Maryland Law Enforcement Officers support CJ scholarship

Published on December 4, 2020 under , , ,

Maryland Law Enforcement Organization logo

NORTH EAST, Md. – The Maryland Law Enforcement Officers (MLEO) organization continues to support the next generation with financial scholarships to community college students pursuing careers in criminal justice. This year’s scholarship recipient from Cecil College is Lauren Karnes, a resident of Port Deposit, Md., who is in the Criminal Justice program.

“Without this scholarship, pursuing my degree would not have been possible. As a single mother to two young children under the ages of 10 and one being disabled requiring extra care. My finances are tight, and the funds for school are not there. I rely on financial aid to further my education, and I am forever grateful for the assistance I have received,” said Karnes, about the $1,000 scholarship.

The structure of the Criminal Justice Program at Cecil College focuses on the study of crime, deviance, and forensics. It grounds students with an understanding of criminal behavior and official reactions to criminal behavior in society. Criminal justice majors gain the skills and the depth of knowledge that enable them to understand, interpret, and explain a wide range of criminal behavior.

While her foremost motivation remains her children and providing them stability in their lives, with the support of family members and scholarship donors, she has come to believe in herself and be proud of her achievements at Cecil College. The financial support has allowed Karnes to discover a pathway to her goal of someday working in a medical examiner’s office or with some form of emergency services within Maryland.

“Our criminal justice curriculum prepares and empowers students to be critical thinkers, responsible citizens, and to analyze criminal and social behavior from a deeper perspective. They learn to analyze criminal behavior and its motivation, as the criminal justice program draws on social science disciplines including sociology and psychology as well as related field experiences,” said Ashley Fundack, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Cecil College. “The Criminal Justice program provides students with an opportunity to pursue studies leading to four-year degree programs, graduate school, or careers within the field of Criminal Justice.”

MLEO has been a longtime advocate of furthering the Foundation’s charge to support the College’s mission by bringing together community leaders of affluence and influence in all areas of Cecil County. MLEO created a development plan to bridge any funding shortfall in the College’s ability to reach its vision. To date, MLEO has donated more than $18,000, which has provided numerous students with life-changing financial assistance.

“This scholarship has given me a sense of pride and reminds me that I am worth it and can continue to achieve my goals and dreams if I put in the hard work and dedication that I have thus far. Obtaining a Criminal Justice degree has been a dream since I was a child, so being awarded a scholarship by those already affiliated and employed within that professional field is a huge accomplishment. I am flattered,” said Karnes.

MLEO is one of the oldest and largest law enforcement organizations in Maryland, consisting of more than 600 active and retired members. The MLEO Scholarship Fund provides annual, need-based financial assistance to a Maryland student planning a career in law enforcement.

To apply for this and other Cecil College scholarships, visit  If you are interested in supporting a student through a tax-deductible gift, please contact the Cecil College Foundation at or visit