From the open spaces of a university campus to the confined cells of a juvenile detention center, UC Merced sophomore Martin MacLeod said he is gaining a valuable education.
MacLeod works as an office assistant at Youth Service Center in San Mateo County during his breaks from studying business management at UC Merced.
“To a certain degree, it’s a business (like any other),” MacLeod, 20, said of juvenile hall.
MacLeod said helping with paperwork in the new detention center, which just opened this year, allows him to see how management analysis, technical support and fiscal services are implemented.
He credits growing up with a father who works in the justice system as a court officer with helping him feel at ease at the detention center. He said he quickly took to the position.
But it’s his education here that has him looking at more than just the business side of the center.
In fact, he might like to move away from the business aspect for a while, and work with the young people who are in custody, he said, by becoming a group supervisor.
“We are learning a lot about identity in my anthropology class, and it ties in on a daily basis,” he said.
“The class was my first real exposure to it, and I began to notice the direct connection to my job,” he said.
Anthropology and juvenile justice won’t deter him from his ultimate goal of becoming a real estate and stock-market investor. He’s been saving the money he earns at the detention center to start making his first purchases.
MacLeod wants to start his own business someday, and said just taking a chance on UC Merced was a step in the right direction - and a wise business and cultural choice.
“I came here because it was a chance to do something different and unique,” he said. “I mean, it’s not every day - it’s not every year - that a new UC opens.”