St. Clairsville, OH (August 18, 2014) – Recently the Criminal Justice program at Belmont College received approval for the program curriculum to include an internship requirement. This requirement will assist in preparing students for the workforce and to assist those students wishing to further their education through pursuing a four-year degree in criminal justice. Professor Desiree Lyonette, Interim Chair of the Criminal Justice Department played a significant role in the process. “This is a valuable experience that will prepare students for employment in the Criminal Justice field, and is a true testament to the value a degree from Belmont College offers to members of the community,” she said.
Belmont College is now offering students the opportunity to engage in the Criminal Justice Seminar and Practicum experience over the summer for credit. Realizing that many students take a lighter course load in the summer, there is more time for students to dedicate their focus on the experience, without worrying about making it back to campus for additional classes.
Two students who chose to embrace the summer internship opportunity, will be graduating this fall, were placed through the Moundsville Police Department, in West Virginia and Harmony House in St. Clairsville, Ohio and Wheeling, West Virginia. While one student had the experience of working with officers, dispatch and the daily activities involved with police work, the other student worked with families and children as part of the forensic interview process.
Moundsville Police Chief, Thomas Mitchell, oversees his department that currently has 15 certified officers who serve and protect the citizenry of Moundsville, located within Marshall County, West Virginia.
Harmony House is identified as a Children’s Advocacy Center that provides for an interview process, which allows for the minimization of re-victimization of children who have been victims of abuse. Once the child has been interviewed by a forensic interview specialist, the recorded information may be shared with police, agencies and others who often require similar information.
According to Lyonette, “These placements are vital to building a strong network in our community to educate students, provide hands-on experiences and create opportunities for careers. The career choices are more than a chance to offer services to our friends and neighbors, they are a path to a career that will provide livable wages in positions that the students have an interest in. The mentoring process during the semester is something a student will carry with them, to supplement the education derived from attending class, reading their texts, and completing their assignments.”
Students who start their Criminal Justice Program track in the Fall of 2014, should be able to participate in the placement and practicum experience in their second year. Currently, there are several partnerships with agencies on both side of the river to allow Belmont College students the opportunity to excel. The first step is registering for classes, which commence on August 25th. Program completion can be achieved in 2 years, provided students enroll in a full schedule. Professor Lyonette is happy to meet with any potential Criminal Justice student to discuss their interests and assist with their educational endeavors.
Regarding her current students and recent graduates, Lyonette stated, “I am very proud of the hard work that the students put forth, and I look forward to hearing of their many successes as they pursue their education and careers.”
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