Prelaw Society hosts director of Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services

Students listen to Director Dion give a talk at the spring Prelaw Society event.
Students listen to Director Dion give a talk at the spring Prelaw Society event.

The Prelaw Society at Radford University hosted Shannon Dion, director of Virginia's Department of Criminal Justice Services, on April 19 in the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences.

Prior to joining the Department of Criminal Justice Services, Dion worked at the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, where she was the head of the Criminal Prosecutions and Enforcement Unit.  As an assistant attorney general for almost seven years, she prosecuted crimes in state and federal courts, represented several public safety agencies and implemented public safety initiatives.

During her talk, Dion and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Luke William Hunt discussed current criminal justice issues and opportunities for future lawyers.

“Director Dion has a very diverse and interesting background,” Hunt said. “The main thing I want students to get out of it is to keep their eyes open for unique opportunities. There isn’t one set path that everyone has to take. Look for open doors and take them when they come about because there’s always an interesting opportunity if you keep your eyes open.”

Dion’s talk brought Zach Turk ’17 back to campus. Turk, who was recently accepted into the University of Virginia’s School of Law, was an economics and political science double major at Radford. He also played on the men’s soccer team.

Radford University gave me a lot of opportunities, especially with leadership. The leadership that I gained and the experiences from Radford really helped distinguish me in the application process.

Zach Turk ’17

on acceptance into UVA’s School of Law

“I thought it was really insightful to hear from her different experiences working in the public sector, her path and the career she was able to make from going to law school,” he said.

Turk enjoyed hearing Dion’s take on current criminal justice issues and how future lawyers can learn from today’s events.

“It shows how a legal background can help you make policy formulations, think critically and address concerns. Issues that may come up today, tomorrow – or that we don’t foresee,” he said. “A law school education can help you critically think and assess the issues from multiple perspectives and figure out how to best deal with it, craft new policy or defend one side or the other.”

Taylor Jones, another student in attendance at the event, said that hearing Dion’s many perspectives was beneficial.

“Discussing those issues, especially with people who are informed about them and who are working them right now, gives us a more informed opinion than reading the news and seeing it on social media,” she said. “It gives us a real in-depth look at what we will be doing [in our careers].”

Apr 25, 2018
Max Esterhuizen