Criminal Justice Convocation provides opportunities for students


Katherine Irwin, keynote speaker and professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii, speaks about her father’s time in the prison system.

Daisy Aguilar

Sacramento State hosted the second annual Criminal Justice Convocation in the University Union ballroom, Tuesday afternoon.

More than 200 hundred criminal justice students attended, ready to hear about contemporary justice issues and opportunities in the field.

“The reason we put this convocation together for you (students) is because we know that you’re going to be called on to do more than just show up, “ said Mary Maguire, chair of the division of criminal justice.

The purpose of the convocation was to broaden students’ perspective and show their educational experience to the key leaders in the field.

Many students said they attended to learn more about career opportunities in hopes of deciding what path they may take, because they entered the program only having a general idea of what they want to do.

Criminal justice major Xiong Vang, 21, said this is her second year attending the convocation.

“It’s a great motivation for students,” Vang said. “It gives you a nice sense of what you plan to do in the future.”

Vang said she plans on going to law school and later become a probation officer.

Criminal justice major Anthony Moreno, 21, said the event is a way to allow students to have more of an insight on social issues and how the country deals with crime.

Moreno also said it helps influence students on career decisions.

“This is a way to show how many opportunities and careers there are to excel in the criminal justice field,” Moreno said.

Moreno said his plans after graduation are to become a California Highway Patrol officer and eventually to work for the FBI.

The convocation invited keynote speaker Katherine Irwin, professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii.

Irwin’s theme was the future of criminal justice, and focused on the abuses in the prison system and how convicts are treated behind bars.

The convocation also included a panel discussion with leaders in the Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento County Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Two of the leaders in the panel are Sac State alumni.

“The convocation is done for students to allow the blending of scholarship and practice,” said Maryln Jones, professor of criminal justice. “This is an opportunity for students to listen to others in the field and it also showcases leaders who were made at Sac State.”

The convocation ended with a reception and student poster session, where students presented research in the criminal justice field.

“We (faculty) know you (students) have that power, so we spend time bringing leaders to campus so you can hear more about what their perspectives and understand where they’re coming from,” Maguire said. “And because we know you’ll be called on to do something different, we have invited someone who has already done that.”