400 Attend Criminal Justice Career Fair

SHSU Seniors David Miniel (center) and Sebastian Mata (r) chat with the Texas Department of Public Safety during the CJ Career Fair.
SHSU Seniors David Miniel (center) and Sebastian Mata (r) chat with the Texas Department of Public Safety during the Criminal Justice Career Fair.

Senior David Miniel wants to work for the Texas Department of Public Safety or U.S. Marshals Service. Criminal Justice Major Sebastian Mata is pursuing a career with the Houston Police Department or other local law enforcement agencies. Recent graduate Kendra Murphy is seeking a job in social work or counseling while she gets her master’s degree.

All three got to meet with these agencies and more at the Third Annual Criminal Justice Job Fair on March 2, sponsored by Sam Houston State University Career Services. Nearly 400 students, graduates and alumni perused 41 agencies offering jobs or internship including police departments; federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies; private companies; social services agencies; or forensic labs, at the annual event.

"The Career Fair provides a controlled environment where people come and give you information about jobs," said Miniel, a Criminal Justice major. "When you’re getting ready to graduate, it’s really helpful. You don’t have to go out and find all these places. It’s a great opportunity for everybody."

Sam Houston has a great reputation in the criminal justice field, and many agencies come to the career fair to recruit its graduates.

"We believe Sam Houston is one of the best criminal justice colleges in the area," said Franceska Perot, a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Houston. "We have one of your criminal justice interns, at least one every semester, and they work out really well. We have a lot of agents that are alumni."

The Drug Enforcement Administration concurs. Anita Garrett from the DEA’s Houston Office said this is the number one college that the agency recruits from in the area.

"For Sam Houston, because it is criminal justice and the number one criminal justice program in the nation, it is very important that we recruit," said Garrett. "We've been doing it for years, and we get so many well qualified applicants for agents and our support staff as well as our internship program."

Both current and former students from the College of Criminal Justice were invited to attend the 2011 Career Fair. Among the agencies in attendance were the Federal Bureau of Investigations, city and local police departments, the DPS and Harris County Crime Labs, U.S. District Court Pre-Trial Services, Angelina County Probation, the Montgomery County Women’s Center, Target, Macy’s, and the U.S. Marine Corps, to name a few.

In addition to handing out resumes, participants got to talk with recruiters from the diverse fields.

"I would like to work at a local police department," said Sean McCreary, a senior at SHSU. "I’m from Houston, so I’d like to work there, but there are so many other agencies here, so I may be willing to venture out. I have dropped off four to five resumes and it's really nice having that feeling of having a chance to get in the door."

Murphy, who graduated in December, said she had a lot to pick from.

"Right now, I really have my options open, but I really want to get into social work or the counseling field," said Murphy, who graduated in December. "In August I am going back for my master’s to be a license professional counselor."

For employers, it is all about finding quality applicants that brings them back to SHSU year after year.

"We drove almost eight hours to get here because we know this is a central hub for CJ majors," said Officer Dylan Hale of the Midland Police Department. "We’re hiring, and we want well qualified candidates."

Member of The Texas State University System