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Shawn Cohn

B.S. Criminal Justice ‘90

Rehabilitator. Life Changer. Roadrunner.

Getting young people back on the road

Shawn Cohn turned her criminal-justice degree into a career turning lives around.

As chief probation officer for the Denver Juvenile Probation Department, Shawn Cohn has spent more than 25 years getting young people back on track after setbacks with the legal system. And with more than 500 youths currently on probation, it requires a deft touch to balance individual situations with community safety.

“Folks here are passionate about helping kids turn their lives around,” she says. “We recognize that people make poor choices sometimes, so we work hard to get a rehabilitative plan in place and positively engage families.”

The 1990 graduate knew from early on the kind of work she wanted to do. But it wasn’t until she became a Roadrunner that she got a real look into a career that would give her the opportunity to impact lives throughout the Denver community.

“The instructors teaching these courses often had careers in the fields they taught in,” says Cohn, who majored in criminal justice with an emphasis in juvenile delinquency and minored in psychology. “In addition to getting the information from books, I got real-life, hands-on experience.”

Now, it’s Cohn’s turn to pay it forward. As a guest presenter at MSU Denver, she extols the virtues of internships and applied volunteerism, which give students an edge in the competitive job market.

Helping young people turn their lives around requires focusing on the individual and the community. For Cohn, insight into both came from her time as a Roadrunner.

This is where lives are transformed. Where new paths unfold. Where the future spreads out in front of you.

At MSU Denver, we celebrate that each person’s road is different. Where will yours take you?


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