The Criminal Justice Program is by far one of the best programs in the country. I initially majored in Human Services with an emphasis in Social Work, however, I made the switch Fall Semester of my sophomore year. Criminal Justice was my calling and with the help of Dr. Baer and Mr. McIlwain, I was able to make the switch very easily. The Criminal Justice Professors showed me that I can truly help people while enforcing the law.
In my first year, I did well in my classes but I wasn’t fully engaged with the Department or in the classroom. I managed to get by without the books but I couldn’t do that my second year. I started to slack and my grades started to drop in my law classes. Professor Ridge and Dr. Baer challenged me to do more and to be more engaged. They provided me with a tutor and it helped change the type of student I was. Between the changes in my study habits and my interests in the classes offered, I began to shoot to the top of my classes. The professors in the Criminal Justice Program saw something in me that I had not seen. They exceeded the level of mentorship while holding me accountable and teaching me the importance of a strong work ethic. I began to get more involved with the Criminal Justice Department and it became a second family to me. I also started engaging in activities outside of the classroom assignments, such as being a role player for multiple CSI Camps and Criminal Investigation mock crime scenes. In my senior year, Professor Jon Ridge (Deputy Chief Adult Probation and Parole, Washington PA) and Leslie Ridge (Deputy District Attorney, Washington PA) helped guide me in the right direction for my career. I accepted an internship with Greene County Adult/Juvenile Probation and Parole.
Within 6 months after graduation, I received multiple job opportunities in the criminal justice field such as probation and parole, corrections, police, teaching and mentoring. I accepted a position as a Correctional Officer with the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. I was a part of the Disturbance Control Team and Prisoner Transport Team. I worked there for 2.5 years and was promoted to Sports Specialist after my first year. In 2016, I accepted a position with Pentagon Police, Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Washington Headquarters Services. I’m currently still employed with Pentagon Police and I’m also a Recruiter/Background Investigator.
My Waynesburg University Criminal Justice Department education has led to multiple promotions in my early career. Words can’t express how much extra effort the professors give and how engaging they are with their students. They challenge you to be great while giving you the resources you need to be successful. The classes are very hands on and the professors are experts in their fields of study. The professors bring a wealth of knowledge to the classroom. I’m forever thankful for the Waynesburg University Criminal Justice Department.