Alumna Is Making a Difference for Victims


Michelle “Deaneé” Moran always knew what she wanted to do with her criminal justice degree from Sam Houston State University: to make a difference in her community.

“From day one, that’s been my goal – to make a difference in the community that I live in,” Moran said. “This path has fulfilled that need in me.”

Moran advocates for sexual assault victims in Delaware.
Moran advocates for sexual assault victims in Delaware.
Moran has helped many communities – and many individuals – in her career in victim services, which has stretched from Texas to Delaware to Maryland. She has served survivors of sexual assault, victims of child abuse and neglect, and victims of domestic violence. Along the way, she earned her master’s degree in counseling and is pursuing a Ph.D. in child development.

Since January, Moran has served as the Program Manager for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in Southern Maryland, which provides a voice for foster children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect. Operated with highly trained volunteers, the program had 47 advocates who handled cases for 72 children in 2013.

A pile of CASA card reading I am for the Child.“One of the biggest rewards that I have experienced is seeing the positive outcomes,” said Moran. “Children in the CASA program stay in foster care 1.5 to two years less than other kids, and they have many more resources out in community. For the older kids, they have a better chance of making it once they age out of care. For me, the work is what the teams are doing. I steer the ship, but everyone else is doing the hard work.”

Moran was recently appointed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to serve on the state’s Child Fatality Review Team, which examines circumstances around child deaths to identify key policies, procedures and standards that could prevent future tragedies. “We are responsible for advising the Governor, General Assembly and the public on changes to the law, policy and practice to prevent child death,” she said.

Moran participates in a Sexual Assault Awareness event with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.
Moran participates in a Sexual Assault Awareness event with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.
While earning a degree in counseling from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Moran became a peer counselor at a local crisis center, focusing on young victims, including children, teens and young adults who were victims of sexual assault. Later, she took a job at Patsy’s House Child Advocacy Center as a forensic interviewer for child victims of abuse and neglect for 12 counties in Northern Texas. She also served as the Director of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Program at the University of Texas in Arlington, developing education and awareness programs on campus.

At UT Arlington she developed programs against sexual violence on campus.
At UT Arlington she developed programs against sexual violence on campus.
In 2010, she left Texas to head the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware (the state’s coalition against sexual violence), where she helped develop standard protocols for law enforcement officers responding to sexual assault cases and served on task forces across the state. She also worked with the National Center for Victims of Crime, where she traveled the country to train law enforcement officers, judges and attorneys about stalking and victims rights.

When she decided to lay down roots, she settled in the Washington, D.C. area and took the position with CASA. Moran is hoping to make a difference on a larger scale in the area for victims of crime.

Moran lobbying for the Violence Against Victims Act in 2012.
Moran lobbying for the Violence Against Victims Act in 2012.
“Victim services has always been my interest,” said Moran. “I knew, even as a student, that there is a better way to serve child victims. When I started in the field, I could always see better ways of doing things.”

Moran is now pursuing a Ph.D. degree in child development at Texas Women’s University, a missing piece of the puzzle to provide her best for child victims. She is expected to graduate in December 2015.

Moran participated in Study Abroad programs at SHSU, such as this trip to China and Tibet.
Moran participated in Study Abroad programs at SHSU, such as this trip to China and Tibet.
But despite her nearly three degrees in higher education, she still feels SHSU represents her true alma mater.

“I always held Sam Houston as my one and only,” said Moran. “There was a sense of family. Dr. Dick Ward (former Dean and Director) instilled this drive in me to do more, do better and achieve your best.”

“It feels like a whirlwind,” said Moran. “I have been all over the place, but I have always taken steps up the ladder, taken on new challenges, and was open to new opportunities. I certainly have not been chasing the money, but rather it has been a chase to serve society, making sure that I’m in a position where I can be more influential and better serve my community.”

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