Allison (Ally) Monge’s entire life was based in California, until one day, when she received a special letter in the mail.  The envelope contained a scholarship offer from The University of Alabama, and Allison, who finished in the top 3% of her high school graduating class, set her sights on Tuscaloosa.

She brought a great curiosity and strong set of priorities with her.  As Ally recalls, “I have always loved school and reading, being ‘the nerdy one’ out of my older brother and I.  He was more of the athlete, though I did play an impressive six different sports at various times—trying unsuccessfully to find a sport niche. Bookstores and libraries are some of my favorite places to visit, and my mom, nana, and teachers growing up fostered a deep love and appreciation for all kinds of literature.”

Her family helped set the foundation for Ally’s success, providing “the utmost encouragement and maintaining a positive support system for whatever new adventure or endeavor I wanted to tackle next, including moving cross country to an unfamiliar state to attend college.”  In fact, her mother actually moved to Alabama with her, excited to watch her daughter excel from near by.  Looking back, Ally remembers how “My mom has been my rock through the hardest of times.  From seemingly insurmountable thirty page papers to 3-in-the-morning freak-outs about looming exams, she is always willing to listen and tell me that I CAN and WILL do it.”

As a Criminal Justice major, one of the opportunities Ally particularly loved was her internship, which she chose to do with the Tuscaloosa County Juvenile Court.  As she recalls, “My passion for juvenile justice emerged during my internship…It was a life-changing experience, and I wish to use my educational experiences and research to help eliminate juvenile recidivism by working closely with juvenile delinquents and their families with as much focus on rehabilitation as possible.” Ally also excelled in the classroom, where she posted such high grades that she made both the Dean’s List and the President’s List and was recognized by a number of Honor societies, including Alpha Phi Sigma, Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Sigma Alpha Lambda.

After her undergraduate career ended, Ally enrolled in the Department of Criminal Justice’s Master’s program, where she would go on to co-author two scholarly papers, post a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and win the Outstanding Graduate Student Award.  “I could not have reached my full potential without the aid of the entire criminal justice program here at Alabama, past and present,” she humbly insists.

With her graduation drawing near, Ally now looks forward to her next set of challenges. She has been interviewing for juvenile probation and social statistician positions, and is likely to have a number of excellent opportunities to choose from.  One thing’s for sure: whatever company is fortunate enough to hire Ally won’t ever want to let her go.  The Department of Criminal Justice knows that first hand—but we wish her all the best for a terrific career to come!