Class of 2018 Success Stories: Brandon Peebles plans to make an impact in criminal justice

By Bob Cunningham ’18

The criminal justice program at Bowling Green State University attracted Brandon Peebles because he wants to make a positive impact in the community. 

Peebles, who grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, transferred to BGSU from the University of Mount Union because “I wanted to go to a bigger school with more connections,” he said. “I felt like BGSU would make much more of an impact because there are just so many more resources at the University and in the community.”

Following his graduation from BGSU in August 2017, Peebles enrolled in the University’s graduate criminal justice program and also worked as a teaching assistant. After distinguishing himself in the community, he is graduating with a Master of Science in criminal justice, and a sense of reinforced admiration for being a Falcon.

“I think the best part about BGSU is it’s big but not overwhelming,” Peebles said. “You can feel like a number at larger universities, but here you have all of the resources you need and also a comfortable environment where you feel at home. 

“I have very good relationships with my professors, which allowed me to go to graduate school and work side by side them in a lot of aspects of research. Every day, I’m thankful I went here because of the close relationships I’ve been able to develop with the faculty. They’re always there for me.”

Peebles credits his experiences and opportunities at BGSU for his landing a full-time job in his field. He recently accepted a youth adviser position with the Juvenile Residential Center of Northwest Ohio.

“Over the past year, it has been truly an honor to work with Brandon,” said Dr. Melissa Burek, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Every so often, I meet a student who really shines and stands out as a person of high integrity, dedication and enthusiasm to life in academia and beyond. Brandon fits this description seamlessly.  

“I felt like BGSU would make much more of an impact because there are just so many more resources at the University and in the community.”

“Whether as a student in his own classes, a new scholar working on research projects, key contributor to the first-ever Opioid Teach-In at BGSU, or as a teaching assistant, Brandon was there to support and collaborate with faculty, his peers, students in his class sections and the BGSU community. He is definitely a talented and exceptional graduate who will continue to stand out in his career.”

Peebles has always been interested in working with youth as a way to be involved in the community.  

“I grew up with a lot of friends whose parents were in law enforcement and my mom was a social worker,” he said. “I got to hear a lot of sad stories, but that made me want to get involved in criminal justice and make a positive impact in the community. One of the things I’m really interested in is police sports leagues. I think anytime you can find a little niche or an outlet that positively affects youth, law enforcement is a way to do that.” 

He had an Intensive undergraduate internship at Harborcreek Youth Services near his hometown. 

“Working with youth really opens your eyes to a lot of things,” Peebles said. “I’d like to get kids out of bad situations and provide to them some positive social skills to take with them wherever they go.”

In addition to his internship, Peebles said he participated in several ride-alongs with the Toledo Police Department, another eye-opening experience. In fall 2018, he was a member of the Opioid Tech-In steering committee. He ran the event’s Twitter account and reached out to student activities groups to get students to participate in the event.

“At Campus Fest through our outreach program, we had a lot of people come up to us and tell us their stories about opioid use and personal stories about friends, family and themselves,” Peebles said. “It felt good to have people feel they could reach out to us and get excited about the event.

“It’s a huge problem, not only in the United States, but especially in northwest Ohio. Just hearing about it, and getting the opportunity to try to make an impact and get people educated about opioids and focus resources on prevention was a really great experience. We had some students who had struggled with opioid abuse, went through treatment and recovered come talk to us about their personal struggles and how excited they were to have this event on campus.”

Peebles said opioids get a lot of attention for being a huge problem, especially in the media, but, typically, people don’t know how to take the next step. That’s why it was so important, in his opinion, to have the Opioid Teach-In on campus.

“What do we really know about warning signs, prevention or the resources we have in this area?” he asked. “I think that was the big thing that got people excited about the Teach-In. We had a resource fair with all kinds of local agencies that, if you knew anyone or if you were struggling, you could talk to. We had educational programs from 7 or 8 in the morning to 9 o’clock at night, which isn’t something you see every day.”