The victim was murdered and Denair senior Kaitlin Nicolls was the lead investigator on the case. She gathered all the clues from evidence and found the murder weapon that was stashed. It was a gun.
Solving crimes and helping others are just some of the things that drew Nicolls to take her first criminal justice class her sophomore year at Denair High School. That first class led her to her future dream career of joining the criminal inspection team for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I thought to myself ‘I am good at this and this stuff is interesting,’” she said. “I can see myself doing this.”
Finding the murder weapon in a mock crime scene for school is just one of the things that showed Nicolls that this could be her dream career.
Nicolls will be graduating from Denair High School on May 21 and taking her next step to Sonoma State University, where she will be a freshman in the fall. She is planning to major in criminal justice and minor in psychology.
When picking a college, Nicolls made a list of all schools that offered a criminal justice major. She applied to Fresno State University, Sacramento State University, Sonoma State University and San Jose State University. She was accepted to all four colleges.
Her overall decision to attend Sonoma State was based on the size of the school, the atmosphere and the number of internships offered in her major.
From what she found, Sonoma State University had the highest rates of internships offered in her major.
After she lives the college life and earns a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice, she plans to enter into the police academy to eventually become a patrol officer and gain field experience. She is looking forward to starting out at the bottom and working her way up in the law enforcement field toward her overall goal of working for the FBI.
“It’s going to take a long time, but I am willing to work hard for it,” Nicolls said.
Even with Nicolls’ passion to become a criminal investigator, surprisingly, this isn’t what she always wanted to do with her life.
Before her first class in criminal justice, Nicolls was planning on attending film school to work in film production, she said. She always had a knack for analyzing films to see how the movie could be better.
Her Hollywood dreams faded though when she realized what really brightened up her day.
Nicolls was excited to come home every day from school to tell her mother and brother what she learned about in her criminal justice class. She would educate them on the forensics of class and that is when she knew law enforcement was her future.
She credits her change of careers to her criminal justice teacher Mr. Esquivel.
“I honestly couldn’t say I would have gone into this career without my teacher,” Nicolls said.
The criminal justice classes offered at Denair High gave Nicolls the opportunity to learn what really suits her as a life-long career, she said. She found her true calling.
“I am a problem-solver and I don’t stop until it is fixed,” she said. “I also like to help people. I want to give families closure.”
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.