Bachelor degree opportunities on local community college campus

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Bachelor degree opportunities on local community college campusOctober 13, 2020

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Stephen McDonald standing in front Hodge Carillon on MC campus

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 Lubbock. 

“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.”

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