Embracing an Applied Education: Advocating in the Courtroom, Empowerment in the Classroom

Student applies knowledge, passion to empower others through CourtWatch Program; becomes active volunteer serving the Women’s Community.

What began as a 4- hour service learning opportunity through Globe University-Wausau’s Criminal Justice Program has led Juli Gerber to fulfilling her passion for the criminal justice field. And, has allowed her to find purpose through volunteerism: serving families experiencing trauma, domestic violence, and the need for advocacy.

Juli began her education with Globe University-Wausau in Spring, 2011. The academic opportunities and program were a perfect fit for her life as a returning student and mother.  Juli’s interest was piqued when she learned
about the Court Watch Program at the Women’s Community: Marathon County’s Center for individuals experiencing and recovering from the trauma of domestic
violence and sexual assault.  Victims cannot attend court proceedings and are often left uninformed about whathappens with the charges they filed against a perpetrator of domestic violence or sexual assault.  CourtWatch allows victims
to have an anonymous witness in the courtroom documenting what goes on
regarding pending charges.  Juli completed her first few hours volunteering at the Women’s Community and decided it was a place she wanted to plug-in to and apply not only her knowledge of criminal justice, but her passion.  She
sought out further training and has become an active CourtWatch Advocate: attending court proceedings; then completing reports and submitting them back to The Women’s Community where the victim is provided detailed information regarding court proceedings.

“It was just supposed to be a classroom project; a one-time, 4 hour deal; 11 months later I have found my passion,” Juli shared.

Since April, 2011, Juli has been present and volunteered for 30 initial court appearances, 15 court dates, and is beginning her second trial with CourtWatch this month.  In addition, Juli volunteers to support Women’s
Community recovery groups—providing peer support to victims and their
children.   Through Juli’s CourtWatch volunteer hours, victims of domestic violence are empowered, a feeling that Juli is coming to know well through her education experience.

“Coming to Globe University was the best decision of my life.  It has
done so much for me beyond gaining book knowledge; I have gained self-esteem
and motivation; it has even positively impacted my relationships and how I
parent my daughter.”

Juli shared that she routinely speaks with police officers, bailiffs, court employees, and judges, sharing that she has been invited into the Judge’s chamber, a definite highlight and honor.   And, networking seems to come easy to a once shy, keep-to-herself woman.
Juli’s new found motivation and confidence are paving the path to amazing connections and future success.  During Globe University-Wausau’s Alcohol and Other Drug Awareness week in October, she attended a presentation by Marathon County Coroner John Larsen.  She spoke up, asked questions, and talked
with him following the program.  An opportunity presented itself, and now Juli has the chance to volunteer with the Marathon County Coroner’s office.

Looking forward to hearing the next chapter of Juli’s exciting education and career adventure!