Mia Anderton
Senior Spotlight: In Just Three Years, Salutatorian Mia Anderton ’21 Graduates with a 4.0 and a Double Major in Forensic Psychology and Criminology

When graduating senior and salutatorian Mia Anderton ’21 found out that she wouldn’t be able to study abroad due to the pandemic, she buckled down and set the ultimate challenge for herself: graduate a year early, earn a perfect 4.0, and double major in Forensic Psychology and Criminology. We’re thrilled to announce that Anderton has reached all of her goals. “It’s been exhilarating to complete this challenge that I’ve set for myself,” she says, as she plans for a future in the clinical mental health field and the criminal justice system. “My next goal is to get my Ph.D. in Psychology. I’m interested in working with the inmate population as an expert witness in their trials and possibly working for the defense team when it comes to sentencing. This kind of work is detrimental because a lot of people are impacted by the system who suffer from mental illnesses, and I would like to be involved in creating better sentences for their needs.” Anderton sat down with us to share how a lifelong love of mock trials and being involved with the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership (CSIL) helped pave her path to success.

“I loved mock trials so much that when I came to John Jay, I continued participating on a college level, and in my last two years, served on the executive board.” —Mia Anderton

What was life like before John Jay?
I’m adopted and have been living in Seattle, Washington since 2002. Before coming to John Jay, I attended a private Catholic high school where I was very involved in extracurricular activities. For three years, I became invested in participating in mock trials where students are given a case file, and we direct examinations, cross-examinations, and submit openings and closing statements based on the information. We then present our case, acting as the prosecution or defense, in a real courtroom against another team. Whoever wins gets to move further ahead in the competition. I loved mock trials so much that when I came to John Jay, I continued participating on a college level, and in my last two years, served on the executive board.

What made you want to come to John Jay?
I was attracted to the diverse options that John Jay offered for majors. I was interested in studying criminal justice and psychology, and the application of psychology to the criminal justice system. Learning about the Forensic Psychology program offered at John Jay piqued my interest because very few schools offered a Criminal Justice major, let alone the opportunity to study various areas within the field.

If you had to point to one organization, cohort, person, or place at John Jay that made your experience especially fulfilling, supportive, and/or productive, what/who would that be and why?
CSIL helped make my time at John Jay fulfilling. The program allows students to build and maintain friendship groups, and provides them with amazing opportunities to demonstrate leadership. Also, my participation in the Mock Trial Association Board was really fulfilling. For the last two years, I served as an executive on the Board, reaching the level of presidency. It was amazing and turned out to be one of the greatest things I’ve done at John Jay.

What’s your favorite, and most memorable, story interacting with this organization, cohort, person, or place?
This past semester, we participated in our first mock trial competition since the pandemic began against Hunter College. The case was about criminal hazing and possible murder in a college campus environment. It was a really fascinating competition because we had to interview other college students to gather information for the trial. They were able to address the topic of fraternities being involved in hazing, and we were able to put together our case. Sixty people showed up to watch the trial. The first night, John Jay’s defense won against Hunter’s prosecution. Ultimately, the other team won, but it was all an adrenaline rush. It sounds very nerdy, but as soon as you start a mock trial competition, there is a slow building of tension. You sit down, and you don’t realize that tension is building until you take a deep breath and it’s over.

What academic achievement are you particularly proud of accomplishing?
I’m most proud of accomplishing a perfect 4.0 GPA. When I was coming into college, I set a goal for myself. I said, ‘I’m going to try my best to get a 4.0. I think I can do it.’ I didn’t expect to be named the salutatorian because our graduating class is very large, but just being able to say that I accomplished my goal of obtaining a perfect 4.0 by the end of my college career makes me feel proud.

What do you hope to do after you graduate from John Jay? Why have you decided on this career plan or graduate school?
I’m going to be taking a year off to travel abroad because vaccinations are rolling out and it’s exciting to be able to feel like I can travel. After that, I plan to study for the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations). I want to obtain my doctorate in psychology and, hopefully, become a licensed clinical therapist. I’m looking at several schools right now. I plan to apply to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Georgetown. I don’t know if they will accept me, but it can’t hurt to apply. One of the other programs I’m looking at is the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Washington.

“I really appreciate the professors that I’ve had during my time at John Jay because they’ve made my education very interesting and pushed me to be the best that I can be.” —Mia Anderton

Is there someone special that’s particularly proud of your accomplishment? Who are they and what would you like to say to them?
I have three people that I am very grateful for. First, my mother because I’ve always looked up to her as a person. She’s incredibly smart. She’s a therapist and has worked as an adoption worker and social worker. When she found out I was salutatorian, she was extremely happy for me, but said she wasn’t surprised. The second person that helped support me along the way is my boyfriend. He helped me realize that I am very well suited to work as a therapist, especially in the context of the criminal justice system. The third person that helped me in my career choice was Professor Alan Schramm. I took both his Psychology and Law classes, as well as his Senior Capstone class just because I liked him so much. He shared his experiences as a Forensic Psychologist and it made me realize that I have a passion for psychology.

Please finish this sentence: Because of John Jay…
Because of John Jay, I was able to pick two majors that I was very interested in and focus my time on studying. As a result, I was able to graduate in three years with two degrees and honors. Also, I really appreciate the professors that I’ve had during my time at John Jay, because they’ve made my education very interesting and pushed me to be the best that I can be.