College of Criminal Justice Awards 332 Degrees

Sam Houston State University graduated its largest class ever, including 332 criminal justice students.
Sam Houston State University graduated its largest class ever, including 332 criminal justice students.

Sam Houston State University – and the College of Criminal Justice – graduated its largest class to date on May 11, with five Ph.D., 32 Master and 295 Bachelor level students added to the criminal justice rolls.

One graduate is all smiles before the ceremony.
One graduate is all smiles before the ceremony.
Joining the ranks of Ph.D. graduates from the College were Hector M. Garcia, Joshua Hill, Robert M. Pullin, Kim Schnurbush and Ji Seun Sohn. The College also awarded two Masters of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology, 15 Masters of Science in Forensic Science, four Masters of Science in Security Studies, eight Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management Online and three Masters of Science in Criminal Justice Online. Among the bachelor degrees were criminal justice and victim studies graduates.

Dr. Garcia, who works at the Houston Police Department, did his dissertation on “The Effects of Assimilation on Hispanics and Their Opinion of Local Police.” His committee included chair Dr. Jihong (Solomon) Zhao, Dr. Dennis Longmire and Dr. Yan Zhang.

Four of the five new Ph.D. graduates are (l to r) Kim Schnurbush, Robert Pullin, Ji Seun Sohn and Hector Garcia.
Four of the five new Ph.D. graduates are (l to r) Kim Schnurbush, Robert Pullin, Ji Seun Sohn and Hector Garcia.
Dr. Hill’s dissertation was “Statistical and Machine Learning Techniques for Dealing with Missing Data in Criminal Justice: A Simulation and Comparison of Missing Data Methods.” His committee was chaired by Dr. Willard Oliver and included Dr. Scott Menard and Dr. Cortney Franklin. Dr. Hill is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Security Studies at Tiffin University in Ohio.

Dr. Pullin did his dissertation on “Social Environmental Influences on Citizen’s Perceptions of the Police.” His committee consisted of Dr. Dennis R. Longmire (chair) and Dr. Steven J. Cuvelier and Dr. Howard Henderson. Dr. Pullin works as an Assistant Professor of Border Security at Angelo State University in the Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice.

Dr. Schnurbush’s dissertation was on “Wrongful Convictions: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Police and Prosecutor Misconduct,” and her committee was chaired by Dr. Longmire and included members Dr. Cuvelier and Henderson. Dr. Schnurbush is currently teaching at Hodges University in Naples, Florida.

Finally, Dr. Sohn did her dissertation on “Predicting Houston Residents’ Perceptions of the Houston Police Department.” Her committee included Chair Dr. Phillip M. Lyons Jr., with members Dr. Menard and Dr. Zhao.

Adjunct Professor Cutty Gilbert helps prepare a student for graduation.
Adjunct Professor Cutty Gilbert helps prepare a student for graduation.
In the Spring of 2012, SHSU graduated more than 1,900 students and moved to four different ceremonies to keep up with growing number of graduates. One of this year’s Commencement speakers, SHSU Alumnus Ken Armbrister , has ties to the criminal justice field both as a former law enforcement officer and as a state senator and representative active in crime legislation.
Armbrister, who was named one of the “Top 10 Best Legislators, ” served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and more than 20 years in the Texas Senate before retiring from office after 38 years of public service. He also served as legislative director with Gov. Rick Perry’s office.

Tyler Eberhart, Student Government Association President and CJ Major, celebrates with Dr. Holly Miller.
Tyler Eberhart, Student Government Association President and CJ Major, celebrates with Dr. Holly Miller.

Before his legislative career began, the 1971 SHSU and FBI National Academy graduate was a Captain with the Victoria Police Department and Director of the Victoria Regional Police Training Academy. Armbrister is an Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni award recipient and was presented the College of Criminal Justice’s highest award, the Defensor Pacem, or Defender of Peace Award, in 2002 for his achievements in law enforcement and his legislative record on crime issues.

Member of The Texas State University System