Jahn jets to Italy, joining the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute

Jessica Jahn shouldn’t have trouble finding great Italian food when she moves into her new place this September.

After all, it’s in Turin.

Living less than two hours from the French border wasn’t part of the plan when Jahn graduated with a Criminal Justice degree this spring. Now she’s moving on after accepting an internship with the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute – designing and implementing projects related to crime, security, and justice.

She hopes to expand her understanding of cyber crimes and the risks and benefits of artificial intelligence (AI).

“In my view, AI is the way of the future, so building the capacity for the international community to collaboratively reduce the risks that it may present will be important in the coming decade,” she says.

Still, wading into this new role wasn’t easy, especially since it means leaving her position as the Sexualized Violence Prevention Training Coordinator with UFV’s Student Life, where her work included a team effort in developing three workshops: Active Bystander Intervention; Responding to Disclosures; and Healthy Relationships. Their goal: ‘promote a safer and more compassionate campus community through improved education and awareness surrounding sexualized violence.’

“It’s really hard to leave UFV because at this stage the sexualized violence prevention training sessions are really coming together,” she says, “but I’m excited for this new opportunity.”

Before joining Student Life, Jahn spent time during her undergraduate studies with the Centre for Safe Schools and Communities and Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research. She worked under associate professor Annette Vogt and associate professor Yvon Dandurand, who encouraged her to apply to the UN internship.

Jahn’s work with UFV was exceptional, notes Jody Gordon, Vice President, Students and Enrolment Management. The two worked closely together in creating UFV’s new government-mandated sexualized violence policy.

“She’s a remarkable young woman,” Gordon says.

“Whether it was through her research as an undergraduate student or in her efforts developing our bystander intervention training for students, staff and faculty, Jessica epitomized the highly engaged, highly involved student. Her positive impact on our UFV community will be felt for a very long time.”

Jahn isn’t one to chase the spotlight and was hesitant having her internship publicized, but embraced the chance after recognizing her story could help future students.

“At first, it was difficult to pass on offers from larger universities,” Jahn recalls.

“From my experience talking to other students, it seems as though there is a perception that larger universities can provide more opportunities to students, but I definitely think that’s misleading. I chose UFV over other universities based on the unparalleled and accessible student research assistantship positions, as well as the many opportunities related to student leadership and engagement.”

Packing bags in her parents’ Surrey home with Italy in mind has been a surreal experience. Making it all easier is the fact she’s already travelled to Italy, and her grandparents emigrated from Sicily.

Preparing to leave, she leans on advice from Dandurand that she hopes will resonate with new students.

“If you promise less and deliver more, opportunities will always lead into new opportunities. I think it’s normal to feel intimidated or nervous, but lean into that discomfort and embrace every opportunity given to you. Nothing that is meant for you could ever pass you by.”

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