CAREERS AND INTERNSHIPS
An undergraduate major in political science provides a good foundation for careers in politics, public administration, international service, law, business, journalism, and education as well as graduate work in the discipline. Political science has long been the traditional major of choice for students who plan to attend law school. While law schools do not require any particular undergraduate major, the study of politics, including courses that make use of legal materials and legal reasoning and that illumine the political context of court decisions, is arguably the most logical and appropriate area for those intending a career in law. Pre-law students should consult with faculty in the program on which particular courses in political science and in other programs would most suitably prepare them on matters having to do with applying to and success in law school. Students interested in political science for the purpose of becoming secondary school teachers should work with the Education Department to ensure that all requirements are met for licensure in Illinois.
Sociology and Criminal Justice
Sociology and Criminal Justice are popular majors or minors for students planning careers in such professions as law, law enforcement, social work, public health, urban planning, community relations, and public administration. Students also will find that numerous courses in criminal justice, management, marketing, business organization, labor relations, communication, journalism, recreation, and nursing draw upon the principles, research techniques and findings of sociology.
Employers frequently look for potential employees with specific skills that are acquired in sociology and criminal justice courses dealing with survey and research methods, statistics, criminal justice, marketing, and population research. With a number of these courses to their credit, students may well find themselves at a competitive advantage with other liberal arts graduates. The breadth of learning from a liberal arts education gives opportunities to develop interpersonal, analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills essential for success in today’s competitive job market. According to the Wall Street Journal, big employers are wooing social science and liberal arts graduates with growing fervor after years of favoring job applicants with technical degrees. Employers find that graduates of schools like Rockford University can look at a variety of problems and apply creative analysis to solving them.
A variety of career opportunities exist for our graduates in both the public and private sector. Our graduates have found employment in a variety of law enforcement/criminal and juvenile justice agencies at all levels and social service agencies. For students who go on to graduate school, professional positions in law, social work, higher education, research, and public policy and administration are available. In addition, undergraduate study in sociology or criminal justice is good preparation for careers in local, national, and international sales and marketing as well as law.
The political science program supports students seeking opportunities for off-campus experiences in regular semester or summer internships. In recent years, students have had internships in law offices, on political campaigns, and with the national government.
Sociology and Criminal Justice
The criminal justice and sociology degrees are designed to provide students with a wide range of opportunities including academic internships at local agencies or organizations within the Rockford community and beyond.
Students seeking a sociology degree may choose to complete one, 3-credit academic internship, although it is not part of their degree requirements. Department faculty and advisors assist students with locating appropriate internship placement opportunities. Internships provide students the opportunity to get a “real world” experience in their field of career interest.
Where are they now?
A number of our recent graduates in political science have gone on to law school and careers in law. Others have pursued careers in politics, business, lobbying, public administration, and criminal justice. Other graduates have gone on to do graduate work in political science and related disciplines in pursuit of careers in education and other fields. One alum is currently a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State.
Some of our recent graduates in sociology and criminal justice have gone on to do graduate work in sociology, social work, and law. Others have obtained positions in social service agencies, from child welfare to community mental health. Still others occupy positions of responsibility and leadership in criminal justice agencies. A number of probation officers and police officers in Rockford and neighboring communities are alumni of our program. In addition, another alumnus is a federal prosecutor, and many others have gone on to law school. One is even a U.S. marshal.
Helena Milman ’97, after working for two law firms in Chicago, completed her degree at John Marshall Law School.
George Black ’99 is a real estate broker and consultant in the Chicago area.
Tara Der-Yeghiayan ’00 received an M.A. in English language and literature from Western Illinois University, and teaches literature, rhetoric, and American culture at Seattle University.
Kimberly Kosteff ’00 earned a master’s degree at the Monterey Institute of Inter-national Studies and works for a Defense Department contractor.
Aaron Oppenheimer ’00 following his graduation, became Village Manager of Decatur, Mich.
John Gibbons ’01 earned a law degree at Northern Illinois University and is Assistant States Attorney for Winnebago County, Ill.
Jeri Anne Hose Ryan ’02 received a master’s degree from Illinois State University and works for a conservative public interest lobbying organization in Chicago.
Joel Collinsworth ’04 is a substitute teacher in Rockford and runs a computer repair company.
Frank Dyke ’04 is senior account representative for a business equipment company in Rockford.
Matthew Phillips ’04 is AVP of Operations and Global Affairs at Rockford University.
Abide Takou ’04 completed a course of graduate study at Georgetown University, worked for a development consulting firm in Washington DC, and is currently employed at the World Bank.
Rose Dusing ’05 is a Winnebago County probation officer.
Jason Leviskas ’05 pursued a master’s degree in public administration at Roosevelt University.