Jacksonville Student Using Military Background to Earn Criminal Justice Degree


Jose Gonzalez, a military veteran born and raised in New York, lives a busy life. Not only does he work a full-time job, but he is also a parent and a caregiver. He wasn’t sure how he would fit time for a degree into that mix, but thanks to the help of flexible class scheduling at Keiser University, Gonzalez is now halfway through a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice.

Gonzalez enrolled in the United States military at 25 years old and spent his four years of service in North Carolina, along with two deployments. Towards the end of his enlistment, he had two options: either move back to New York or move to Florida and begin school immediately. He chose the latter.

When he applied to Keiser University Jacksonville, he was surprised to hear about the three day per week schedule.

“Right now, I’m working, I’m in school, and I’m a parent,” he said. “I don’t have to sacrifice or unbalance my schedule for anything. It’s a lot of work, but it’s manageable.”

Gonzalez chose the Criminal Justice program because he saw it as an extension of the work he was already doing during his time in the military. He figured that he should learn the “whys” and “what ifs” of American laws.

His goal is to complete his degree in Criminal Justice so that one day he can become a federal agent working in the human trafficking division.

“It’s an amazing program,” Gonzalez says of his time at Keiser University. “Especially being right out of the military and trying to find a little more structure. This helps you structure yourself.”

Gonzalez also says that the Criminal Justice program has been enjoyable thanks to dedicated professors like Dr. Michael Rutledge, who makes class an interesting challenge for his students.

“He’s amazing,” Gonzalez said. “If I had a professor like him the first time I went to college, I’d have a doctorate degree by now.”

Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S.in providing Social Mobility by U.S News and World Report in 2023.



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