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Alexa Becker, Master of Arts in Global Affairs: International Crime and Justice, 2020

by Monica Smith

Nov 29, 2022, 11:00 AM.

A South Florida police officer gains knowledge, skills and abilities to help advance her career in law enforcement.
Alexa Becker
Alexa Becker

For Alexa Becker, going back to school meant finding something that would enhance her skills, but not interrupt her career. With seven years as a police officer, Becker found the best fit was the 100% online Master of Arts in Global Affairs: International Crime and Justice program. She wanted to learn more about global crime and gain an international perspective. Like many who pursue the ICJ program, Becker will use this program as a stepping stone toward career advancement.

In the following interview, Becker, shares her thoughts on her program, what stood out and how the program provided her with immediately applicable skills.

When did you graduate?

I graduated from the Master of Arts Global Affairs: International Crime and Justice degree program in May 2020.

What is your current job title and what do you do?

I am a police officer. I have been with my department for eight years. Throughout my time, I have gained experience in different areas and joined various units. As a field training officer, I am responsible for training new officers on how to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a police office in the field. By being part of the crisis management team, I am trained to be a negotiator, specifically in hostage, barricaded subjects and/or crisis situations. I am also a crime scene-certified officer, which allows me to investigate crime scenes and preserve evidence through photographs, DNA, and lifting fingerprints. Additionally, I am privy to traffic enforcement. Leading the department in driving under the influence arrests in 2021, I believe traffic enforcement is an integral part of being a police officer.  As a police officer, it is my job to enforce the law, protect the community and respond to emergency situations.

Why did you decide to study global affairs/international crime and justice and what made you choose FIU’s program?

I chose to study global affairs/international crime and justice because it is a specialized program within the criminal justice field. While observing the curriculum offered by FIU, I noticed there were a variety of classes that would expand my knowledge of policy/crime analysis, national security, and crime on a transnational level. Since my career is in law enforcement, I knew this program would not only benefit the domestic side of crime, but also provide me with an international perspective. Another factor that led to choosing this program is that it can be completed entirely online.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was the Research Tools for Global Studies with Professor Amy Hyman Gregory. The class focuses on research methodologies and research design. Within the class, you learn how to collect and analyze data, and, ultimately, create your own research project. This was my favorite class because Professor Amy Hyman Gregory was extremely thorough in her teaching methods and was attentive to making sure her students truly understood the material. Since it is an online class, it can be easy for the professors to distance themselves from the students; however, in this class, the professor made sure to not only engage with her students, but also make sure we were interacting and learning from each other. 

What immediately applicable skills did you learn?

The skills that I learned that were immediately applicable to my profession were analyzing data, writing skills, and research methods. The program provides a platform for reading, writing, and analyzing material/data, which is useful no matter what profession you obtain. 

How does your degree help you in your work?

My degree helps me in my work because it allows me to not only expand on analysis, research, and writing, but also provides insight on how domestic level crime grows into international crime. Also, crime analysis is a prevalent part of my profession. Even though we may not be studying crime on a global level, this degree showed me how to organize crime data, create mappings, and then analyze the findings for my department. 

What is something you learned that you didn’t expect?

The most surprising thing that I learned that I did not expect was how quick crime methods and types of crime change. Especially with technology improving, crime is expanding at a rapid rate and continues to grow, globally. It is difficult to adapt to these constant changes, making it a challenge to implement effective plans and policy to counteract crime. 

Would you recommend the program to other students?

Yes. I would recommend this program to other students; however, it is important for students to be prepared to work diligently and expect to devote themselves as much as possible to the curriculum. Since it is an online program, it is necessary for students to be self-motivated, organized, and able to manage their time properly.

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