Criminal Justice Association Meeting

The Criminal Justice Association hosts biweekly meetings that any student planning on majoring in Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation is welcome to attend. The most recent meeting was held via Zoom on Nov. 3 from 6:00-8:00p.m. and, during that meeting, they discussed the potential careers of students who are majoring in either the Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation fields.
They introduced the many different job opportunities that are offered in the field, ranging from a forensic scientist to a police officer. The different opportunities within these career choices were also discussed. For example, when becoming a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, there are different opportunities to be a patrol officer, K-9 handler or a mounted patrol officer.
Ashten Chandler, a student at UW-Platteville, is currently majoring in Forensic Investigation. During an Exponent interview she claimed that, “It is so important for students to find a meeting or activity that correlates with your major, especially if you are not 100% sure that it is what you want to do in life.”
These meetings are intended for students who are interested in the Criminal Justice or Forensic Investigation major but are unsure which parts appeal to them.
Nathaniel Forrest, a criminal justice professor at UW-Platteville, was asked during the meeting about the perks of a career in criminal justice. Forrest talked about the incredible amount of job opportunities that students have after they graduate and how the degree “allows them to find an area that speaks to their personal and professional needs.”
These job opportunities could be anything from an investigator to a detective, or from a fingerprint analyst to a forensic engineer.
The fluidity within these degrees was the main topic of the Criminal Justice Association Meeting. Having many different options in a career is so important. Chandler recently attended a Stop the Hate Crime/Bias meeting that made her realize even though she wants to go into the CJ/FI field, she does not want to be a police officer on the front lines.
Chandler was made aware of the large amount of bias within the criminal justice field, so she has chosen to stick with the scientific side of the career. She was made aware that

there are jobs within forensic investigation that do not require law enforcement experience and are better suited for her interest.
Ashley Hardy, another forensic investigation major, attended an event where an investigator talked about the different cases that he had worked. Hardy was intrigued by the investigative side of the career, so this meeting opened Hardy’s eyes to what her future could hold and sparked an interest to achieve what she strived for.
This meeting discussed the different career paths and promotion opportunities that students could take on at a local, state or federal level. Forrest talked about how service-oriented this field is and how it really builds a person’s character when pursuing a career in it.
These meetings may help students figure out which field they would like to be a part of. Forrest also advised students to get out and attend additional meetings and events so that they can see what they are truly interested in.
He ended with “Going to events and listening to these specific speakers allows students to hear the different perspectives found in the criminal justice world.”