PUBLISHED:February 24, 2020

Newman '88 inspires criminal justice and paralegal students with the story of Dontae Sharpe's exoneration


Newman and parents of Dontae Sharpe talk with Pitt Community College students hoping to build careers in law and criminal justice

Theresa Newman, co-director of Duke University School of Law’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic Theresa Newman speaks with students at Pitt Community College

Published Feb. 22 in The Daily Reflector:

Students enrolled in Pitt Community College Public Services & Fine Arts curricula took advantage of an opportunity on Thursday to learn about topics pertaining to their future careers from professionals currently working in those fields.

Organized by PCC Career Services, the second annual Student Career Conference featured breakout sessions for students taking advertising and graphic design, criminal justice, paralegal and human services courses.

In one session, Theresa Newman, co-director of Duke University School of Law’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic, spoke with criminal justice and paralegal technology students about her successful efforts to free Greenville’s Dontae Sharpe and Kinston’s Howard Dudley from prison in 2019 and 2016, respectively. With Sharpe’s parents in attendance, Newman gave the students a detailed account of the legal battle waged to overturn their son’s 1995 murder conviction.

Across campus, Christy Jones, co-owner of the Monday Solutions Group, offered advertising and graphic design students tips for networking effectively when seeking jobs or growing businesses. As part of the session, students learned about different types of networking and strategies for expanding their professional networks.

A third session involved human services technology students learning about the differences between counseling, psychiatry, psychology and social work. Portia West, a fourth-year resident physician in psychiatry with East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, joined PCC’s Jean Cahoon, Tania Overton and Olivia Sutton in discussing the education, tasks, populations served, and occupations that distinguish the fields from each other.