From the time she was in sixth grade, Tyiana Nunez knew she wanted to be an FBI agent. Since then, the Criminal Justice major has had many opportunities to see what her future career is like in real time.
She has investigated several mock crime scenes alongside professors who work in the criminal justice field. Her favorite class to date? Criminal Investigations. “With the assistance of two detectives from the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, we got to go through the whole process of investigating a mock murder, from the crime scene to interrogations and all the paperwork in between,” Tyiana says. “It was a great experience and opportunity to network.”
A summer internship at the Sheriff’s Office gave Tyiana even more hands-on experience in the field and exposed her to its various facets, from the Marine Unit to Transports and even the Police Academy. “I assisted many different detectives and units,” she explains, adding that she did everything from basic training with a K9 arson dog, observed polygraphs, fingerprinted, and even learned how to helm a boat. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will be forever grateful for and will take with me as I begin my career,” she says.
After starting out at STAC as a Forensic Science major, Tyiana quickly realized that, as much as she loves science, she really wanted to work in the field conducting investigations. So with some guidance from her favorite Criminal Justice professor, Dr. Chayet, she switched her major to Criminal Justice and made Forensic Psychology her minor. “Dr. Chayet said ‘Welcome to the dark side,’” Tyiana recalls. “She has certainly taken me under her wing. Through her guidance, I’ve been able to excel in the Criminal Justice program.”
There was a time when Tyiana wasn’t sure if she’d even be able to attend college, but her determination to pursue her dreams led her on the road to STAC. Tyiana says it’s a gift she learned from her mom: “She has been through so much and lets nothing stop her,” she says, adding that her mom faced many challenges raising three children as a single parent. In a speech Tyiana delivered at STAC’s Annual Tribute Dinner, she shared some of these struggles with the audience, explaining that her mom worked multiple jobs and many times sacrificed her own meals just so her children could eat. “That really pushed me to want to do better and make her proud.”
Receiving a scholarship from STAC not only enabled her to study Criminal Justice but also opened many doors for Tyiana to make the most of her college years. She has actively participated in numerous extracurriculars, including athletics—she’s a member of the NCAA Division II Women’s Triathlon Team as well as the Track and Field Team. She also serves as an RA and Spartan Ambassador on campus and sings and performs with Stacapella and the STAC Singers. Singing has always been one of her favorite hobbies and Tyiana even auditioned for “The Voice” in her freshman year. Her other favorite pastime, which comes as no surprise, is watching crime shows like “Law & Order,” “Designated Survivor,” and “Blacklist.”
Five years from now, Tyiana envisions herself holding a master’s degree and working as an FBI or Secret Service agent. “From a very young age, I have always wanted to help people and make a difference,” she says. “There are so many skills I have learned at STAC that have made me who I am today and I can’t wait to use my talents in the real world.”