Meet Alex Setzer. Alex graduated from Appalachian State University double degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice in 2011. As a student, he had a passion for understanding the crime and the criminal justice system, looking for the answers to solving recidivism the scientific research and practical internships. While still in school, Alex was able to land a great internship with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which gave him access to learning about criminal investigations at the state level.
Graduating with honors, Alex went off to earn his Masters of Public Administration degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, NY. During this period of time, he continued examine the issues of crime but through the setting of public administration in which he was able to find a great internship experience with the New York City Department of Probation in which he applied his research skills from sociology to investigate the best practices to strengthen organizational policies on education. He was also able to obtain some skills in working and networking with other external government and non-profit organizations to create new education initiatives to assist individuals successfully serve out their probation and deter repeat offenses.
Because of his excellent work, Alex landed a job as the program manager for the "Arches Mentoring Program," which served over 1,700 young adults to help them successfully complete probation and various programs needed for offenders re-entering their communities, such as having access to good and affordable housing.
After all of this, Alex is on his way back to North Carolina to hopefully pursue more opportunities to help individuals to avoid incarceration and be successful after adjudication. Check out what Alex had to say about how App State Sociology helped him in his career pursuits:
App State sociology equipped me quite well to handle quantitative research and evaluation, which was essential for my roles at NYC Department of Probation. In fact, because of my excellent training in sociological research methods and data analysis I was able to opt out of the regular research course at John Jay College to work with the PhD candidates, which was very eye-opening and rare for a Master's student. Between my first and second year at John Jay I was linked to an internship with the NYC Department of Probation, working with the Director of Education.
After my internship ended I was recommended to fill a vacancy and became the Program Manager for the Arches Transformative Mentoring Program, a role I have been in for just over two years. Arches is a group mentoring initiative for 16-24 year olds on probation. We have 18 locations throughout NYC, with each site led by mentors who were formally involved in the criminal justice system themselves. I handle the budgets, invoices, reporting, perform site visits, make recommendations, and act as the liaison between the Department of Probation and the 18 non-profit organizations we contract with each year. Again, my education at App State was pivotal in my handling all of these tasks.
In my sociology classes, I was always looking into how the issue of recidivism can best be addressed. The Urban Institute is currently conducting an external evaluation of Arches to see how effective it was at keeping our participants from re-offending and the initial results are promising. I truly appreciate the advising and teaching I received at App. I can't begin to tell you how helpful the lessons I learned in the Race and Minority Relations class had on my current role (Arches is part of the Young Men's Initiative, NYC's comprehensive municipal strategy tackling the disparities faced by young men of color).
Congrats to Alex and we wish him the best in his coming years as a modern-day crime fighter!