed me to find this internship and prepared me with tools that made it all possible.”

Time Flies at Guilford

In addition to being a PPS scholar and student-athlete — starting every game of the 2022 softball season and collecting 24 hits, 12 runs, and four RBIs — Grace has been involved in a variety of groups and activities.
She served as an orientation team leader, Multicultural Leaders Scholarship Program scholar, residential adviser, Justice and Policy Studies Department assistant, Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative, Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle leader, and chair holder for the Campus Activities Board.
“My time at Guilford went by as quickly as everyone told me it would,” she says. “And I’m graduating a year early, so I relied heavily on staff and faculty members to keep me on the right track while getting the most out of my time here.”
Her academic adviser, Will Pizio, has been especially influential. 
“I took his class in my first semester and found it difficult at first, but the challenge allowed me to successfully perform in the rest of my courses at Guilford. Will provided countless amounts of advice and guidance when I had to make a large or small decision, academically and professionally. I appreciate his honesty, sense of humor, and vision.”
Grace also says that Head Softball Coach Dennis Shores has been a major source of support by encouraging a strong work ethic, keeping her accountable academically, and improving her time-management skills. 
“Coach Shores encouraged me to take advantage of extracurricular opportunities and even helped me seek out extra financial support when I needed more funding to afford my education,” she says.
Grace recommends that other Criminal Justice majors start researching possible career opportunities right away. 
“Consider supplementing your Criminal Justice degree with another major that complements another interest,” she says. “People are looking for skills in STEM, dealing with science and technology, or business management and organization abilities, as well as diverse cultural knowledge.”
And just like Grace, they’ll find all of those opportunities — and more — at Guilford.

Are you interested in a law degree or other criminal justice career? Schedule your personalized visit to campus to meet Will and students like Grace who share your interests. Contact the Office of Admission to learn more — 336.316.2100 or