Criminal justice students get a practical look at law enforcement in the nation’s capital

Radford University criminal justice students traveled to Washington, D.C. for a unique Maymester seminar experience that put them in touch with professionals in their field.

The seminar, Criminal Justice 490 - Criminal Justice Theory and Research in Practice, extended students’ education with practical interactions with law enforcement.

Professor Nicole Hendrix said the goal of the seminar course was to examine the operation of criminal justice agencies in an urban environment. Students also got the chance to understand the challenges of coordinating numerous federal and district level jurisdictions, a unique issue in the nation’s capital.

A mix of juniors, seniors and graduate students spent their time visiting headquarters of law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, Washington Metro police department, United States Attorney’s Office and the George Washington University Police Department.

Photo of Babbit and Winkler at DOD

Criminal justice students Zack Babbitt and Alexa Winkler (at right) participate in a role playing exercise with a Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency staff member.

“This course connects our classrooms with the professional field in a way that makes connections for our students and broadens their understanding of the role of criminal justice in our society,” Hendrix said.

Alexa Winkler, a senior criminal justice major from Midlothian, Virginia, was part of the group who took the trip to D.C.

"The experience was unlike anything I have been a part of before," Winkler said. "We got an inside look at multiple different agencies and heard about what it is like to work in those agencies. It was awesome to get an up close look at potential jobs that we could have someday."

The 2014 Maymester took place May 19 through June 7. Maymester is an abbreviated summer session that allows students to augment their education and catch up or get ahead on credit requirements.

The RU Department of Criminal Justice, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, offers an interdisciplinary and professionally oriented academic curriculum concentrating on many aspects of crime and the concepts that impact the system of justice. The program seeks to develop a broad foundation of knowledge pertaining to crime and its ancillary issues.

According to the students, they have have been successful.  

"I think that the Criminal Justice Department made a great choice by starting up a class such as this," Winkler said. "It really opened my eyes to what the real world looks like and what is in store for us."

Jun 10, 2014