Several local students recently received Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute scholarships. Given to students pursuing an education in criminal justice, they were presented by Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid.
Students must attend Virginia colleges and universities and must be in jurisdictions where sheriffs participate in fundraising for this scholarship. Applicants must include a personal essay and a letter of recommendation from their county sheriff.
“Before writing the letters, I meet with each applicant to learn more about their academic achievements, community activities and career goals,” said Kincaid. “This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we met via Zoom. I was inspired by their diverse interests and enthusiastic commitment to public service.”
Here are the 2020 scholarship winners:
- William Singleton is a lifelong resident of Fairfax City and is currently a junior at GMU, studying Criminology, Law and Society. He’s made the Dean’s List every semester and holds a 3.91 GPA. He also works nearly 40 hours a week at Trader Joe’s. He’s been a summer swim-team coach, youth basketball official and certified Red Cross instructor and is also active in his church.
In pursuit of a career in local law enforcement, Singleton has begun talking to recruiters and internship coordinators and going to career fairs and ride-alongs. He hopes to someday serve the community where he grew up, Northern Virginia.
- Samantha Messina is a freshman at GMU, majoring in Criminology with a concentration in Homeland Security and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. In her first semester, she earned a 4.0 GPA. After graduation, she wants to work for the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Justice. Said Messina: “I want to play a crucial role in the safety of the United States by identifying threats and providing decision makers with the information they need to combat any threats.”
Throughout high school, she excelled academically, graduating in the top 10 percent of her class, while also actively participating in field hockey, lacrosse and other clubs. She’s currently a member of the Students Demand Action chapter at GMU, where she advocates against gun violence in the community.
- Daniel Nephew is a GMU freshman with a 3.75 GPA. He’s majoring in Criminology, Law and Society with a concentration in Homeland Security and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. While living in Brazil, he developed a passion for criminal justice. After graduation, his dream is to become an FBI agent. “Every day I try to build myself better so I can meet their high standards,” he said.
Besides his academic schedule, Nephew participated on GMU’s Army ROTC and Color Guard/Drill Team. He’s also an active volunteer firefighter and EMT at a Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue station and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese from his time abroad.
- Dannyela Rivera Jiron is in her second year at Northern Virginia Community College, pursuing a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has a 3.56 GPA and will attend GMU this fall. Her goal is to become a police officer. She says the field of law enforcement provides the opportunity to make a difference in the community, “whether it’s a moment that requires the law to be enforced or one where I can step into someone’s life when they need help.”
On top of her academic success, she volunteers with the Metro Police Department as a Domestic Violence Liaison and participates in church mission trips. She also participated in the Fairfax County Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy in 2019.