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Class of 2019: Rodney Fisher Jr.

Rodney Fisher '19 majored in Criminal Justice

Rodney Fisher Jr. graduated in 2019 with a degree in Criminal Justice.

Rodney Fisher Jr. is a Sociology major with a Criminal Justice specialization from Earleville, Maryland.

When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: a first-generation student who came from a small high school on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that had a total student body of under 450 students. I played three sports (football, wrestling, and lacrosse) so I was used to fitting in and knowing every face in the hallway. I have lived in the same house my entire life, with the same friends, and the same community, so the idea of going to a bigger school that was hours away from home was not only nerve-wracking, but exciting. I was a small-town kid that wanted to make an impact playing collegiate football, and I am very thankful McDaniel took a chance on me.

The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: someone who is comfortable in their own skin and learned how to adapt to a new place. I grew to be a much more confident and ambitious student who is much more well-rounded. I am now a four-year collegiate football player, a friend, a first-generation college student who has impacted many other student-athletes. My senior year I had the opportunity to become an academic mentor for freshmen on the football team. This allowed me to see myself as a role model.

Aha moment: With my criminal justice concentration, my Jan Term was correctional facilities. During this course we toured the local jails and detention centers and were able to see firsthand everything that allows these places to run efficiently. I was surprised with how differently these places look and feel in person compared to how they look in the media.

Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: My legacy is to show all first-generation college students that you can do it. You can be successful and achieve anything that you set your mind to — do not let self-doubt keep you from reaching your full potential. Also, my footprints in the stadium remind all of the high school athletes who are under-sized or not getting a ton of recruiting attention to not get discouraged — to keep working hard, trust the process, and most importantly HAVE FUN!

Professor who most influenced who I have become: Sociology professor Debra Lemke has always believed in me and pushed me to be the best student I could be. Dr. Lemke also is willing to listen to all of my complaints in her office and give me her best advice.

My mentor. For life.: Football coach Mike Dailey. Anyone who has ever played for Coach Dailey knows that it is more than just a game to him and we are more than just players, we are a family. He has shown me how to become a better man.

Best class ever: Sociology of the Criminal Justice System with Sheriff Jim DeWees. Sheriff DeWees is one of the few criminal justice teachers who has real-life experience. He was a Maryland State Trooper for many years and is now serving as Carroll County’s sheriff. He tells us many things that you will not find in a textbook and gives honest feedback. He will tell you his honest (blunt) opinion and I value a professor who will do that.

Took me totally by surprise: Coming into McDaniel I wanted to be an athletic trainer and work at the high school I attended. I thought my life goals were set. After one class in the Exercise Science field I found out, this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. It was a lifelong goal of mine to be a cop much like family members before me. I looked into the criminal justice specialization and learned that I have to be a Sociology major. Confused about what Sociology even was, I found myself taking my first Sociology class and absolutely loved it. I was surprised that I would completely change my major and fall in love with it.

Real world experiences: I was fortunate to do an awesome internship with the Maryland State Police at the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC). At the MCAC, I worked with the gang unit task force and the Watch Center, which monitored all counter-terrorism calls and alerts in Maryland. During my internship I did some great things such as help write a law that was passed that dealt with Unmanned Aircraft Systems, write and present a briefing to Anti-Terrorism Division command staff on potential cyber-security threats, write an officer safety brief on lone responder training to active shooter incidents which was published, tour an FBI facility, participate in a role-playing exercise with Homeland Security that took place in Annapolis, Md., and earned first-level clearance.

My capstone: “Time’s Ticking,” does playing a collegiate sport predict GPA and Time Management Skills?

What it’s about: An anonymous random survey was given to 286 students on campus in the spring of 2018. On this survey there were a large variety of different topics and questions. I was looking to measure how student-athletes and non-athletes compared to each other when it comes to GPA and who has better time management. What I found was there is a statistically significant relationship for athletes and time management skills, but there was not a statistically significant relationship between athletes and GPA.

What it’s really about: I found that athletes do have greater time management skills than non-athletes, but there was no difference in GPA between athletes and non-athletes. Athletes do not get better or worse grades than non-athletes.