TAMIU Criminal Justice Association Receives Kudos at Conference
Posted: 4/17/14

TAMIU Criminal Justice Association
Receives Kudos at Conference

The Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Criminal Justice Association (CJA) returned with much praise after presenting original research to criminal justice professors and students at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences National Conference held in Philadelphia in March.

Students presented research on narco-terrorism and prostitution and criminal justice policy implications.

“I’ve been the sponsor of the CJA for 8 years and am very impressed with the group of students who attended the conference,” said Dr. Claudia E. San Miguel, chair, TAMIU College of Arts and Sciences Department of Public Affairs and Social Research.

Students enhanced their knowledge of the criminal justice system by attending panel presentations, networking with other CJ students across the U.S. and interacting with faculty members from other universities.

“This for me was such a great learning experience—teaching me how much I am capable of doing. It definitely changed the way I thought about so many things,” said Alejandra Martínez, TAMIU CJA president.

Martínez was part of the group that presented “Prostitution and Criminal Justice Policy Implications.” Other members of the group include Krystyna Cabello, senior and CJA vice president; Priscilla Sanchez, senior; Ibbys Benavides, graduate student, CJA treasurer; Kristina Morales, graduate student, CJA secretary.

Robert Ruiz, senior, CJA team leader; Claritza Vásquez, graduate student, CJA historian; and James Deliganis, junior, presented “Narco-Terrorism.”

“Presenting research at academic conferences has been an amazing experience! It has helped me get out of my comfort zone and helped me learn how to perform well under pressure. The experience was the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Cabello.

“It’s important for students to present at conferences so they can hone their research skills as well as their oral communication skills,” Dr. San Miguel added.

She explained that when students present at conferences, their confidence and self-esteem increases. They also realize the importance of research in the field of criminal justice and how research can enrich their undergraduate experience at TAMIU.

TAMIU Criminal Justice Association

TAMIU Criminal Justice Association Attends Conference in Philadelphia
The Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Criminal Justice Association (CJA) presented their own research to experts in the field at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences National Conference. Members are: front row, left to right: Robert Ruiz, senior and Criminal Justice Association team leader; Alejandra Martinez, senior and CJA president; Dr. Claudia San Miguel, chair, Department of Public Affairs and Social Research; Krystyna Cabello, senior, CJA vice president; Priscilla Sanchez, senior. Back row, from left to right: Ibbys Benavides (TAMIU, ’13), CJA treasurer; Kristina Morales (TAMIU, ’13), CJA secretary; Claritza Vasquez (TAMIU, ’13), CJA historian; and James Deliganis, junior.

“I truly believe that it’s a transformative experience for the students because it fosters personal and academic growth. Because of the positive feedback they received from faculty at other universities during their presentations, the students are now eager to expand their research and present at other conferences. Overall, it was a very rewarding experience for them,” San Miguel said.

“It’s also very impressive to see a group of undergraduate students and recent graduates interested in research and who want to continue to present research at other conferences,” San Miguel added.

The CJA held fundraisers to attend the trip, but they never overlooked the importance of their research presentations.

“Other faculty were asking them about how they have motivated so many students to join the Criminal Justice Association. They also received positive feedback about their fundraising efforts, community involvement and leadership skills,” San Miguel said.

The group plans to present their research at the upcoming Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice Conference in South Padre Island, Texas; American Society of Criminology Conference in San Francisco; and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Orlando, Fla.

“We were surrounded by so many intelligent people that it left us wanting to do more. My favorite part about presenting was the sense of accomplishment I experienced once it was all done. We went and did exactly what we had planned to do, which was to display our work to the very best of our abilities,” said Martínez.

Although the work they present is their original research, students represent the University when they appear at conferences.

“You go to these conferences with a set mentality to represent your university in a positive light and come out with such a sense of pride. Not only did you do something for your school, but for yourself as well,” Martínez said.

“At these conferences, Hispanics attending tend to be highly outnumbered. Personally, being Hispanic and from a border town, I believe there is an urgent need to even out the playing field,” said Cabello.

Association members practiced their presentations before they left for the conference and every day they spend in Philadelphia before their presentations.

“Practice makes perfect—and their presentations were outstanding! I am very proud of their accomplishments,” said San Miguel.

“Dr. San Miguel is definitely the driving force behind our group. She helped us prepare for the presentation as well as providing us with such a great deal of support with everything we needed leading up to the conference,” Martínez said.

“Our panel was very impressed when they heard we were undergrads. Dr. San Miguel got such positive feedback that it made the stress and the pressure well worth it,” Cabello said.

For more information, contact San Miguel at 326.2529 or csanmiguel@tamiu.edu or visit offices in Dr. F.M. Canseco Hall, room 303.

University hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

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