Student Spotlight: Veronica Donohue

Veronica Donohue

Veronica Donohue
Major: Criminal Justice

Veronica Donohue was an adult when she decided to attend College of DuPage in 2006.

Coming to a community college was an easy decision. Her mother-in-law had a long career at Oakton Community College, retiring as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of English. Knowing the high caliber of both Oakton and College of DuPage, Donohue was excited to enroll in classes, wanting to earn her associate's degree and become a police officer.

"I knew that I was ready and focused for the journey ahead," she said. "And while life’s challenges always got in the way, I never lost focus. I continued to work full time, taking one to two classes each semester, and in February 2008 I had my daughter, Clare. I took two semesters off after having her and then dove right back later that same year. As she got older and I felt too overwhelmed, I had to drop a class from time to time but I never lost sight of the goal I set out to achieve."

What impressed her most about College of DuPage were the professors.

"As a working mother, each semester had its challenges and when life outside of school got in the way, the professors were always accommodating," she said. "Being able to have my professors understand the balance between school and my outside life gave me the motivation and determination I needed to finish each semester, and this fueled my eagerness to start the next.  

"Professor Theo Darden has also been very helpful toward meeting my career goals. Several years ago, I asked him if I could discuss with him my goals of becoming a police officer. He helped me understand what was expected of me when it came to testing with different police departments as well as what type of materials could help me prepare. I will never forget what Professor Darden said: 'One thing you must remember when taking a written exam is not to overthink. Most adults your age overthink too much about the question.' When I sit down to take a written exam, I always think about what he said before I begin the test. I have even shared that same helpful tip with other candidates who have to take these written exams."

Donohue also knew that to become a police officer, she needed to lose some extra weight. She began weight training in 2012 and, once she felt confident enough, took her first physical test called the Power Test at Nipsta. Passing the test gave her the needed confidence to apply to police departments.

After seven years, she completed her Associate in Arts degree and, in 2014, graduated with highest honors and was named one of COD's Outstanding Graduate finalists. Donohue continues to apply for officer positions while contemplating a bachelor's degree.

"I would like to say that my experience at COD and the memories I have created along my journey are amazing ones. I've had the opportunity to watch COD grow over the past several years, and I could not be more proud of what it has become today," she said.

"I would advise students that Professor Darden, as well as other professors such as Erik Thompson and Dennis Hudson, have gone to great lengths to provide amazing opportunities to learn and to develop all the necessary skills for a career. Then you can't find a building like the Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center anywhere else. COD also offers a 3-1 program with Lewis University that allows a Criminal Justice student to earn a bachelor's degree from Lewis by taking all the classes at COD.

"I would promise any student that they would not only receive the best education from College of DuPage, but they would also have fun doing so."

More about the Criminal Justice program