Criminal Justice Alumni Profiles

Karyn Behling

My best advice is to take advantage of all the opportunities HBSSW has to offer, the more you take advantage of those opportunities now and make those connections, the easier it will be to advance your career in the future.

Read more about Karyn
  • Current job title:
    Door County Assistant Corporation Counsel
  • Why did you study criminal justice? 
    Primarily due to my father being in law enforcement, but also forensic science and criminal law was an interest of mine due to the popularity of forensic crime drama television in the late 90’s.
  • What’s unique about studying criminal justice at UW-Milwaukee?
    The vast opportunity of field placements and the option to obtain certificates, I personally took advantage of obtaining certificates in Forensic Science, Death Investigation, and Forensic Toxicology.
  • If you did a field placement, how did this experience help you?
    Working in a field placement really helped me make the connections that set me up for my future career and it also allowed me to see firsthand the day-to-day operations of a variety of roles within the criminal justice field.
  • How did HBSSW help you?
    HBSSW helped me achieve success, the school facilitated a life-long professional network for me, they offered a wide variety of courses, and set me up for my career path with field placement options.
  • What’s your best advice for criminal justice students?
    My best advice is to take advantage of all the opportunities HBSSW has to offer, the more you take advantage of those opportunities now and make those connections, the easier it will be to advance your career in the future.

Daniela Imig

Find your niche – there is so much more to criminal justice than law enforcement or probation. This field desperately needs passionate, critical thinkers who are willing to go against the status quo and fix the system from the inside.

Read more about Daniela
  • Current job title:
    Director of New Initiatives at JusticePoint & Adjunct Lecturer at UWM
  • Why did you study criminal justice?
    Growing up, my dad was a sergeant at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, so I became preoccupied with the criminal justice field at a young age. I knew early on that being in law enforcement was not the path for me so I decided to pursue the degree and see where it would take me. It wasn’t until I became immersed in the criminal justice graduate program that I really became obsessed with finding my niche, which turned out to be the pretrial field.
  • What’s unique about studying criminal justice at UW-Milwaukee?
    I’d say the most unique thing about studying at UWM is the depth of experience among the professors & lecturers. I always felt like there was someone for almost every aspect of the field from whom I could seek assistance.
  • If you did a field placement, how did this experience help you?
    My field placement actually helped me realize what I didn’t want to do with my career – I found I wasn’t cut out for the more punitive nature that career path had in store for me. I’m grateful I found that out before I invested any number of years in a career that would ultimately be unfulfilling.
  • How did HBSSW help you?
    The professors I had in my masters courses truly believed in me as a student when I didn’t believe in myself. I know it sounds corny, but when you have someone like Dr. Tina Freiburger (now the Dean of the HBSSW) actively telling you she believes you’re going to do great things, you eventually start to believe it and you go off and do great things. If I didn’t have the confidence of professors like her in my corner, I might not be in the most fulfilling career of my life right now.
  • What’s your best advice for criminal justice students?
    Find your niche – there is so much more to criminal justice than law enforcement or probation. This field desperately needs passionate, critical thinkers who are willing to go against the status quo and fix the system from the inside.

Michaela Lawrence

I studied criminal justice to pursue my dream job of working at the FBI as a criminal profiler. Along with this, I knew having a criminal justice degree would open quite a bit of job opportunities for me due to the diversity the degree offers as far as employment goes.

Read more about Michaela
  • Current job title:
    Cryptologic Linguist for U.S. Army
  • Why did you study criminal justice? 
    I studied criminal justice to pursue my dream job of working at the FBI as a criminal profiler. Along with this, I knew having a criminal justice degree would open quite a bit of job opportunities for me due to the diversity the degree offers as far as employment goes.
  • What’s unique about studying criminal justice at UW-Milwaukee?
    What makes studying criminal justice unique at UWM is the faculty and educational resources/opportunities provided. It was here that I was able to receive a master’s of science in crime analysis. No other school in Wisconsin offers this until recently where Marquette has started to offer classes. Studying criminal justice at UWM has allowed me to be competitive in the workforce because the faculty is dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best resources possible and providing us with multiple opportunities for advancing our education while making our resumes competitive.
  • If you did a field placement, how did this experience help you?
    I did no field placement.
  • How did HBSSW help you?
    HBSSW helped me by providing me with a scholarship as a graduate assistant to further my education beyond my bachelor’s degrees. This opportunity gave me the ability to work more closely with my professors and provided me with first-hand experience looking at research.
  • What’s your best advice for criminal justice students?
    My best advice for criminal justice students is to take advantage of all the opportunities the HBSSW offers here at UWM. It is one task to pursue a criminal justice degree and another to diversify yourself from those receiving the same degree. Not only look at what HBSSW offers, but what UWM offers. I would suggest studying abroad, field placement opportunities, volunteering in the community, or joining clubs. Essentially, find an experience that demonstrates the qualities of your future career aspiration.

Niel L. Thoreson

I chose to study criminal justice because it led to an opportunity to pursue a career where I could give back to the community and make substantial differences in the lives of often marginalized members of our society.

Read more about Niel
  • Current job title:
    Regional Chief – Region 3 (Milwaukee County) Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Division of Community Corrections
  • Why did you study criminal justice? 
    I chose to study criminal justice because it led to an opportunity to pursue a career where I could give back to the community and make substantial differences in the lives of often marginalized members of our society.
  • What’s unique about studying criminal justice at UW-Milwaukee?
    That UW-Milwaukee is located within the largest urban setting in Wisconsin provides for openings to network with instructors and community justice system decision makers that are actively applying the latest research in the field to real life circumstances.
  • If you did a field placement, how did this experience help you?
    I did complete a field placement with a smaller, suburban police department. The experience assisted me in understanding how actors in the community justice system interact with each other and collaborate, even though at times their agencies have divergent roles in the overall delivery of justice. Obtaining this knowledge proved valuable as I entered a career in community corrections where often times we take on the paradoxical role of helping clients change their behaviors while also holding them accountable for decisions that they may make that erode public safety.
  • How did HBSSW help you?
    HBSSW assisted in exposing me to varied opportunities that exist within the field of criminal justice outside of law enforcement and by creating spaces to engage in meaningful dialogues with practitioners and agency leaders in these areas. It also taught me the importance of critical thinking and how to approach subjects with an awareness of bias.
  • What’s your best advice for criminal justice students?
    I would encourage them to get involved with student associations or other civic bodies, which are abundant at UW-Milwaukee. By doing so, they will assuredly foster diverse relationships, gain experiences that complement and enhance what they are learning in the classroom and be better prepared for their post-graduation endeavors.