Political Science and Criminal Justice


Recognition of Criminal Justice Program

Congratulations to the Criminal Justice Program – named as one of the top 25 Criminal Justice Programs in the country by the National Degree Center.

Pi Sigma Alpha Best Chapter Award

Congratulations are also due to the Political Science Honor Society at Chico State, the Upsilon Delta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha. For the third year in a row, For the third year in a row, the chapter has been recognized one of the 16 best chapters in the country, out of over 600+ chapters. The chapter was also recognized on campus by Student Life and Leadership. In 2018-2019, PSA received the SOLE (Student Organizations and Leadership Education) Outstanding Organization Award, and in 2019-2020 won the program of the year award, as well as the Outstanding Student Organization Advisor award. 

Credit goes especially to Pi Sigma Alpha’s executive board - President Jen Kremer, VP Membership and Research Hayley Finetti , VP Operations/Finance Lexie Hubbard, and VP Finance  Kevin Guzman – and faculty mentor, Professor Adam Irish.

Last year was an active year for Upsilon Delta.  A sample of their many activities includes a Chico-Cairo group discussion of humanitarian intervention via Zoom, a luncheon visit from the US State Department’s Western Regional Director (and Chico State alum) Mr. Clayton Stanger, participation in Wildcat Vote, fundraising through t-shirt sales, political science reading groups, bringing in faculty speakers to chapter meetings, Friday writing team study hall meetings, contributions to the Constitution Day Speaker and Spring Speaker Series events, and participation by several members in the National Student Research Competition.

Pi Sigma Alpha Students meeting virtually with students at the American University, Cairo

Pi Sigma Alpha Students meeting virtually with students at the American University, Cairo

Pi Sigma Alpha students meet with alumnus Clayton Stanger

 Pi Sigma Alpha students meet with alumnus Clayton Stanger

Pi Sigma Alpha is grateful for the support of the College of BSS and the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, and extend special thanks to professors Diana Dwyre, Andrew Potter, and Alan Gibson for their continued guidance and support for Constitution Day and the Spring Speaker Series.

Criminal Justice Student Participation in Project Restore

The department also wants to recognize Criminal Justice students Angela Serrano (’19) and Luke LaPlant (’21) for their participation in Project Restore. Please see the story below by Lise Smith Peters:

Angela Serrano (’19 Criminal Justice) and Luke LaPlant (’21 Criminal Justice) have something in common though they don’t know each other.  Both are mentors to high school students through Project Restore.  Based in Red Bluff and Corning, Project Restore is an adolescent diversion program and relies on volunteer community members as mentors/advocates who provide one-on-one, individualized intervention for youths in trouble with the law. The program serves as community service and a needed lifeline to many youths in our north state community.

Both Chico State students found out about Project Restore through their Criminal Justice classes.  Drs. Sara Smith and Darin Haerle teach in the Political Science and Criminal Justice Department and have hosted Project Restore to come speak in their classes to help recruit internship mentors. 

Angela is from South El Monte in Los Angeles and Luke is a Chico native.  I had the pleasure of getting to hear about their work with their youth recently.  After completing a thorough background check and several weeks of intensive training, Project Restore matched Luke and Angela with high school students.  For 18 weeks, they both have driven to Corning to pick up their student so they can spend at least two hours with them weekly, getting to know them better, hanging out and offering them insight into life beyond whatever got them into trouble with the law.  This support-based strategy is designed to decrease delinquency while helping juveniles recognize their competencies.

In addition to just spending quality time with their Chico State mentor, these adolescents also work toward an accomplishable goal with their mentor.  Both want to get their drivers permit and get jobs so they can work toward buying a car.  Both Chico State mentors want to expose their students to the campus at Chico State as another positive route that could help take these young people further away from their troubled past.

One of the things Luke said he learned is that Project Restore has about 5% recidivism rate with youths back in the juvenile justice system and that 90% of the Project Restore clients will return to become mentors themselves.  Angela shared that what she learned probably most of all, “is that what you say or do has such a major impact” on these young people.

A little more on our Criminal Justice students:

  • Angela graduated in May 2019 and is in Rwanda for a two year appointment with the Peace Corps. She shared that when she found out that you had to have a car to travel to pick up the Project Restore student, she scrimped and saved through her job with Sutter Dining until she had the money for a car!  Her parents were impressed!
  • Luke, who is a sophomore, plans to continue with Project Restore after his 16 weeks with his student ends. He remarked “As long as I have time and live in Chico, I will continue to work with the program and help these young people.”

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at California State University, Chico.

With over 1,000 total majors, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: U.S. politics, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

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