LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Criminal Justice students from Lock Haven University learned about careers in criminal justice from experts in the field during a recent trip to Washington, DC. The Criminal Justice Club traveled to the nation’s capital April 16 -19 to meet with dignitaries and learn about the opportunities available to graduates with a degree in criminal justice.Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Dwayne Marshall, associate professor of criminal justice, explained that “Exposure is the one main purpose for this trip.” Noting that a degree in criminal justice is very popular, he said that “This trip was conceptualized with the intention of exposing CJ students to the vast opportunities available to them with a CJ degree. We want them to learn about the many agencies available to them and the requirements of these agencies.”
High-ranking officials from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies from the U.S. Navy, DEA, Pentagon Police, Naval Criminal Investigative Services, Capital Police, the U.S. State Department and the Fairfax County Police Department met with and addressed LHU CJ Club members in a conference-like setting. Recruiters were also present to meet with the students.
The sessions allowed the students to pose questions to the officials and recruiters about the application process, especially specific requirements. Marshall said, “We want our students to learn first-hand about the entry requirements to that they can not only be aware but also so that they can start preparing themselves for their future as informed students.”
The students of Lock Haven University Criminal Justice Club were privileged to meet, interact, and present questions directly to the Secretary of the United States Navy, the Honorable BJ Penn, who took the time out of his busy schedule to meet with us. He presented each student with a gold "Secretary of the Navy" coin. He also posed for group pictures.
Secretary Penn provided a brief history of his career within the Navy. He discussed the opportunities the Navy offered for CJ scholars. He emphasized the importance of monitoring one's actions today because those same actions will follow us tomorrow and if not careful our actions of the past could haunt our future. He explained that today's Navy is more challenging. The Navy is no longer accepting every applicant; instead, they are more selective. Secretary Penn encouraged the students to strive for their personal goals and to reach for the highest heights.
During this presentation, Secretary Penn introduced the other speakers of the day. They included: BGen Jonathan Cofer (Ret.), Pentagon Force Protection Agency; Chief Richard Keevill, Chief of Pentagon Police; Chuck Briant, Naval Criminal Investigative Service; and Charles Lee of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who provided brief presentations about their agencies and their offerings.
Marshall said, “I was impressed with the Secretary of the Navy not only by his words of wisdom but also the warm welcome he extended to us. Upon entering the room, he greeted each student with a handshake and asked the students to identify themselves, their status (junior, senior, etc.) and their major. He then extended an open invitation for all present to look into and consider the Navy with its vast opportunities and offerings.
The LHU students traveled to the DEA Museum where they were greeted by Assistant Supervisor in Charge of the Washington Division of DEA, Agent Walter Morrison. He gave a brief history of his career with the agency and introduced the group to a recruiter, Agent Greg and a Senior recruiter, Agent Priscilla Lewis. These two individuals discussed the recruitment process of the agency and the requirements for employment.
The students traveled to the U.S. State Department Headquarters. This is the building where Secretary Hillary Clinton's office is located. She was on travel to Haiti but the students were able to see the entrance to her office and attended a presentation in her conference room. The agents who presented were Agent Jeff Capel, Trey Lions and a secretary, Susan Malcik.
Fairfax County Police officials Lt. Gervis Reed, David Vesser and Jessica Herring gave a presentation about their agency. They were also available to answer questions.
Members of the CJ club gave all presenters tokens of their appreciation in the form of mugs displaying the Lock Haven University logo. Some were presented with T-shirts.
After their return to Lock Haven, Marshall observed, “The ambassadors from Lock Haven University represented themselves and the institution well. They presented tough questions to the presenters. They displayed an obvious thirst for information.”
Student Matthew Ryan Gray said, “The experience you get from meeting with these prestigious authority figures is very helpful. They answer any questions or concerns you have about their agency.” Gray added, “The trip really helped me fully know what type of criminal justice field I want to pursue.”
Gray’s sentiments were echoed by CJ Club President Kristin M. Matula. “This experience with the Criminal Justice Club going to DC has opened my eyes to what it really takes to become a government official and what I have to do to become one of the elite in the field I want to work in. It’s an experience I will remember and I look forward to going again next year,” Matula said.
The students also toured the U.S. Department of State headquarters and visited the outer section of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office, the State Department Communications Division, the Intelligence Section and other sensitive areas.
Gray offered a piece of advice to his fellow LHU students: "I would encourage anyone who is interested in a federal job to go on the Washington, DC trip."