Not All Criminal Justice Majors Want to Be Police Officers
By: Alexis Gram ’16
My junior year of high school, I attended a CSI Camp at Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania, and from that moment forward I knew I wanted to work within the criminal justice system. I have always had a passion for forensic science as well, but I decided to major in criminal justice to give myself a wider variety of career options after graduation. Out of all the career paths I could take, I knew I didn’t want to become a police officer. I have a lot of respect for police officers and the risks they take every day to protect us, but I knew that was not a good fit for me. This somewhat surprised people.
The general population typically thinks that a person majoring in criminal justice will graduate, go into the police academy and become an officer. However, since this was not what I wanted to do, I received some funny looks. So I would simply have to explain to them that I wanted to pursue forensics, instead, even if I was not yet sure that this was exactly what I wanted to do.
I (finally) finalized my plans after my internship with the Stark County Sheriff’s Office in the fall of 2015. Throughout this internship, I was able to observe in pretty much every area of the agency, from the detective bureau to the dispatch unit. One day, in particular, I observed at the Stark County Crime Laboratory. This was the most eye-opening experience because although I enjoyed the other parts of my internship, this was the one day that stood out most in my mind. I learned so much there in just one day, and this job constantly changes meaning that no one day would be the same.
With that being said, I just graduated this past Saturday, May 9th, summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice. However, my observation at the Stark County Crime Lab has led me to the decision of going back to Mount Union after graduation to major in chemistry. Although this may seem crazy to some, I know this will give me even more career options and allow me to follow my passion and work in a crime lab.
So to any fellow criminal justice majors reading this, I would encourage you to expand your horizons and look at all the many options we have in this career. Also, to all students, regardless of major – be sure to do an internship. The hands-on experience showed me exactly where I want to go in life, and it was through this that I decided to go back to school. Sometimes real-world understanding can be more rewarding than textbook material.