Connections are key in student and alumni experience
Coming from a family of police officers, law and criminal justice have always been a part of Joe Roy’s life. And it looks like UW-Platteville is now too. Roy’s first introduction to UW-Platteville was in 2010 when he enrolled in the online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice program, and, as a current student in the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program, he will soon be an alumnus twice over.
Roy is a General Crimes Detective for the Wauwatosa (Wisconsin) Police Department, specializing in cybercrimes and forensic data. He is also an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran, and in 2009, he was named a VFW Police Officer of the Year. “I chose UW-Platteville because a lot of my co-workers are traditional grads from UW-Platteville and always spoke highly of the program. And when I saw the range of experience of the professors, it just floored me. You don’t find that in a lot of places.”
Roy completed his bachelor’s degree in December of 2014, qualifying for military honors. A month later, he was taking his first graduate-level course. Knowing he wanted to continue on, Roy had applied to the program before graduation and received a conditional acceptance. “A cop with a master’s degree in criminal justice, especially with the different emphases that Platteville offers—it just made sense.”
At that point, Roy joined the Distance Education Alumni Board—a chapter of UW-Platteville’s Alumni Association—and was eventually elected Vice President. His goal for the board is to increase the recruitment and retention of members, including both current and future alumni. “I also think part of our job is to produce more alumni and in order to do that, we need to get more students. So, I see it as kind of a dual role.”
Roy also emphasizes the importance of maintaining connections. “Especially with non-traditional students, you don’t have that luxury of being on campus, of meeting students and professors and advisors face-to face every day,” he said. “But through the Alumni Association and the Alumni Board, you get that and you get that peer-to-peer interaction. The connection that we offer through events and newsletters and introducing people—I think that’s incredibly important. The connections that we make and that we facilitate are invaluable resources in both personal and professional roles in life. The people you meet—it’s a common bond. And anytime you can find a common bond, good things happen.”
When Roy completes his master’s degree, it likely won’t be the last we see of him—whether it’s on the Alumni Board or in the future. “I’d love to work for UW-Platteville. I’d love to teach in the program, to take what I’ve learned and what I’ve been able to do in the field, and then hopefully help the next generation.”
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