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Criminal justice students jet to NYC for conference, awards competition

Criminal justice students at New Mexico State University will compete for awards and scholarships while gaining valuable networking experience at the Alpha Phi Sigma National Honor Society's conference March 14-16 in New York City. The summit also marks the 70th anniversary of the APS.



Students from Alpha Chi Alpha, New Mexico State University's chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice national honor society, participate in the "Keep State Great" event sponsored by ASNMSU last semester. (Courtesy photo)

"We are all excited to go to NYC, and we're excited to participate in everything we can," said Alpha Chi Alpha Chapter President Javier Lujan. "We are going to meet a lot of prominent people with the Alpha Phi Sigma organization and those in the criminal justice field. Our network, which we've been working on all year long to make stronger, is going to grow immensely from this trip."

Alpha Phi Sigma is the national criminal justice honor society. It recognizes academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students of criminal justice, as well as juris doctorate students. Nineteen students from NMSU's chapter, Alpha Chi Alpha, will attend the event.

Students will compete individually or as a group in categories such as the student achievement award, a criminal justice knowledge scholarship test and the theme project award.

This year's theme project was anti-bullying, and the students recently created a $250 scholarship for a local high school student who has been affected by bullying.

"Some of the awards are for monetary value and the others are for bragging rights," Lujan said.

Seventy awards, scholarships and grants will be presented to commemorate the anniversary. Awards and scholarships are designed to help alleviate traveling costs to the conference.

"Also, it's recognition for the students," said Andrea Joseph, the faculty adviser for Alpha Chi Alpha and assistant professor of criminal justice in the College of Arts and Sciences. "They've done outstanding work."

Delivering the keynote address is Barney Brown. At 15, Brown was wrongfully imprisoned in an adult facility for 38 years before he was cleared by the Innocence Project, a national organization committed to exonerating the wrongfully accused through DNA testing. Brown will make two presentations during the conference about his experiences.

Students will also listen to a presentation by Public Safety Commissioner David Chong. Chong will speak about the post-9/11 environment.

The conference, held in conjunction with the Accredited Criminal Justice Science conference, will also provide students with an opportunity to view recent research submitted by professors and graduate students in the field.

"Students attending the conference are invited and encouraged to see what type of research has been done and to become familiar with the process of research approval." Lujan said.