Theresa Ubong: Giving Others a Voice in the Criminal Justice System

Theresa Ubong

Criminal Justice major Theresa Olanrewaju Ubong came to Temple University with a specific goal in mind — to complete her degree and to one day practice law in the United States.

“When I was studying at Montgomery County Community College, I was able to attend some career fairs; I think I fell in love with Temple right from there,” said Ubong, who is working and raising three children ages five to 10 with her husband while completing her degree. “I knew I had to be here, but I didn’t know if it would be possible. I applied and I couldn’t believe it when I got my admission letter — I still have it; I look at it every day.”

During an early visit to Temple to attend student orientation, “I was really scared; I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with all of this.” Since that day, Ubong said, “Temple has been welcoming, understanding and accommodating.

“I initially had no knowledge of how things would work. I got to know the staff at Temple and started meeting with my advisors; they helped me get past my nervousness,” she said. “You want to make sure you’re making the right decision, that you are putting your best foot forward. The staff took the time to explain things, to help me become comfortable with everything about Temple.”

“I’ve gotten to meet fellow transfer students and we support one another. My advisor is always there for me; she has gone above and beyond in helping me with my courses and with just navigating Temple as a whole,” said Ubong, whose course credits fully transferred from Montgomery County Community College when she came to Temple. “I’ve had wonderful professors — they have truly been understanding during these difficult times. Temple has provided me with a lot of deep knowledge through the classes that I’ve had. I don’t think you realize how intentional those classes are until you really start connecting what you are learning to the world around you.”

Ubong’s Temple experience so far has been “challenging, but very rewarding,” she said.

“You have to do your part; you have to put in the work. The professors are more than willing to help you gain greater understanding of what you are learning to get the work done right,” she said. “There are no shortcuts for anything in the world — hard work pays off. I know that all of this will help me in the career that I choose.”

For her fellow transfer students, Ubong suggests getting to know the Temple staff and the academic advisors in particular. 

“Check in with them at the start of every semester. The advisors are there to help you navigate the rough waters. It’s always good to have a plan — how you want to take your classes,” she said. “Your advisor will be there to help you choose the right courses and help you develop good time management skills. I know I’m getting everything I need to succeed, and I know I’m at the right place with the right people.”