Garrett Carter, Leading the Way
When graduating students proudly walk into Shoemaker Center on Saturday, Garrett Carter will be leading them. It’s a sign of things to come for this soon-to-be UC criminal justice grad.
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Andrew Higley, photojournalist
And being a student marshal, Garrett will be easy to spot in his red robes. People who know Garrett well say that he will always be easy to spot — he’ll be helping others, making life better for those around him, and leading others. He is UC|21.
While at UC, Garrett has availed himself of many opportunities and did not stay chained to his criminal justice environment. He completed two internships while at the University of Cincinnati: one at the Ohio Justice and Policy Center and one at the U.S. Federal District Court. “I was at court a lot,” says Garrett. “I got to see the inside view of what goes on at court.”
"I acquired a brand new internship for our criminal justice students and wanted to send a good student for our first placement," says Associate Professor Susan Bourke. "I sent Garrett and he was wonderful.... This internship loves us now!"
In addition to taking advantage of the opportunities to intern, Garrett participated in a two-week International Business Study Abroad Program this past summer taking him to Japan. Garrett notes, “when I look back on my time here at UC that experience was great and I think every student should study abroad (or at least look into it).” Amazingly enough, Garrett is graduating after just three and a half years — an accomplishment in itself.
Garrett exudes quiet strength, calm determination yet with openness to the many pathways that his career might take. On Saturday he graduates cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Right now he is applying to law school — and has hopes of staying at the University of Cincinnati. With a degree in criminal justice and a minor in business, he’s contemplating a career in corporate law, perhaps criminal law — among others.
A native of Englewood, a suburb of Dayton, Garrett knew that he wanted to stay somewhat close to his family (his parents and two brothers). He visited UC and liked what he saw.
“UC was under a lot of construction then, but I liked it and I knew it was going to look great,” says Garrett. One of those new constructions has been especially near to Garrett’s heart: the rec center. “You might say that I’m a fitness junkie,” he admits. “The rec center will probably be the thing I miss the most about leaving UC. I looked at the local YMCA back home and thought, ‘Man, where’s this machine, and this machine…?’”
Garrett was also drawn to UC by its diversity and being part of a big city. In addition, he was offered a Darwin T. Turner scholarship. “That definitely played into it as well,” says Garrett. The Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program is one of the oldest ethnic scholarship programs in the country. Named for the youngest baccalaureate student ever to graduate from UC, the program recruits, retains and graduates academically talented students of color.
The Turner Scholars Program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has graduated more than 500 students. The Turner Scholars not only benefit financially, but also from a strong sense of community that prepares them well to be outstanding citizens and professionals.
“Being a Turner scholar gave me a home away from home,” says Garrett. “It made a large university seem smaller, especially with their personable staff.”
Through the Turner program, Garrett participated in many community service projects, such as Walk as One, Habitat for Humanity, Cross-Town Helpout and Homework Club tutoring. In addition to his community service, Garrett also participates as a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
To qualify for consideration for the Turner Scholars Program, minority students must rank in the top third of their high school senior class (or have a minimum "B" average) and be a resident of Ohio. Once the students receive the scholarship they have to continue to earn it by maintaining at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and by participating in activities and programs designed to improve their personal and/or academic skills.
Garrett cites some of the skills he has developed while at UC as being writing, critical thinking and communicating. “Whether I become a lawyer or not, those skills are going to help me in what ever career I choose,” he says.
“Garrett Carter is one of the most insightful students I have had in my English composition classes. He has the rare combination of strong reading and writing skills,” says Lisa Beckelhimer, a field service assistant professor in English composition. “When I graded his essays I always had some sort of reaction; sometimes I would smile, other times I would approach tears, but always I would be forced to think about something Garrett wrote. I felt like his mind was always in high gear. And that was in a freshman-level class! Now that he's even more mature and ready to graduate, I feel like one of my children has grown up.”
Garrett has appreciated the availability of UC’s faculty, especially people like Beckelhimer and Sue Bourke. Even though he took Beckelhimer for first-year English courses, they have maintained contact throughout his career as a student.
“I was impressed that the faculty even gave me their home phone numbers,” says Garrett. “Lisa Beckelhimer still looks over papers for me, to give me her input. Sue Bourke has been a big help as well. Because of her, I was a member of ‘Partners in Justice,’ a program to help other students in class. She sponsored prison field trips and just does a lot for the college.”
Bourke is enthusiastic in her praise. "Garrett is a true shining star! He is self-motivated and works hard," she says. "Garrett was an officer in our Criminal Justice Society student organization and was a true leader among the students."
Garrett feels strongly about setting an example for kids who might not otherwise consider college an option. “I knew from the ‘get-go’ that I was going to college,” he says. “It was not an option.”
Nevertheless, he recognizes that college isn't an “option” for many kids for a different reason. It is certainly not an automatic assumption. However, like Darwin T. Turner, himself, Garrett came from a family that valued education. “My parents both went to college, and my mom’s parents both went to college,” Garrett adds.
“You’re shaped from the start. When I’m tutoring the kids at church, I ask them, ‘Are you going to college?’ and they don’t know,” Garrett says. “It kills me.” Because of this belief, Garrett became a student assistant for Gear Up. “We bring them on campus for three weeks and teach them reading, writing, chemistry, biology and math. We show them ‘this is what college is like.’” Garrett even brought one of his tutoring students to a UC football game to show him what college offers.
Garrett Carter has obviously offered UC a lot. What did UC give him?
“I can’t say enough good things about UC,” he says firmly. “The campus is beautiful, the staff and faculty are here to help — it speaks volumes. UC really is putting students at the center, like with the shuttle service, ‘UC is listening,’ working to improve neighborhood safety.”
“If you don’t like UC, it’s not UC’s fault!” he says, with a smile.
Beckelhimer notes, “Garrett is going to make such a dynamic difference in his career field.” Garrett’s applying to the law schools of UC, the University of Dayton, Michigan State University and the University of Pittsburgh. We hope he stays at UC. This one’s a keeper.