Criminal Justice College Bowl team scores victory

4/14/2009 | By: Mike Wolterbeek  |

A team of three University of Nevada, Reno criminal justice honor students took first place in the prestigious College Bowl competition last month in Boston, Mass, beating out other top schools from around the country.

“We won by a landslide, by more than 100 points,” Debi Dearman, Criminal Justice department student coordinator and advisor for the University of Nevada, Reno chapter of the Honor Society said. “The department is very proud of their attendance and accomplishments.”

The competition among the National Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society member schools was held at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, a meeting and competition which includes top criminal justice sciences students from across the country. Eight of the leading schools were represented in the College Bowl competition.

“It’s like a big “Jeopardy” game with questions related to criminal justice such as case law or the history of criminal justice,” Dearman said. “Some of the questions are extremely difficult and some are very general from introduction courses.

“I laughed out loud when one of our students hit the buzzer and blurted out ’what is bail?’ when answering a question.” Contestants were not required to follow the “Jeopardy” rule of answering in the form of a question. This was the first time in eight years of competing in the event that the University took the top honor.

“They studied hard, I’m so proud of them,” she said. “It’s nice for them to get the recognition they deserve.” The three students, all seniors, representing the University of Nevada, Reno were William Mantle, Natalie Potter, and Cristen Thayer. In the undergraduate criminal justice research paper competition, Natalie Potter took first place, winning $500. She also received a $500 award/scholarship from a Loss Prevention Foundation.

“The fact that our Alpha Phi Sigma students won the competition and did such a great job representing the University is no surprise to me,” Grant Stitt, professor and chair, Department of Criminal Justice said. “We have high academic standards and super students who will continue to be winners once they graduate.”

In all, nine members of the Criminal Justice Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma, traveled to Boston to attend and compete at the national meeting, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, which included an intensive schedule of meeting programs and seminars, speakers, and presentations of papers.


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