Skip to main content

SNHU Spotlight: Katlyn Genovese, BS in Criminal Justice Grad

Katlyn Genovese, a SNHU criminal justice graduate dressed in her SNHU graduation cap and gown.

At the age of 29, Katlyn Genovese’s ‘23 life was completely derailed.

In 2018, while attending mortuary school, she had a stroke which affected her both mentally and physically. No longer able to continue her chosen course of study, she had to reevaluate her educational journey. But Genovese said she had received a second chance at life — and she didn’t want to waste it.

Though she had to relearn how to walk, write and type, Genovese said she felt she had to continue her educational pursuits.

“I’ve always wanted a bachelor’s, so I was determined to get it,” she said.

And she achieved that goal by earning an online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).

Genovese said SNHU’s online format was what she had been searching for. “Being (at SNHU) was better for me because I could concentrate more,” she said. “I could do it at my own pace, which was awesome, because my pace was slower than normal.”

It was not an easy journey, though. Genovese faced many obstacles, which she said intensely affected her studies.

“My brain just doesn’t function like a normal brain,” she said. “So writing was difficult for me... because I start to say something or write something and I think I’m finishing a whole sentence, because in my head I do, but I’m not writing it on paper. I’m actually missing words.”

In addition to these challenges, Genovese also faced a lack of confidence.

“I thought that my brain wasn’t good enough. I didn’t think that I was good enough to get my bachelor’s,” said Genovese.

Despite her concerns, Genovese graduated with straight As. She said it took time for her to understand her accomplishments. It wasn’t until she arrived at the SNHU Commencement ceremony and saw the stage that she realized what she had achieved.

“I’m really proud of myself,” said Genovese. “Like, really, really proud of myself.”

Throughout her journey, Genovese said her advisor, Carol Searles, was a valuable source of support and encouragement. In addition, SNHU’s Online Accessibility Center (OAC) provided Genovese with a program plan specific to her needs, which she said allowed her to work with her instructors to meet or extend deadlines.

To encourage other students, Genovese said: “If you want to do this for yourself, you can. It’s very complicated, and you’re going to want to give up a thousand times but don’t. It’s really rewarding when you finish and you get that degree.”

Going forward, Genovese said she hopes her own degree will open doors. Though her educational focus has shifted from mortuary science to criminal justice, Genovese said she wants to use her degree to work in a medical examiner’s office and investigate crime.

For now, Genovese said she is just living and enjoying life. She recently climbed Mount St. Helens in Oregon and even bungee jumped off a 300-foot bridge. She said graduating helped give her a sense of empowerment to try nearly anything.

“I was like okay, I can literally do anything that I want — let’s go climb the mountain, let’s go bungee jump off the bridge, and it’s really exhilarating,” she said.

A degree can change your life. Choose your program from 200+ SNHU degrees that can take you where you want to go.

Abigayle Mahnken is a writer from South Carolina, who is currently earning her master's in creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Explore more content like this article

A clinical mental health counselor taking notes on a clipboard.

What Does a Clinical Mental Health Counselor Do?

With the National Alliance on Mental Illness reporting that 1 in 5 adults grapple yearly with mental illness, the need for professional care is clear. Intrigued by the possibilities of a life-changing profession? Perhaps clinical mental health counseling could be the right fit for you.
A seated counselor using his hands to help him explain a thought.

What Does a Counselor Do?

With a career as a counselor, you can make a difference in the lives of others and open up a wide range of opportunities for yourself. Opportunities for counselors are growing as the field evolves. As a counselor, you could work in a hospital, rehab facility, human resources department or school.
A close up shot of two hands holding onto one another

How to Become a Victim Advocate

Through the field of victim advocacy, you can make a meaningful difference for individuals and society at large. Find out if this path is really for you, how to become a victim advocate and all the most important things to know about the role from professionals in the field.

About Southern New Hampshire University

Two students walking in front of Monadnock Hall

SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.