Dwayne Ponton’s two interests are about as dissimilar as two interests can be, at least on the surface. He’s always been into cooking (even considered going to Johnson & Wales culinary school instead of a traditional college/university). But he’s also been intrigued by the idea of law enforcement. So, because he decided that he can always go into cooking - and indeed, wants to own his own Jamaican restaurant someday - his interest in law enforcement took immediate precedence, and he’s majoring in Criminal Justice at Elizabeth City State University.
“Two things really broadened my perspective when I enrolled in ECSU. First, there was the adjustment from high school ---not only in the classroom, but out of it, as well. It’s really tempting to keep acting like you did in high school, but with the academic load and all the other distractions of being on your own with the largest peer group you’ll ever have, you have to come to grips with personal responsibility. And that certainly happened to me, but I ended up thriving because I finally understood what I needed to do and where to go if I needed help. Props to Drs. Shahidullah and Yuan for getting me to realize that I could be successful in my major ---but not without real work.”
“Secondly, I got a chance to travel overseas on an internship to Jaipur, and it was there I decided I wanted to do some work for the US Government in law enforcement, hopefully overseas with the State Department, or Homeland Security, stateside. Indeed, I’ve been told that my Criminal Justice degree will hold me in good stead when I apply to State or Homeland Security.”
“I’m getting a well-rounded education here at ECSU and the Criminal Justice department is well-regarded. Along the way, I hope to live many places, and you can bet I’ll sample and enjoy every cuisine along the way, because one day, I’m going to have my own restaurant...”
Favorite Place on Campus: My favorite place on campus is my residence hall Viking Towers. Well, granted it is the place where I sleep, but it is also the place where I served as an RA (Residential Assistant) my first semester of my sophomore year. I have gotten to know and help a lot of residents adjust to college life; for this reason Viking Towers is my favorite place on campus.
Professors who influenced you the most: The professors that influenced me the most are Dr. Shahidullah and Dr. Yuan. They showed me that there is something more to being a criminal justice major, and that I can be very successful within the criminal justice major, only if I work hard at it. These two professors probably do not know that they serve as an influence in my life, but they have given me opportunities that will have a lasting impression on me and my future career as I continue my studies in Criminal Justice.
Advice for other students: My advice to other students is to get to know your professors because they are the key, besides yourself, that will help you and give you important information about opportunities that you will be able to use to better yourself and help increase your knowledge on any particular subject matter. Furthermore, dare to be different and challenge yourself because only you can further your education, which is a challenge because nothing is handed out to you on a silver platter, and you must be different. Viking Pride!