Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Criminal Justice Student Sets Goal to Aid Victims of Human Trafficking

Criminal Justice Student Sets Goal to Aid Victims of Human Trafficking

Noelle Ashley Bierman
School of Public Affairs Outstanding Graduate, 2018

After graduating from the School of Public Affairs with a degree in criminal justice, Noelle Ashley Bierman hopes to work in victim advocacy where she will aid victims of human trafficking, a topic she researched extensively during her college career.

She describes herself as someone who will “throw down the gauntlet and fight tirelessly for some seemingly insignificant point to be made,” but stresses that this is evidence of her passion.

“It will make me great in my field,” Bierman said.

During her time at SDSU, Bierman conducted individual interviews with homeless persons in downtown San Diego as part of a practicum course. She described sitting on the sidewalk and speaking with a woman in an encampment.

“Stepping into her life and world for a period of time awarded me a raw experience and left me with insights and empathy I will carry with me throughout my future professional life,” said Bierman.

She is particularly impressed by a recent legislation change that views women as victims of a sex crime, as opposed to perpetrators.

“My career goal is to seize this historical moment in public policy to help change the culture surrounding human trafficking, raise awareness, provide resources for those affected and their families and assist victims in rebuilding their lives through desperately needed social programs,” said Bierman.

Restorative justice, an alternative to the “punishment is the only way” mentality is a concept that influenced the trajectory of her college experience. Bierman was first introduced to the concept in an ethics class with Professor Donald Fobian, whom she selected as her most influential professor. Fobian said he hopes she will, “further her education and help lead the way for the field to grow in the right direction.”

Bierman hopes her peers will enter professions that are personal to them.

“Trade in the callous detachment that masquerades as professionalism and give your heart and soul to what feels worth fighting for.”

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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