Sabrina Kosky, who was born in Brazil, appreciates art and photography. She has taken more than 5,000 photos during her travels around the world and in the United States. When she decided to attend college in 2014, she enrolled in an art class at Middlesex Community College. And by 2019, Sabrina graduated with an associate degree, not in art but in criminal justice.
When Sabrina was 13, she told her mother that she would come to the U.S., learn English, and be successful, even though she wasn’t quite sure what success meant to her at that time. By 2009, Sabrina had joined her mother, aunt, and cousin who had already immigrated to Connecticut.
“Once I arrived, I set small goals toward my ultimate goal—English, legal paperwork, college, and job,” said Sabrina.
At first, she began building a small cleaning business while living near the Connecticut shoreline.
“I heard about Middlesex through several different people. A former client, who was an art professor, suggested that I take one class at a time—so I would not be overwhelmed—and I followed his suggestion by taking baby steps,” explained Sabrina. “All the information I heard about Middlesex was positive—that made me feel welcomed and not intimidated.”
In 2014, she earned her U.S. citizenship and continued working full-time while attending classes part-time.
“Growing up, people thought I was a bit off because I enjoyed crime shows and read the crime portion of news instead of the fun portion. I was interested in that field, but I didn’t feel confident that a foreigner like me would be able to get into and succeed in the criminal justice field,” Sabrina continued. “That’s when Professor Rebecca Rist-Brown changed my mind and encouraged me to not exclude that possibility.” Professor Rist-Brown is the program coordinator of the criminal justice and criminology studies at Middlesex.
“The best memory I have was when two of my photos were on exhibit in an art exposition at the library,” said Sabrina. “I was very proud of my photographs, and I received many compliments.”
During her last year at Middlesex—2019—Sabrina landed a part-time job as a police technician (PST) with the Meriden Police Department.
“Police technicians perform a small portion of police tasks. They are in charge of the booking process of the detainees (fingerprints, mug shots, search and inventory of personal belongings, place them in cells, make sure they are not suicidal), bond paperwork, civilian fingerprints, parking tickets, and other tasks. The police technician’s purpose is to support officers so they can be right back on the streets keeping the community safe,” said Sabrina.
“Sabrina was the only female PST and became the senior PST within 6 months. She trained not only new PSTs but new officers about how to process prisoners. Sabrina spoke with one of her supervisors and mentioned the importance of a female PST,” noted Professor Rist-Brown.
“I also feel the responsibility to represent the unrepresented minorities like myself,” Sabrina said. “The U.S. gave me the opportunity to grow in life, and I intend to reciprocate back to the country.”
“Most of my professors were amazing, and that is what makes Middlesex an amazing school. It’s hard to single out just one professor, because they all impacted my life positively. However, Professor Rist-Brown always went above and beyond to help me and my family,” Sabrina added.
After graduating from Middlesex, Sabrina earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in sociology from Southern Connecticut State University in December 2020.
In January 2021, Chief Roberto Rosado administered the oath of office and officially swore Sabrina in as a probationary police officer for the city of Meriden (see photo below).
“Police officers have the duty to enforce the law and serve and protect the community. Police handle various situations from family services to violent environment, traffic enforcement, and if a police technician is not available, police officers also must do the booking process of detainees,” Sabrina described.
She added, “I chose Meriden because I understood the problems the community faces, such as mistrust of the police and minority underrepresentation. I can check most of the boxes. I speak three languages (Portuguese, Spanish, and English), and this way I can serve the large Hispanic community and rebuild the trust.”
Sabrina is now attending the Meriden Police Academy. After she graduates in six months, she will go through field training.
“I hope once I am a certified police officer, I will be able to rebuild the bridge between the community and police. I will take all the opportunities this job has to offer and grow within the department,” said Sabrina. She also hopes to someday earn a master’s degree.
“I am beyond grateful for the Middlesex family, and I will never forget all the success I achieved because of it,” Sabrina said. “I would advise students to take full advantage of this school and participate in student events and dedicate time to get to know each other and create a safe and friendly environment.”
Sabrina has even more advice for students. “Never give up on your dreams—they are worth it. And NEVER underestimate the power you possess. You will have great days and bad days, however, your dedication will pay off,” she said. “Middlesex is not just a school, it is a family.”
For more information about criminal justice programs at Middlesex, please visit the website.
Written by Thea Moritz