By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

Meet Leigh Martindale – Associate Professor & Chairperson for Criminal Justice & Emergency Services

Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

What drives you professionally and personally? “I’m driven by a thirst for knowledge. I truly believe that learning is a lifelong process, and I feel like being at SUNY Broome allows me to explore a ton of different opportunities to learn continuously. I’m driven to learn professionally, to be better in the classroom, and to be better when I work with my students or my colleagues on campus. But learning also drives my personal life. I have two little boys at home, so learning with them and watching them learn is such a cool experience. I’m also driven by the desire to help others. I entered this field because I wanted to be in service to other people. I was never supposed to teach in higher education, so I thought, but then I came to SUNY Broome as an adjunct and fell in love with it. I learned that I could help others by being in the classroom, and I’ve loved it ever since.”

What can we do to encourage and support fellow women as they pursue their education and careers? “I think it’s so important to have open conversations, whether they be with students, colleagues, or professionals in the field. Traditionally, criminal justice and emergency services are more male-dominated fields, but that is quickly changing. I often tell my students that if this were sixty years ago, I probably would not be teaching this class, but we, as women, have come a long way and will continue to grow. To me, that’s so encouraging, and it starts with having open conversations and supporting one another.” 

Who is a public figure (either historical or present day) that has inspired you? What were/are her contributions and achievements? “I have a couple! The first one is Mother Teresa. She devoted her whole life to doing charitable work. I think that it is really important in life to help others, regardless of their situation. We never know what people are personally going through. The ability to open yourself up to being charitable without judging and speaking kindly and openly with others is something that I really admire. 

Condoleezza Rice is my second suggestion. She was the first female Black secretary of state and the first woman to serve as national security advisor. Watching her use her platform inspired a generation of women to enter public service. 

And finally, my mom! She is not a public figure, but to me, she is. She raised four very strong women. My mom and dad instilled in us girls from a young age that as long as we are open, honest, and communicative, we could do anything and go anywhere. My father is a paraplegic, and my mom had to take on some roles that perhaps, traditionally, my dad would have taken on if he wasn’t physically disabled. It was a different kind of relationship watching them grow as a couple, build each other up, and overcome things together.”

What does it mean to you to be celebrated as a remarkable woman? “This honor makes me very happy! My dad’s favorite quote about life is “work hard, have fun,” and I feel like that’s what I have done here at SUNY Broome. I feel so appreciated! I’ve always felt that this campus welcomes everyone, and I am happy to be included in such an inspiring and impressive group of women.”

Name another remarkable woman of SUNY Broome who inspires you.“My predecessor, Kerry Webber, was a huge influence not only in my journey at SUNY Broome and my career, but also in my success. She epitomizes lifting other women up and always built me up to be a better person. Kerry took me under her wing and made me professionally the woman that I am today.”

Do you know #RemarkableWomenofSUNYBroome? Nominate a woman who inspires you via this form.

Celebrating Women's History Month

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