“Juvenile justice was a natural marriage of everything I was interested in.”

Hometown: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Education: BA, Spanish and minor in Criminal Justice, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Known at the office for: Arguing her way into a free desk
Recognized by: Her Wisconsin-red pea coat

The first thing that Caryn put on her desk when she arrived to the CFSY in January 2013 was a miniature red chair.  More specifically, it is “a sunburst red chair from the University of Wisconsin student union.” 

Caryn graduated from Wisconsin in December 2012, a semester before most of her classmates.

“I was ready for a change,” she says.

And a change she got.  Caryn moved to Washington D.C., and started her new job at the CFSY only a few days later. 

Caryn says she has always been interested in criminal justice because of its diverse mixture of political science, history, law, psychology, and of course, people and their stories.  Plus, she saw it as an area where she could put her Spanish fluency to good use because members of the Latino population often are overrepresented in the justice system.

Caryn took her first class in criminal justice during her sophomore year of college and went on to earn a minor in the subject.  This provided her with the opportunity to visit both a women’s prison and a juvenile detention center in Madison as well as a secure mental health treatment facility. At the women’s prison she encountered a group of grandmotherly inmates that showed her first-hand the amazing and positive changes inmates can undergo in their lifetimes.

In the summer of 2012, Caryn worked as the client services intern at the Public Defender’s Office in Madison, where she worked with a particularly passionate juvenile public defender. She also regularly visited jails and compiled information for alternative presentencing investigations—all of which fueled her interest in joining the CFSY. 

Caryn has an athletic background; she has run five half marathons and was the captain of her high school’s cross country team.  She hopes to join one of the ever-popular DC intramural sports leagues. 

“Only,” she admits, “not in the summer.  I’ve heard DC is too humid.”