Thinking about studying Criminal Justice? Find out what Dallas Community Colleges students are saying about the program.
Why did you choose to study Criminal Justice?
Veronica Alejandro: “I’ve always had a passion for law enforcement. I like the aspect of helping people. I grew up in the projects of El Paso, so I know something about gangs and violence and I want to help people get out of that vicious cycle. I want to help people make changes and be different.”
Viridiana Almanza: “Ever since I was nine, I wanted to be involved with the law. I’d heard good things about the Criminal Justice program at Mountain View and about Bill Drake as one of the best instructors. I took two classes and liked the way they were taught. I think he’s one of the best and I like the way that everything just makes sense in his class. In fact, I just love him!”
Bobby Carter: “When I was younger, although I took some college courses, I never could decide on a specialty to earn my degree. Once my life unfolded and took the direction of law enforcement, it made the decision easier.”
Dale O. Taylor: “I’ll always be a minister; that’s my life’s calling. But I’m able to use my criminal justice courses in my ministry right now — what I’ve learned about law and the justice system have been a great benefit to me. I may also use my courses as a springboard to study law in the future. For the last 30 years I’ve said I was going to go back to school and my wife said it was finally time to make good on that.”
What do you like about the Criminal Justice program at DCCCD?
Veronica Alejandro: “My criminology classes at Brookhaven have all been good and I like the life experience my professors bring to the classroom.”
Viridiana Almanza: “My experience in Mountain View’s program has been great. We just started the Criminal Justice Club and I’m the vice president. We’re going to focus on helping each other, tutoring, looking for jobs and visiting universities with transfer programs.”
Bobby Carter: “I’ve had a fantastic experience in the Criminal Justice program at Cedar Valley; SaRita Stewart is an outstanding teacher. Even though I already had a related job, things here are in depth; the theories and terminology has helped me simplify some things on the job.”
Dale O. Taylor: “My experience at Brookhaven has been great. The difference in college now and 30 years ago is amazing — when I graduated from college, we didn’t have laptops or cell phones. Believe it or not, one of my most enlightening classes has been Humanities. It taught me a whole new way to look at things from a different angle, to examine things more closely and realize that there’s more than one way to perceive something. And all my Criminal Justice professors have had experience in the real world.”
What inspired you to go to college?
Veronica Alejandro: “I sat down one day to talk to my two children about how I wanted them to go to college and they asked me if I went to college. There are 100 reasons why I didn’t go and economics was the main one. But the next day, I went to Brookhaven and registered for classes. And then I came back to my kids and said, ‘I’m doing this for you guys and for myself too. I want to show you that no matter how hard it is, going to college is possible.'”
Viridiana Almanza: “I work more than 50 hours a week in a candy factory, but school motivates me because I love it – and I don’t ever miss a class. After I finish at Mountain View, I want to transfer to Sam Houston State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. I dream of becoming an FBI agent or U.S. marshal. I want to handle federal cases and hunt down drug dealers.
“Sure, it’s hard to work full time and go to school full-time too. But who said that life was going to be easy? My friends at work sometimes ask me how I do it; I’m not rich and to be honest it’s hard to earn a living and go to school. But I’ve been working since I was 15 and I bought my first car by myself at 16.
“I have a poster on my wall that I see every morning, about how much earning power every degree gives you, starting with a high school diploma at about $17,000. I don’t want to be working for minimum wage the rest of my life. When people ask me why I go to school, I tell them it’s because I want a better life.”
Bobby Carter: “I went into law enforcement relatively late in life and realistically I don’t want to be patrolling the streets 10 to 15 years from now. I want to continue my education and teach some day, maybe even at Cedar Valley.
“Basically, nothing is impossible. I left North Carolina with everything I owned in the trunk of my car to join the Air Force. I began a new career after leaving the military and then was laid off for the first time in my life, but I got back on my feet. I spent nearly the whole year of 2004 in Baylor Hospital with late-stage bone marrow cancer, but here I am. Really, nothing is impossible.”
Dale O. Taylor: “To my way of thinking, life is meant to be progressive. When it stops being progressive, you get stagnant. Whatever your age, you should never stop growing, learning and expanding your knowledge — it helps you stay sharp and interesting. It also helps you look at life with a large degree of balance and not just from one perspective. Whatever you’re interested in, become the best at what you can be.”