A 30-Year Odyssey in Education and Career
For Alum Jeffrey Presha

8/09


During ninth grade graduation rehearsal, MCCC alumnus Jeffrey Presha vividly recalls a member of the Police Athletic League asking his class if anyone wanted to serve in the field of law. Presha was the only one to raise his hand.

In a career that has spanned 30 years, Presha has made good on that pledge, having served first as a security officer, then as a probations investigator, and currently as a family court investigator in Middlesex County. In 2009, he achieved an academic milestone, graduating from Mercer County Community College with an AAS degree in Paralegal Studies.

"I always wanted to be the 'good guy'," said Presha, who grew up in Miller Homes in Trenton during the '60s and '70s and is a graduate of Trenton Central High School. "Growing up in the projects, I knew people who viewed law enforcement negatively. I did not subscribe to that."

In his job as an investigator for the New Jersey Judiciary Superior Court in Middlesex County's Family Division Child Support Unit, Presha enjoys being exposed to the inner workings of the courts. "It is very rewarding to work in the halls of justice," he says. He is quick to credit Mercer County Community College for playing an instrumental in shaping his career direction and knowledge of the legal system.

Jeffrey L. Presha '09

Taking courses sporadically at MCCC during the 1980s and 1990s while juggling responsibilities as a husband and father of two, Presha finally focused on college in earnest in 2000. He recalls the encouragement and support he received from MCCC faculty members. Two professors quickly come to mind: Ed Paddock, who taught accounting, and Emmaline Marks, his English composition instructor. He particularly remembers how Marks instilled discipline and challenged him to be his best. "She sparked my creative side," said Presha, who proceeded to excel in both English 101 and 102. "It has been an exciting 30-year odyssey," he observes.

While an MCCC paralegal student, Presha enjoyed visiting the United States Supreme Court, the Capitol , and the Library of Congress. "The program was a great experience for me," said Presha. "It really gave me the professional insight, guidance and direction I needed to successfully advance in all of my positions. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in entering the field."

Today, Presha brings a high level of discipline and dedication to his job in the Family Court Unit, where he monitors child support cases, including reviewing court orders pertaining to parental visitation time and child support payments. He also serves as the Unit's liaison for litigant immigration and naturalization service (INS) issues and acts as an information coordinator for "New Jersey Kids," which oversees a sophisticated computerized database for children registered in the family court system.

Prior to his present job, he worked as an investigator in Middlesex County's Probations Division. He also served as a legal services assistant in the New Jersey Department of Corrections and as a security/safety officer in a number of settings.

Presha plans to further his education to obtain a bachelor's degree in law or justice at a nearby four-year college. His only regret is not completing his coursework at Mercer sooner. "I just should have done it 30 years ago," he said. "I have always had a thirst for knowledge. MCCC gave me the confidence to continue to pursue my education. "

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