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Leading The Way While Preparing To Serve His Community

Michael Norwood


Michael Norwood isn’t only going to college for himself. He has four people looking up to him who he expects to follow in his footsteps. “I have two younger brothers and two younger sisters and I want to show them that as long as you work hard, you can achieve your dreams, and the only way to do that is for me to lead by example,” he said. Michael will become the first person in his immediate family to graduate from college when he crosses the stage during Commencement on May 16 as he earns his degree in Criminal Justice.

Part of working hard for Michael has been assuming the role of a student leader as President of the Criminal Justice Club and as a Senior Senator. Last month, he joined other members of the Student Government Association at the SUNY Student Assembly Conference in Queensbury, N.Y., where student leaders from across the SUNY system participated in growth development workshops and teamwork activities. While going to school, Michael has also worked two jobs, totaling about 50 hours a week, at a local distribution center and at GE.

Being a leader isn’t new to Michael. In high school, he was Captain of the Schenectady High School Wrestling Team. He shared that he has always been disciplined, eating healthy and staying in shape through sports, and most importantly through the influence of his grandparents. “My grandfather is a pastor and my grandmother has a daycare center in her house,” he explained. “They have helped me stay disciplined and set morals for myself.”

While growing up in Schenectady, Michael only saw one career path in his future. “I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, make a difference, and be a good role model in my community,” he said. At SUNY Schenectady, he has found his own role model in Assistant Professor Lou Aiossa, who teaches in the Criminal Justice program and spent more than 23 years in municipal policing. Last spring, Michael and other Criminal Justice majors joined Professor Aiossa at the New York State Police Officers Memorial in Albany, volunteering to serve as ushers and help families get impressions of the names of their loved ones from the memorial.

Recently, Michael received the news that he was selected to join recruits for the Schenectady Police Department. In June, he will begin the six-month police academy on his way to starting his career in law enforcement. “It feels good,” he said. “I was born in Schenectady and I’m rooted here, so that motivates me. I think that will resonate with the community too.”