Since 2005, Juan Quintero’s journey has taken him from his childhood home in South America to an internship in a U.S. congressman’s office. Juan is a criminal justice major who moved from the city of Cali in western Colombia when he was just eight years old. His family moved to New York and then settled in Bricktown, New Jersey.
While the journey was a challenging one for him and his single mother, he always found respite on the soccer field. In fact, the combination of soccer and a caring high school guidance counselor who encouraged him to pursue higher education led him to focus on his grades, apply to Georgian Court University, and attend the university, where he also played his favorite sport.
“That commitment to soccer was what kept me pushing through every class. The care the coaches have for the students to succeed in each class is tremendous,” he says.
At Georgian Court, the small class sizes and focus on students made even more of an impression. Juan wasn’t sure what he wanted to study. He was visiting the campus on Blue and Gold Day. Although he didn’t realize who she was, he was sitting at a table with former Georgian Court President Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D., ’72. She asked him what he wanted to study. He had always been interested in being a lawyer or going into politics, but he said he wasn’t sure. She then proceeded to have members of various departments come to his table and speak to him. He was floored by the individual attention of the faculty and administration and settled on criminal justice as a major.
In addition to playing soccer, Juan is also a member of the Mercy Collegiate Society, which helped him get more involved on campus and network. Through his membership, he had the opportunity to interview for an internship at former Congressman Tom MacArthur’s office. There, he worked on community outreach and learned about the various committees on which the congressman served.
Currently, Juan is studying for the LSATs. After Commencement, he plans to work on his goal to pursue his law degree at Columbia University in New York City.
Story contributed by Gwen Moran.