The Iota Kappa Chi chapter of the American Criminal Justice Association at UTRGV has placed in two separate competitions this semester.
The group attended the American Criminal Justice Association Regional Conference held Nov. 6-8 in Texarkana, Ark., where 17 members competed and won 10 trophies.
Chapter President Nora Segura placed first in physical agility and police management and third in corrections; Vice President Emanuell Gomez placed third in police management and criminal law; Roy Resendiz placed first in juvenile justice and second in police management; Julia Hernandez placed second in criminal law and physical agility (division ages 18-25); Sergeant-at- arms Adrian Maldonado placed second in physical agility (division ages 18-25).
In order to participate in competitions held by the ACJA, students must be active members for at least a year.
The IKX chapter also competed at the Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice Conference held Oct. 8-10 at Schlitterbahn Waterpark on South Padre Island, where members won all team competitions.
“We swept the entire team competitions at the SWACJ,” said Steve Wilson, interim chair of the Criminal Justice Department and faculty adviser of the chapter. “We were competing against teams from Austin and the Houston area,and we did just as good as they did.”
IKX’s members are from the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses. The organization has also won several awards for its volunteer efforts in the community and student involvement, such as the University Inner Circle Award, Student Leader of the Year Award and Adviser of the Year Award.
Nora Segura, chapter president and a criminal justice senior, said the student organization has helped improve her leadership skills and shape her into the person she is today.
“A year and a half ago, I was not this person. I was very shy and I would’ve never imagined myself as the president,” Segura said. “[ACJA] has changed me completely. I am so grateful for joining.”
Wilson said the Criminal Justice Department is growing along with its student organizations. These organizations offer members exposure to potential employers along with skill and work-related trainings.
“They do a lot of networking,” he said. “The club interacts with all types of criminal justice agencies.”
Training starts in April to compete in the 2016 ACJA Regional Conference.
Members train two days a week for the physical portions of the competitions. The IKX chapter also practices gun safety and shooting practice at South Texas Tactical Shooting Range in Brownsville.
Asked about students’ dedication and overall performance during and after these competitions, Wilson said, “They got a lot of heart. All of them.”