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Spotlight on Graduates
 
The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is proud to have produced fine graduates who have created their mark in the community over the years.

A Few of the many noteworthy achievers are listed below whose educational background and professional experience is worth appreciating.



Judge Pamela Baschab
  Q: Which degree(s) did you receive from our department and when?
A: I received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration (1974)

Q: Have you completed any additional degree(s)?
A: Yes, I have Juris Doctor from St. Mary's University School of Law, San Antonio, TX (1982)

Q: Can you think of one class you took in our department that you really enjoyed and tell us about it?
A: Numerous classes with Dr. Barrow, who chaired the department then. Also my internship experience under Dr. Willis is a memorable one.

Q: How did your degree from our department prepare you for the work you are doing now?

A: I am a Judge on Court of Criminal Appeals. My Basic introduction to the legal and criminal justice system came from my degree in Criminal Justice.

Q: What is your current position and what major responsibilities do you have?
A: State wide elected Appellate Judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
review Cases and write opinions and memos

Q: What's one piece of advice would you give students who think they would like to enter your profession?
A: Learn to appreciate our history and politics
Learn to write good grammar and composition
Learn to negotiate and debate
Learn how and why the system really works



Samuel L. Cochran
  Q: Which degree(s) did you receive from our department and when?
A: I received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice (1981)

Q: Have you completed any additional degree(s)?
A: MPA (1992)

Q: Can you think of one class you took in our department that you really enjoyed and tell us about it?
A: In Criminal Justice, a class called "Evidence", taught by Bob Campbell who was an adjunct professor. This was a difficult course but I learned a lot of information. One particular part stuck with me, that was learning the "rules of evidence" and the

exceptions to the hearsay rule. Mr. Campbell pointed out that not only were these courtroom rules, but would help throughout life in determining the accuracy and reliability of information. I took that advice to heart and still utilize the rules in evaluating circumstances in life and work

Q: How did your degree from our department prepare you for the work you are doing now?
A: The education that I obtained prepared me immensely for the positions I have had throughout my career with the Mobile Police Department. My undergraduate degree helped me with my position as an officer and detective, and my Masters in Public Administration helped very much as I entered the ranks of management.

Q: What is your current position and what major responsibilities do you have?
A: My current position is Chief of Police for the City of Mobile. I am responsible for the overall administration of the Mobile Police Department. We have approximately 800 full and part-time employee's. In addition to overseeing the department, I am involved in several non-profit organizations within the community.

Q: What's one piece of advice you would give students who think they would like to enter your profession?
A: I would advise students entering my profession, to complete their degree prior to gaining full time employment. Then realize that work experience, combined with their education will become a multiplier for effectiveness in their career.



Eric T. Day
  Q: Which degree(s) did you receive from our department and when?
A: I received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration(1977)

Q: Have you completed any additional degree(s)?
A: I have a Master of Education/Counseling from the University of South Alabama (1979)

Q: Can you think of one class you took in our department that you really enjoyed and tell us about it?
A: If memory serves me correctly, there was a class taught by Dr. Robert V. Barrow, Law Enforcement and the Community, or Police and the Community. This class allowed a team of students to go into a criminal

justice agency and discover what that agency did, and its impact on the criminal justice system and the community. The agencies we looked at were the ones involved with Work Release Programs. As a result of this, I became interested in this area and was eventually hired as the Director of the Mobile County Sheriff's Release Program.

Q: How did your degree from our department prepare you for the work you are doing now?
A: The Criminal Justice program at South was ahead of it time, which I attribute to the superb leadership of Dr. Barrow and the outstanding reputation he had with the criminal justice community outside the university. His reputation allowed him to attract top notch instructors from the courts, law enforcement and the legal community which worked to our advantage. I was given a good perspective of the real world by these experienced instructors who shared with me the expectations of an employer and the demands of my chosen profession. Additionally, the internship program gave me an opportunity to put into practice and see in action that which I had studied in the classroom. The program also improved my skills and abilities in my chosen profession, thereby making me more attractive to potential employers.

Q: What is your current position and what major responsibilities do you have?
A: In May 1988, I was hired as the Law Enforcement/Victim Witness Coordinator for the Department of Justice, United States Attorneys Office-Southern District of Alabama. In this position I am responsible for coordinating with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to put together a comprehensive law enforcement strategy for the district, and enhance the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System by improving cooperation, communication and coordination among law enforcement agencies.

Q: What's one piece of advice would you give students who think they would like to enter your profession?
A: The race is not given to the swift, nor victory to the strong, but ultimately to the one who endures to the end. Do Not Give Up!



John M. Tyson, Jr.
  Q: Which degree(s) did you receive from our department and when?
A: I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in June 1974

Q: Have you completed any additional degree(s)?
A: Yes, I have Juris Doctor from The University of Alabama

Q: Can you think of one class you took in our department that you really enjoyed and tell us about it?
A: Without question, my most memorable class was Dr. Horton's History of Political Thought. He introduced me to the great thinkers of western civilization and on many occasions the class has pointed me in right directions.


Q: How did your degree from our department prepare you for the work you are doing now?
A: I can't imagine how I would begin thinking about either my career or a public service career without having first established a firm foundation in the Political Science Department. Many lawyers and law enforcement officers do not have that benefit. I think it helps to know why our constitution and laws are the way they are.

Q: What is your current position and what major responsibilities do you have?
A: My current position is District Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Alabama (Mobile County) where I have served since 1994. The District Attorney represents the peace and dignity of the State of Alabama.

Q: What's one piece of advice you would give students who think they would like to enter your profession?
A: Learn to think. Most people don't. You have an advantage if you learn how to think. Add to that idea, an ability to communicate both orally and in writing and you will be well on the way.



Yolanda Lewis
 

Q: Which degree(s) did you receive from our department and when?
A: I received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration (May 2000)

Q: Have you completed any additional degree(s)?
A: MPA (May 2002)

Q: Can you think of one class you took in our department that you really enjoyed, and tell us about it?
A: In graduate school, I genuinely enjoyed

Intergovernmental Relations. The class was very challenging, but it definitely painted a clear picture of the many dynamics involved in effective and ineffective government institutions. The instructor and my classmates were great which made the experience very worthwhile.

Q: How did your degree from our department prepare you for the work you are doing now?
A: My degrees are directly related to my current employment in that it involves collaboration with various stakeholders in the criminal justice system. In addition, my position involves strategic planning which encompasses much of the course work in the Public Administration program.

Q: What is your current position and what major responsibilities do you have?
A: I am currently employed as a Planner for the office of the Governor's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. I work with the Division of Strategic Planning and Evaluation, where I collect and analyze data to determine the effectiveness of criminal justice programming. Other duties include applying for and receiving federal grant funds for the victims service program, as well as, establishing collaborative partnerships with the judicial and political communities.

Q: What's one piece of advice you would give students who think they would like to enter your profession?
A: Use the opportunity you have in the program to capitalize on obtaining skills that will make your transition into the job market one of ease. Use your resources (professors) wisely and choose classes that you are genuinely interested in, rather than rushing to graduate. Although the work seems cumbersome, putting your best foot forward early is worth your success in the future.



James M. Alexander
 

Q: Which degree(s) did you receive from our department and when?
A: I received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (May 1993)

Q: Have you completed any additional degree(s)?
A: Yes, I also have a degree in History.

Q: Can you think of one class you took in our department that you really enjoyed and tell us about it?
A: Dr. Sam Fisher's class about Alabama Politics. I traveled to Montgomery and was allowed to use the state's computer to attempt to redistrict the state.

Q: How did your degree from our department prepare you for the work you are doing now?
A: I learned how to take information, analyze it, and draw an independent conclusion. I also learned how to begin and complete a project.


Q: What is your current position and what major responsibilities do you have?
A: Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager, BankTrust. Responsibilities include underwriting loan requests for consumer, business, and real estate loans; managing staff; selling investment products; assisting customers with problems; developing new business.

Q: What's one piece of advice would you give students who think they would like to enter your profession?
A: Find a job in banking before you graduate, display a positive attitude, and don't think that you are too good to do any particular task. Remember: many bank presidents began their careers as tellers or mailroom personnel.

 
 
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