Forty-three Texas A&M International University students who enrolled in a Criminal Justice Internship course (CRIJ 4601) during the Spring Semester not only earned credit toward their degree, they gained valuable job skills and experience.
Dr. Delilah Dotremon, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at A&M International, taught the Internship course and coordinated the Internship Program.
"The Internship course is designed to give senior Criminal Justice majors real-world experience that will augment what they have learned in the classroom. Students in the Internship course attend class meetings, write a research paper, spend 160 hours undergoing supervised practical training with a local criminal justice agency, and maintain an activity log detailing their experience," explained Dr. Dotremon.
She noted the Internship experience gives students an opportunity to build professional ties, and explore the realities of the day-to-day work environment.
"This means our students are better prepared when they graduate and join the work force. That helps our students, the agencies that employ them, and the community they serve," she added.
Twenty local agencies participated in the Criminal Justice Internship program, including Border Patrol, Laredo Police Department, US Customs, Sheriff's Department, Juvenile Department, Coastal Bend Legal Services, the law firm of David Garcia, Public Defender's Office, District Attorney's Office, the law firm of Eddie Peña, Domestic Violence Center, Laredo Women's Shelter, Children's Advocacy Center, Stop Child Abuse and Neglect SCAN), South Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Webb County Regional Restitution/Residential Center, Treatment Associates Inc., Attorney General's Child Support Unit, Communities in Schools, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Each participating agency specified the number of interning positions they had available, the duties and responsibilities to be assigned to each intern, and the qualifications needed for each internship position. Dr. Dotremon then matched the needs of each agency with the qualifications, skills, and interests of each student.
"The process of matching each student to the needs of the participating agency has worked very well, so well, in fact, that many of our interns are offered jobs after their internship ends," she said.
The Criminal Justice Internship course will be offered again next Spring. Enrollment in the course is open to criminal justice majors who have senior standing. Juniors and non-criminal justice majors may enroll in the course with special permission from the Internship Coordinator.
For more information on the Criminal Justice Internship course or the Criminal Justice Program at A&M International, please contact Dr. Dotremon at 326-2611 or by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.