spotlight-category: Public Service

Alexis Williams ’19

Alexis Williams receives an awad

Grateful for inspiring classes and GWU’s caring community

“All of the criminal justice classes that I took were absolutely inspiring, and I learned so much about the criminal justice field.”

A year before graduating from Gardner-Webb University with a bachelor of science in criminal justice administration and minor in psychology, Alexis Williams was hired by the city of Gastonia (N.C.) Police Department. After her internship there, the 2019 alumna was offered a job and worked full time as a police officer while completing her degree.

“All of the criminal justice classes that I took were absolutely inspiring, and I learned so much about the criminal justice field,” Williams observed. “We had many guest speakers, and everything that I learned was important information I needed to know going into Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET). In taking BLET for my employment, I knew many things already that were covered in my criminal justice classes.”

As she continues her work with the police department, her goal is to move into a specialized area. “The City of Gastonia has many different fields of focus for work beyond patrol, such as street crimes, a traffic division, different detective areas, SWAT and many more,” she shared.

Williams, a native of Gastonia, chose to come to Gardner-Webb because it was close to home and she liked its size. “I felt like the smaller community of GWU would best fit me, and I would be able to find exactly what I needed for my college experience and career at this University,” she related.

At first, she was going to minor in criminal justice, but when she found out Gardner-Webb had a new major in the field, she changed her mind. “There have been so many opportunities in this major, helping me specialize in exactly what I wanted,” Williams assessed. “Dr. Bobbie Cox (associate professor and coordinator of criminal justice) was an inspiration to my college experience. She was helpful in every way that she could be to me, as my advisor and professor.”

Cox was just one of the many professors at Gardner-Webb who helped her and went out of their way to answer all of her questions. Another favorite was Dr. James Morgan, professor of psychology and counseling. “Dr. Morgan was an inspiration to me, because he was such an amazing professor and individual to talk to,” Williams affirmed.

During a difficult time in her life, she experienced the support of Gardner-Webb’s Christian community. She was also a part of FOCUS (Fellowship of Christians United in Service), a campus ministry involving teams of GWU students who visit local churches to provide programs for youth groups. “I met many amazing people and got close with them,” she related. “I was surrounded by so many caring people. It meant a lot to me, and I will always hold the memories close to my heart.”

Williams concluded that coming to Gardner-Webb was one of the best decisions she has made as a young adult. “It is such a warm and welcoming campus where students and staff truly care about one another,” she described. “I found lifelong friends, and supportive people entered my life that I could never replace. I am so thankful for my time at GWU, and everything I took from my four years spent there.”

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