March 19, 2017

Criminal Justice students take aim at national conference

Eight Criminal Justice students from the Criminal Justice Student Association (CJSA) will take aim at national honors at the upcoming American Criminal Justice Association National Conference in Austin, Texas. The competitive Criminal Justice team will travel from March 26-31 to Austin to compete in a broad range of skills based categories including crime scene investigation, agility, firearms and academic testing and knowledge.

This competition is sponsored through the Criminal Justice Student Association, a SUFAC funded student group associated with the Legal Studies and Criminal Justice Program at UW-Superior. CJSA is open to all students interested in learning more about the criminal justice system. The group meets every Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. in the Public Affairs Lab in Swenson Hall 3069.

The mostly senior team includes Emily Lear, Jacob Nikko, Charlie Mahlen, Cody Kirsch, Tom Fleming, Gabe Hendrickson, Bethany Kemi and Devin Salas. These students earned the right to compete at Nationals through outstanding performance at the November 2016 Regionals competition. The students compete in individual and team based events.

Lear, Vice President of the CJSA and a competitor, explained the value of this experience as “great team bonding. We have learned to work together and get closer as a group.”

This kind of competition also allows experiential and skills based learning to occur for students who participate. The students also represent UW-Superior in this national venue of hundreds of Criminal Justice programs throughout the nation. Lear explained “through these competitions, we interact with students from other colleges that share in the same interests as us.”

Nikko, Firearms Coordinator, for the group is charged with practicing safe firearms handling, skillful shooting skills and protecting the integrity of the organization’s practices. He explained the value of this activity in his learning as “the experiences, friendships and applied learning that I’ve gotten from participating in events like Nationals have changed my life - you become part of a family that will support you and help you learn things that you wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Lear emphasized “I'll have these memories forever – it’s one of the best experiences in college.”

Dr. Maria Cuzzo, Program Coordinator of the Legal Studies and Criminal Justice Program, highlighted the value of co-curricular learning as part of your college experience by saying “CJSA is one of the premier organizations in our program and on the campus. These students work hard every week on building skills, community and service as future criminal justice professionals in our region ... we are very proud of their many achievements and wish them well at Nationals.”

Officers of CJSA include President Charlie Mahlen, Vice President Emily Learn, Firearms Coordinator Jacob Nikko and Secretary/Treasurer Ben Olson. The group is advised by Social Work faculty member Maureen Rappley-Larson.

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