SUNY Canton Criminal Justice Students Win Regional Honors
While most criminal investigation and criminal justice students collect evidence, eight SUNY Canton students recently collected trophies.
The students, members of the Beta Psi Delta club, the chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association – Lambda Alpha Epsilon at SUNY Canton, competed in the Association’s Region 4 Conference October 21-23 at West Virginia State University. After two days of written exams and rigorous competition, the students walked away with 12 wins, picking up more than half of the academic trophies awarded.
One of the most notable accomplishments was the trophy Elizabeth S. Ayers came away with. She was the top overall individual competitor and earned “Top Knowledge” honors, earning a first place finish in the juvenile Justice competition, second in corrections and third in police management.
The students competed in seven categories at the conference with several students earning top-three finishes, including T.J. Stafford, who also earned first place in corrections. The University of Connecticut, University of Pittsburgh, University of New Haven, West Virginia State University, James Madison University and Radford University were among the dozen schools in attendance.
“We spend so much of our time studying and preparing for these tests, so it was exciting to do so well,” said Andrew C. Wood, president of the club. “We are really lucky to have the experienced faculty and professors that we do. Because of the hands-on work they have us do in the classroom and the experience in the field we’re required to complete, we already have a leg up in terms of preparation.”
“The conference is a great opportunity for our students to network and engage with other students, faculty and professionals from across the region,” said Brian K. Harte, assistant professor of criminal justice and the club’s advisor. “It builds upon the notion that in this field, it’s often about camaraderie and being able to work together as a unit.”
One of the additional benefits of attending the regional conference was the Criminal Justice Job Fair, held before competition began. “It’s beneficial for our seniors looking for employment, but also for juniors who are getting a head start on looking for internships,” Wood said, who noted that the FBI, DEA and State Police were among the many organizations represented.
After their success at the regional event, the students are eager to find a way to attend the Association’s national conference, slated for March 20-25, 2011 in Memphis, Tenn. Their attendance will depend on raising funds for the club to travel and compete there.
“We’re seeking support from anyone willing to help us get to Memphis,” Wood said. “We are in the process of speaking with local businesses who are interested in helping us and we will be doing a number of fundraisers on campus throughout the next few months.”
The Student Cooperative Alliance on campus has financially assisted the club over the last few years to help them get to Regionals. “We’re so grateful to them for their consistent support,” Wood said. “We told them we would need a big box to bring back all the trophies from Regionals, and we filled that box. I know if we go to Memphis, we’d fill an even bigger box. We want the chance to prove we’re more than ready to compete at the national level.”
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