Title: Alumni Success Story: Kristen Houtz
While completing the Criminal Justice Program at Brockport I was involved with the Criminal Justice Student Association, obtained student employment as both a member and supervisor with the University Police Student Patrol, completed an internship, and volunteered with The Badge of Honor Association; all of which helped diversify my experience at Brockport and open doors for opportunities. My classes and other involvements while at Brockport helped push me to pursue a career in criminal justice. I wanted to get into a career that I was passionate about.
I greatly value my education from the Brockport Criminal Justice program and the opportunities it helped establish. My professors were knowledgeable and engaging, had a wealth of experience, and provided a well-rounded classroom environment. They ensured we were exposed to other professionals in different areas of the field, and provided out-of-classroom opportunities so we had a comprehensive understanding of all the field had to offer before graduation. I was also able to develop a strong network with students, many of whom I remain connected with to this day. The program provided me with a solid academic foundation and ample opportunity to get out into the community, as well as networking opportunities.
Throughout the program, I gained an interest in the human service/rehabilitative side of the profession. I pursued my Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Brockport while gaining valuable work experience with various residential programs in the surrounding areas. I worked with agencies providing chemical dependency services, programming and treatment for youth who committed sexual offenses and/or exhibited sexually harmful behavior, and inpatient psychiatric services in the hospital setting; as well as outpatient substance use and mental health treatment. I now work for the NYS Office of Children & Family Services working with adjudicated youth and assist with facility management.
I have found the criminal justice field to provide a wide range of opportunities for rewarding careers, as well as professional growth. I have been able to have a variety of roles and responsibilities, work in different settings, and have worked with people with various types of criminal offenses and different levels of legal supervision and service needs. I have also found the field to be integrated with many other fields, and have frequent involvement with the medical, mental health/psychiatric, educational, and other social systems. I enjoy my career knowing I am helping individuals, working towards overall community safety, and know each day will always bring something different.