Criminal Justice Gaining Experience

There are a number of ways that students can gain experience while also attending college.  Participating in internships, community service, and extracurricular activities broadens students' experiences, familiarizes them with the community and its needs, introduces them to the importance of networking, and allows them to strengthen their communication skills.



Students completing the criminal justice major are strongly urged to apply for an internship (CJ 428). The internship experience is unlike any usual college course. The primary "classroom" will be in the field at a professional agency. Unlike regular employment, however, students will be expected to consciously assess their experiences, receiving and providing frequent feedback and analysis of their internships.

Internships can help prepare students for future career and educational choices. Field experience offers students the opportunity to translate classroom theory, knowledge, and skills into contemporary criminal justice settings. Students will develop new understandings, ideas, contacts, and specialized skills in the field of criminal justice. Internships may also allow students to bring new perspectives into their remaining classes at Mount Mercy.

Only junior and senior students in good standing may be considered for internship placement. Enrollment in an internship must be approved by the Criminal Justice program.

Application Process:
Students interested in enrolling in a criminal justice internship must complete a brief application form. The application requests information about the type of internship the student is interested in, the semester the internship will be completed, and other background information. 

Past interns have worked in:

- Local police & sheriff's offices
- Iowa Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Enforcement
- U.S. Marshal office
- Anamosa Men's State Prison
- Iowa Medical & Classification Center at Oakdale
- 6th Judicial District Department of Corrections, residential, probation/parole
- Linn County Juvenile Detention Center
- State Public Defender's Office, criminal investigator, attorneys   



 Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Mount Mercy University is committed to Serving the Common Good.  One of our primary goals is to instill this value in graduates.  Not only does volunteer work and community service benefit the community and enrich students' lives, but it often provides an opportunity for criminal justice students to explore internship and career opportunities.  Volunteerism and community service are frequently valued criteria for hiring, too.

The Cedar Rapids area offers many opportunities for volunteering, especially related to corrections and work with youth.  To find possible placements, consult your academic advisor, the Career Services Director, of the Director of Service Learning. 


Criminal Justice Club

The Mount Mercy Criminal Justice Association serves as the student-run criminal justice club.  Recognized by the Student Government Association, the Association meets regularly and organizes activities of interest to students like field trips and guest speakers. 

 Alpha Phi Sigma (National Criminal Justice Honor Society)
Alpha Phi Sigma is the nationally recognized honor society for students in the field of criminal justice science. The society recognizes academic excellence by undergraduate and graduate students of criminal justice as well as students in the juris doctorate field. Students must have a declared major or minor in criminal justice; have completed three full time semesters or equivalent; must maintain at least a 3.0 overall GPA on a scale of  4.0 and a 3.2 GPA in their criminal justice courses. The student must also have completed a minimum of 4 courses within the criminal justice field.  A letter of good character from the criminal justice department faculty is also required.  Contact Chad Loes for more details.  



Each year the faculty in the criminal justice program select a student(s) to receive the Outstanding Criminal Justice Student Award at the May Honors Convocation. This award is presented to a graduating student who has excelled academically and contributed overall to the criminal justice program at Mount Mercy. In addition to recognition at this ceremony, the student's name is engraved and placed on the permanent plaque located between 223 and 224 Donnelly.