National Organization of Hispanics in Criminal Justice

Wed, Nov 20, 2015
5:00pm - 8:00pm
Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom

Three Hispanic students give thumbs up.The College of Criminal Justice is debuting the first student chapter of the National Organization of Hispanics in Criminal Justice (NOHCJ) in the country.

“We are excited to welcome NOHCJ as the newest student organization to the College of Criminal Justice and Sam Houston family,” said Kalyn Cavazos, an Academic Advising Specialist. “The national organization and student executive board have been hard at work creating this exciting new opportunity for students!”

A young female Hispanic police officer.NOHCJ, a nationwide organization founded in 2003, is dedicated to promoting high professional standards for criminal justice agencies and criminal justice personnel through the interchange of information and training between professionals in law enforcement, the courts, corrections and interested citizens.

“We definitely are very excited about adding our first student chapter,” said NOHCJ President Ana Aguirre, a Bearkat. “For us, it is having a succession plan to make sure there are people coming in and moving up in the organization. We want to address issues, especially for Latinos and Hispanics, whether it is for line staff, in management or for the offender population.”

YoungThe group is affiliated with the American Correctional Association, but is anxious to expand its membership to all areas of the criminal justice field, including law enforcement, victim services and courts.

“I believe with the (Hispanic) population of students out there, there is a necessity to have this organization to reach these students in order to motivate and help these students use a system of networking and working experience advice from other members in the alumni status,” said Joel Garza, a senior who will head the student chapter.

Hispanic judge holding a gavel.Garza said the group will invite speakers involved in the criminal justice field who are of Hispanic descent to provide information about career opportunities as well as tips on getting a job in their chosen profession. The group also will sponsor trips to different types of facilities, such as prisons, courts, law schools and law enforcement agencies. Finally, the group will participate in community services projects as well as fundraising efforts.

“I believe this will help Hispanics in their professional careers in a way that they will learn the ropes of how to apply for different careers, how to dress for an interview, and how to professionally speak,” said Garza.“They will be able to connect with alumni of the same organization and use them as resources for outside jobs.”

Male Hipsanic counselor talks to a teenaged Hispanic girl.

Aguirre said networking will be invaluable for students. For example, the Acting Vice President, Raul S. Banasco, is the Jail Administrator for Bexar County; Treasurer Maria de Los A. Colon works in the immigration field in Florida; and Secretary Lupe Martinez retired from community corrections in New Mexico. The organization also provides scholarships for students.

The NOHCJ is the ninth student organization in the College of Criminal Justice. Among the other groups are:

  • Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honor Society
  • Lambda Alpha Epsilon, a branch of the American Criminal Justice Association
  • National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, which is dedicated to equal justice for African Americans
  • A group of hand, one piled upon the other.
  • Society of Forensic Science, which advances knowledge in the forensic science field
  • Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law organization

  • Crime Victim Services Alliance, a victim advocacy group,/li>
  • Graduate Student Organization, which provides social and academic opportunities for Master and Ph.D. students

  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, a multi-disciplinary group to fight financial crimes

For more information about student organizations, contact Kalyn Cavazos at or at (936) 984-1681.

Member of The Texas State University System