Expanding knowledge through work and education

November 21, 2016
Master of Science in Criminal Justice graduate Jordan Zarka


After earning her bachelor’s degree, Jordan Zarka wanted a master’s degree program in criminal justice that would help her grow in her new job as a juvenile detention officer and allow her to work full time. When she found UW-Platteville’s online program, there was an added bonus—her father graduated from the university in 1980.

“UW-Platteville was a great experience,” Zarka said. “It allowed me to continue with a career I just began and expand my knowledge. I had looked for a year after receiving my bachelor’s for a sufficient program that would allow me to accomplish exactly that. UW-Platteville gave me that program and then some.”

Zarka is an Adult Probation Officer for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Illinois. “I work with Drug Court and Mental Health Court clients. I am responsible for supervising these defendants in the community and monitoring their compliance with their respective court program,” she said. Zarka is also a member of the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association and serves on a Substance Abuse Committee.

Zarka enrolled in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program in 2014. As she neared the end of the program, she completed a seminar research paper that tied closely to her job, focusing on Mental Health Court programs in the United States, their effectiveness, and suggestions for improvement.

Dr. Cheryl Banachowski-Fuller advised Zarka’s work on her research paper. “Dr. Fuller pushed me to think outside the box with my research and opened my eyes to new ideas while helping me to shape the overall concept of my paper. She also helped me break down the process to make it more manageable,” Zarka said.

Zarka graduated in May of 2016. “For now I plan to stay at my current job and gain experience in the field of criminal justice. After a couple of years, I am planning on looking toward federal government jobs within the field and really start to apply more of the knowledge I gained during the MSCJ program,” she said.

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