AdvisingMeet Marissa Aldana, a first generation college graduate who is paving the way for future students as an advisor at the College.
Aldana is an Academic Advisor for the College of Criminal Justice, steering undergraduate students throughout their college careers. She is a graduate of the criminal justice program and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Victim Services Management at Sam Houston State University (SHSU).
“My goal is to help students achieve their academic goals, whether it is helping them choose what classes to take or figuring out the career path they want to pursue,” said Aldana. “I am passionate about our students and hope to leave an impact on every person that sits at my desk.”
Aldana relates easily to students because she has walked in their shoes. She joined SHSU as a transfer student from Houston Community College, which helped her understand the community college experience and degree plans. She said she experienced a smooth transition to SHSU because she already had classes under her belt.
While attending SHSU, Aldana worked part-time as a student dispatcher with the University Police Department, which gave her a greater respect for law enforcement officers. She went through a certification process and learned to multi-task in communications with officers and in running plates and taking notes.
Aldana also said she received great insight into her future career choices from her professors, many who had backgrounds as law enforcement officers and victim advocates as well as in research in the field. She said her classes helped her to ask the questions to find her own unique career path.
In her senior year, Aldana participated in an internship with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the Texas Attorney General’s Office. She got to tag along during criminal investigations of Medicaid fraud against doctors, dentists, and ambulance services as well as allegations of elder abuse at nursing homes. She also reviewed financial records to look for inconsistencies that might indicate fraud.
Aldana always wanted to pursue a career where she can help people and, in the future, she hopes to work in victim advocacy. In the meantime, she is helping criminal justice students, one at a time, to achieve their goals.
“Sam Houston offers a lot of services, such as career counselors, academic advisors, and various tutorials,” said Aldana. “My main reason for becoming an advisor is because I wanted to get students on the right path for academics and their careers. In college, you get the chance to find out where you are in life and what your passions are.”