Growing up in Texas, Charles Shedrick (BSCJ ’13, MEd ’15) looked to his mother, a teacher, and his father, who spent 30 years in the U.S. Army, for inspiration.
He followed in his father’s footsteps, choosing a military career over a college degree, but promising his parents a return to education. More than two decades later, Shedrick earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then a master’s degree in education from Strayer University.
“I am passionate about the law and how it can impact young people.”
“I wanted to do something for myself,” he says. My undergraduate degree was for my parents, but the master’s degree was for me.”
Now the U.S. Air Force privacy officer and civil liberties representative assigned to the Pentagon, Shedrick says the criminal justice degree had a big impact on his career. “It allowed me to better research and interpret legal documents,” he says. “That is a major part of my job and it has really helped me be more effective.”
Shedrick says his education also helped developed a passion for mentoring. “I am passionate about the law and how it can impact young people, who are often unaware of the long-term consequences of their actions,” Shedrick says. After spending much of his time in the Army mentoring younger military members, earning a criminal justice degree “enabled me to be more knowledgeable when talking with my current mentees about their rights and about penalties that could affect their futures.”
He still gets emotional remembering a young soldier he supported in the military, who had a troubled past. “I relied on my own experiences to help him chart a new future around education,” Shedrick says. Years later, Shedrick learned the young man had followed his advice, earned a degree and was running a prosperous business. “That is what success feels like to me,” he says. “I know I had an impact on that young man’s life and it has inspired me to continue mentoring others.”