“EPPS really concentrates on the success of the student; it's a great opportunity to create your career path.”
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Degree: BA - Criminology
Graduated: May 2011
Current Academic Pursuit: MS - Criminology
UT Dallas Achievements & Activities
- Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society
- Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society
- EPPS Dean's Committee Member
- Transfer Student Services Volunteer
Deciding on Criminology
This is going to sound unrealistic, but I decided I wanted to go into law enforcement when I was 12, after watching the "X files." I wanted to be like Agent Scully. When I was in high school, I started taking courses in criminal justice and psychology and then became a member of the El Paso Police Department Explorers and Border Patrol Explorers, programs for youth who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Through these programs I learned how to use a firearm and was trained in basic procedures of crime scene investigations, traffic stops, hostage negotiations and more.
After high school graduation, I wanted to go to The University of Texas at Dallas because of its excellent criminal justice program, but I didn't have the resources to leave town. So I enrolled in the criminal justice program at The University of Texas at El Paso. When the resources became available, I transferred to UT Dallas.
I never imagined that UT Dallas was going to open doors for me to begin a career in my field. The internship with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security offered by UT Dallas was a perfect fit for me since one of its focuses is a broad variety of investigations.
My EPPS Success
EPPS was the best decision I have ever made. The quality of education and the experience that faculty have in their fields of teaching is admirable, and their knowledge is evident. EPPS is challenging and requires a great effort but, because of the academic challenge, students are prepared to go to the outside world and succeed. Because of these high academic standards, offices like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security seek out EPPS students and offer opportunities to start a career path in their field of study.
I like the professionalism with which students are treated at EPPS. I am not just a number, I'm a name. The advisers remember you, help you get the classes you need, and provide constant information on programs that will help you achieve more, like Fast Track. EPPS really concentrates on the success of the student. It's a great opportunity to create your career path.
Plans for the Future
I'm currently working for the Dallas office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. One of my responsibilities is to investigate suspicious activities by individuals connected to FEMA's distribution of financial aid following Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, I'm working towards my master's degree in criminology through the Fast Track program.
My career plans are to gain more knowledge about investigations and soon meet the requirements to become a criminal investigator for the Department of Homeland Security. After a few years, who knows, I might go into homicide with the FBI or I might just stay here at Homeland Security. But either way, I'll have achieved my dream of being a special agent like Agent Scully.
Advice to Prospective EPPS Students
To all students considering EPPS, go for it - you won't regret it. The opportunities offered by this program are wide and the quality of education offered is outstanding. Choosing EPPS has been the best decision I've made!
In my free time I like to watch "Criminal Minds." I also like to keep my social life active by going out with friends to get to know Dallas a little bit better, since I'm not from here. There are always events going on in Dallas. When I have extended free time, I like to go back home and visit family and friends.