Achieving your MS in Criminology

Elizabeth Ortiz, MS, F-ABMDI

Starting a walk on a new path is always exciting, yet sometimes filled with anxiety since we don’t know where this new path will take us. Life essentially can be compared to a hike in the forest, never knowing if the path will be clearly identified or if it will be lined with wild flowers. The one thing to remember is to always take the time to analyze your surroundings and take a breath. The same can be said of your college career at Regis University. This will be a time of growth, both mentally and emotionally. Trust me, I too was once in your shoes and what I have gained during that “hike” will always be a part of my life.

When I started the process of obtaining my Master of Science in Criminology, I was somewhat timid and anxious. What if I got lost in the shuffle? What if I did not succeed? What was I thinking since I already had two Bachelor of Science degrees and a career I thoroughly enjoyed? With my sense of wanting to improve myself and learning as much as possible with this life I have been given, I took the chance of “walking in the forest”, and what I learned in the process has made me appreciate what life has to offer.

One of the most important aspects of this journey is to stop and ask questions, surround yourself by innovative people and stay true to yourself. I have embodied this in my life and in my career as a Medicolegal Death Investigator. As a “death” investigator who has been in the field for over twenty years, I still ask questions. I still take the time to appreciate what is before me when investigating a death. It is important I evaluate the circumstances surrounding the death because ultimately I am the voice of this person. Rushing through an investigation could lead to a mistake, just as rushing through an assignment could lead to a poor grade. Additionally, I pride myself in knowing I did the best I could and this pride can be reflected in my investigation just as your assignment is reflective of you.

There are many opportunities at Regis to ask questions and embrace the opportunities afforded to you. The opportunity to interview potential professors either by talking to them, sitting in a class with them, or talking to other students gives you the ability to guide your path into your college career. Thankfully, many of the professors at Regis are willing to talk to the students and ensure their success in the program. They genuinely care for the success of the student rather than the failure of the student. I can attest to this since I personally met a professor at a different university whose ultimate goal was to see how many students he could fail. He felt it was the elimination of the weak.

Secondly, surrounding yourself with individuals that will help you and guide you is essential. Initially, it might feel as though you have to lean on others, but once you feel steady in the course of navigating through the university, you can provide your insight to the next person. Paying it forward is what makes the world turn, in my opinion, and generally makes you feel good. The individuals you surround yourself with can assist you with new ideas, new thoughts and encourage you to look at problems from different directions. I, for one, surround myself with individuals who are always looking at ways on how an investigation can improve.

Finally, staying true to you is essential. There will be many times you will ask what your purpose is and why you are heading in this direction. Staying true to your beliefs and thoughts will only make this part of the journey somewhat easier. Now, it will not always be easy and there will be many times you question what the purpose is; just take the time to evaluate what is important and take a breath. My passion is investigating deaths and when I receive at least one kind acknowledgement regarding my work, then I know I am still on the right course. It will always be challenging and I will always question myself if I am going on the right path; it is a process of learning to better myself. Ultimately, I know not only am I am walking down the right path into the forest, but I am stopping along the way to admire the view.

Learn more about the online MS in criminology degree at Regis by requesting more information or calling 877-820-0581.