What Can You Do With A Criminal Justice Degree? | UCO Alumni

UC Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Graduate goes on to be successful as a Loss Prevention Site Lead at Amazon

UC Online recently caught up with Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Graduate, Sam Surber, about her experience at the University of Cincinnati. After deciding that she wanted to pursue a criminal justice degree, Sam began shopping around for highly ranked programs before deciding on UC’s top-ranked criminal justice program. Sam was impressed with the personal and professional opportunities that UC had to offer, and she has since gone on to kick off her successful career as a Loss Prevention Site Lead at Amazon.

Q: What motivated you to seek your bachelor’s in criminal justice?

I sought a degree in criminal justice because my initial goal was to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Q: Why did you select UC and were you happy with your choice?

I transferred to UC my sophomore year. My major was not initially criminal justice, and when I went to change my major at my previous university, I found out that the criminal justice program was in a reconstruction period and not as developed as I had hoped. I began looking into other universities and found UC’s top-ranked criminal justice program. I immediately applied and I am so happy with my decision. I credit UC for so much of my personal and professional development – network contacts, internships, study abroad, entry-level positions that helped to develop my career, and professors that invested in my development and have continued to act as mentor even years after graduation.

Q: For someone who may have never taken an online course before, how would you describe the experience?

Online courses require a self-driven attitude and a lot of time management skills. Courses are self-paced, so it is important to stay on top of the course load instead of allowing the materials to build up week-after-week and cramming at the end of the semester. If you can prioritize and hold yourself accountable, you can absolutely be successful in an online course, even if in-person is your preferred instruction method. With online courses, you get out what you put in!

Q: What were your expectations of the program, and do you feel like they were met?

Honestly, I had an expectation of minimal engagement from instructors going into my online courses – but I was wrong! When I registered for introduction to Security and Loss Prevention, I was thrilled to take a course that aligned the Security Specialist role I was working in at the time. I reached out to the professor, Karl Langhorst, early in the semester to connect with him and express my interest in careers with loss prevention Karl instantly became a mentor to me, connected me to many contacts within the industry, and has continued to stay in touch with me for years. If you are an engaged student in the virtual environment, it can be just as impactful as an in-person course. The Security and Loss Prevention online course and Professor Karl Langhorst are what inspired me to shift my career goals to focus on loss prevention as a long-term option rather than just a steppingstone to law enforcement.

Q: What has your career path been since graduation?

I began working in assets protection at Target during my sophomore year at UC, where I began as a part-time Security Specialist, and later got promoted to a full-time Assets Protection Team Leader. I worked with Target for the remainder of my undergraduate career. Following graduation in 2022, I accepted an opportunity to join Amazon as a Loss Prevention Specialist. In May 2022, I was promoted to Loss Prevention Site Lead and relocated from Cincinnati to Columbus, Ohio. My team’s role is to protect people, product, and data at the Amazon fulfillment center and some of my responsibilities include conducting investigations for workplace violence claims, investigating theft/fraud claims, performing critical incident management, growing, and developing my team, and overseeing the physical security of the fulfillment center.

One of my favorite parts about working in loss prevention is being able to serve on the Global Leadership Board for an Amazon affinity group, Amazon Women in Security (AWIS). Our mission is to uplift, protect, and inspire women and our allies in the security industry within Amazon. This has allowed me the opportunity to connect with other loss prevention leaders from across the globe, travel, and make an impact by being an advocate for women in the security industry.

Another exciting part about my role is the opportunity to contribute to others’ development. This summer I was an intern mentor for an undergraduate student participating in a loss prevention internship. I mentored the student through their internship project that they then presented at the conclusion of their internship and offered guidance and feedback throughout their experience. I love helping students with career opportunities that exist in the criminal justice field and discover how much the loss prevention industry has to offer. What makes it even more exciting is that I am piloting the project this intern proposed at my own site to see how their ideas can translate into tangible results and positively impact the company.

Q: Do you believe your time at UC helped you achieve success in your career?

Absolutely! UC introduced me to a sector of criminal justice that I did not know existed on such a large scale. UC offered a unique introductory course that led me to expand my idea of what a career in criminal justice looked like and gave me the resources I needed to be successful in my chosen field. The Criminal Justice Career Expo hosted by the UC Criminal Justice Society connected me to many loss prevention employers and expanded my professional network. Loss prevention allowed me to incorporate aspects of my criminal justice interest, while also providing the upbeat, fast-paced, ever-changing environment of retail/e-commerce. This all started with one UC online course!

Learn More about UC’s online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Program and apply today.

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