Emily Jaso: Balancing a Secret Service Internship With Online Classes
When Emily Jaso enrolled at Sam Houston State University as an undergraduate in 2008, she knew criminal justice was the field she wanted to study, but was unsure how she wanted to apply her degree professionally. With help from faculty at the College of Criminal Justice, Jaso decided to study white-collar crime and is currently pursuing her online Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice while gaining professional experience through a full-time job.
“The online program is a perfect fit for me. I have a rotating work schedule, and taking classes online is so much more flexible; I’m able to do my class work at my own pace and when I have time to do it, as opposed to coming to school four or five times a week,” she says. “I put my education first in order to have the career I want in the future.”
In addition to taking online courses, Jaso works as a corrections officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with the goal of becoming a federal agent upon receiving her online graduate degree. She was able to experience the profession firsthand, interning at the U.S. Secret Service in Houston during the Spring 2012 semester.
Jaso says her internship and undergraduate degree gave her a solid foundation in criminal justice, but the online M.S. in Criminal Justice degree has given her a broader understanding of the field.
“Getting a master’s degree is what you make it,” she says. “The more you involve yourself in the course with your classmates and the professor, the more you’ll get out of it. We do a lot of discussions with one another, and it’s a great way to learn about the professional experiences your classmates and the professor have within the field.”
The online degree is also serving as a personal milestone, as she is the only member of her family to pursue a graduate degree.
“Studying for a master’s degree was something that I set out to do for a long time, as the importance of education was instilled in me at an early age,” she says. “Having the opportunity to obtain my master’s degree is something that has been very rewarding to me.”
Jaso will graduate in the Spring 2014 semester.