In December, Stephen McDonald will graduate from Sul Ross State University (SRSU)
with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and he’s never taken a class on the
SRSU campus in Alpine, Texas.
McDonald has lived in West Texas for most of his life and said that he plans to stay
here. After having lived in Fort Stockton for a short time, his family moved to Midland,
and McDonald graduated from Midland High School in 2016. He followed his older brother
to the University of Oklahoma and took a few courses there before transferring to
Rose State College in Midwest City, OK, where he obtained an associate degree in Criminal
Justice in May 2018.
McDonald said that once he obtained an associate degree, he moved back to Midland
to be near family and complete his criminal justice education. Fortunately, MC and
SRSU offered an opportunity for him to do both.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, SRSU also offers upper-level
undergraduate courses on the Midland College main campus in Biology, Cyber Security,
English, Geology, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics and Spanish.
“Criminal justice really appealed to me, not necessarily the law enforcement aspect,
but the opportunity to help people,” McDonald said. “Even now with all the unrest
in the nation regarding police officers, I still want to pursue a criminal justice
field. There are avenues other than uniformed patrol officers, like working in a
corrections facility, probation/parole officer and court bailiff.”
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statics, careers requiring criminal
justice bachelor's degrees are some of the fastest-growing in today's modern economy.
For instance, the most recent Occupational Outlook Handbook shows that the need for
corrections officers is expected to increase by 18 percent over the next ten years.
“All my upper-level criminal justice courses are online courses,” McDonald said. “However,
I was able to take some courses on the MC campus in person, such as Geology, Government
and Speech. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Online courses offer
flexibility in schedule, but I miss the one-on-one interaction with professors and
other students. Fortunately, I was able to take a combination of both types of courses.”
In his spare time, McDonald enjoys video games and table-top role play games as well
as cooking and baking, especially bread.
McDonald also worked for Midland College as a part-time security guard. After graduation
in December, he said that he will pursue full-time employment in either Midland or
“I have been to the Sul Ross campus in Alpine to visit with professors and advisors,
but I’ve never actually taken a class in Alpine,” McDonald explained. “It’s been
great because all my classes are right here in Midland. I’m hoping to get back to
Alpine in December for my graduation ceremony.”