Student Spotlight: Alexxa Blair

Osceola, IA ‘19 criminal justice and political science

Favorite quote: "It seems to me that at this time we need education in the obvious more than investigation of the obscure." -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Why did you pick criminal justice studies?: I chose criminal justice studies because I’m fascinated with the idea of crime’s influence on the society around it. When I originally chose a major freshman year, I hadn’t narrowed my focus to one specific job title or goal. Choosing a criminal justice studies major meant finding a program that has the perfect combination of academic research and practical application. It is a diverse program that fit any path I decided to take. Even though I have since concentrated on one specific area of research, I am still in a field where the rest of my background is just as helpful and I am confident in my ability to find a job.

Advice to students: The best advice I have for students is to take the initiative to actually learn and develop as a person while in college. It may seem obvious, but there is a stark difference in working towards a degree and having a thirst for knowledge.

What internships have you had and what did they add to your experience as a student?: I have been fortunate enough to hold multiple internships in a variety of fields since starting my undergraduate degree. My three most recent internships were with a local restorative justice probation agency working in their case management process, at the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. doing legislative research and mail coordination, and at a national mental health awareness and advocacy group assisting with event planning and clients. Being a student at Iowa State prepared me to take on these new challenges because of the faculty that encouraged me to put myself out there. I was persuaded to apply for internships I thought were too "prestigious" for me by my academic advisers and professors, and these internships ended up being experiences that have impacted my entire future career.

A cause you are passionate about: A cause I am passionate about is spreading awareness for the need to provide better mental healthcare in the United States. We have a real need for better treatment options and to change the stigma we place on people with mental illnesses.