Criminal Justice Association Career Day


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

The Criminal Justice Association hosted its 2023 Career Day on March 14 in Ullsvik Hall, which included booths occupied by police stations, crime labs and other organizations. The day-long event started at 10 a.m. with a career fair where students were able to speak with potential employers for internship opportunities, as well as employment following their time at UW-Platteville.

“If you have any questions, they’ll definitely answer them the best that they can,” Senior Forensic Investigation and Biology major Lynn Taylor shared. “The) only downside for Forensic Investigation people like us is that there were only two booths in there.”

This sentiment was echoed by crowds of Forensic Investigation students. The overall feeling was that the event was catered more toward Criminal Justice majors looking to get into police or investigative work rather than in labs.

Students were also surprised at how many employers were there. “In the past, there were fewer agencies, so it felt a little more personal. This year I was a bit overwhelmed,” Criminal Justice major Morgan Weier-Schult, said. Information regarding the event and the agencies that would be in attendance had been posted by the CJA organization on their social media accounts, but many students weren’t aware of this.

Joe Vanness, a senior Forensic Investigation and Biology major, said, “It’s nice to get feelers out there and just talk to different agencies, just to get your name out…It’s definitely a good idea to come, even if you don’t think you’re going to find anything you like, because you never know what you’re going to find.”

Following the job fair, there was a panel discussion that gave Criminal Justice majors a chance to see what the daily life of someone in the field looks like. The speakers of this event were: Alexandra Stanley, a Task Force Coordinator, Carrie Tobias, a Deputy Sheriff, Katie Fetting, a Probation and Parole Agent, and Molly Detjens, a Recreation Warden-Incident Investigator.

A topic of discussion was work-life balance. In response, Stanley talked about how she used to work on victim service cases, and when she would go home it was hard for her to not think about her work. This would often leave her having nightmares about the cases.

Carrie also mentioned that many of her friends are not in law enforcement, allowing her a break from having to talk about her job.

An important topic the women discussed was mental health. Fetting explained how there are services for employees who need counseling and guidance. There has been a shift in the way mental health is seen in the field and more resources are being implemented to train and inform supervisors so that they can talk to and work alongside employees instead of talking at them.

The last event of the day was the keynote speaker, Jerri Williams, who is a retired agent, podcaster and author. She served 26 years for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is on a mission to show the reality of working for them. During this talk, she went over different myths that movies give off, and what the realities of them are.

One of the myths mentioned was that of ‘undercover agents run cases.’ “They are doing what needs to be done at the direction of the case agent, and after their role is done, they go back to whatever city they came from, and the case agent continues with the trial and prosecution of the suspects,” Williams said.

Williams concluded that there is not just one type of major that you need to work for the FBI and that they are looking for more well-rounded people. The CJA hosts the career fair annually to give Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigation students a wider range of internships and employment options