Questar III Criminal Justice Program student Brianna Springstead working security at the Rensselaer Educational Center Open House.
Raised in a family full of criminal justice/law enforcement people, it’s no wonder why New Lebanon High School senior Brianna Springstead is working toward a career in criminal justice.
Brianna enrolled in Questar III’s Criminal Justice program for her junior year. Now in her second year of the program, Brianna spends each morning of the school day at the Rensselaer Education Center in Troy learning the skills and knowledge for a future in criminal justice. Among the topics she and her peers learn about are law enforcement, forensics, courts and law, corrections and private security. With field trips and meetings with professionals in the field an integral part of the program, Brianna said a class trip to the Rensselaer County Jail and a Mock Trial were some of her most enjoyable learning experiences.
“Although courts and law was not my personal favorite or my strong suit, the Mock Trial was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” she said. “Even though I was nervous for my testimony, not only was it helpful in ways of public speaking, but it also just brought the reality of the court room to life.”
Brianna said there is never a day she doesn’t enjoy the Criminal Justice program and attributes much of that to her teacher Amy Gillett.
“Mrs. Gillett has been a huge inspiration to me,” Brianna said. “She really wants me to get far and always pushes me to go harder, to push my limits. She puts things into the reality view of the job versus what the text book says.”
Brianna’s hard work has earned her several certificates and awards from Questar III. She was named Student of the Month in Dec. 2012, received Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance and CPR/First Aid Certificates and completed the NYS 8-Hour and 16-Hour Security Guard Licenses. She also earned FEMA Certificates in Diversity Awareness and Introduction to the Incident Command System for Law Enforcement.
Back in her school district in New Lebanon, Brianna recently presented to the New Lebanon Board of Education where she talked about the value of the program and said “it changed her life.” She exercises her athletic side as a member of the varsity softball team. Brianna served as a captain on the school’s varsity volleyball team earlier this year.
Outside of school, Brianna is gaining work experience in the field. Since summer 2013 she has been working with the Troy Police Cadets and said the program has helped her “create more short term and long term goals to work toward.” This spring, Brianna will start an internship with the Albany Police Department where she will gain experience on the administrative/paperwork end of things. She’s also looking forward to going on some ride-alongs with officers. She fits in all the other things she enjoys doing, such as dancing, horseback riding, art and writing.
Following graduation, Brianna hopes to join the Air National Guard as a boom operator. She said she has become acquainted with the Air National Guard and the specific job she would like to do. Her plans also include furthering her education by attending the University at Albany to study psychology and criminal justice.
For more information about Questar III’s Criminal Justice program, please visit http://www.questar.org/education/career-tech-ed/criminaljustice.php.