Alumni Perspective: Shauna Mitchell
Graduation Year: 2009
Major: Criminal Justice
Current Position: Private Investigator/Robert Cirtin Investigations, LLC; Adjunct Professor for MSU and Drury
Location: Springfield, MO
What is your favorite memory from EU?
With so many great memories, it’s hard to pick just one! If I had to pick though, I would admit I always looked forward to Harvest Fest each year. It was so much fun to pick out costumes and watch the talent at Evangel from fellow students. Everyone is so creative and I’m glad to see that it is a tradition that has continued to this day!
How did EU help you identify or develop your calling?
Initially I started out at EU as pre-med, and then quickly changed to criminal justice once I realized all the science courses pre-med entailed! It was during a general education course that my advisor – Bob Cirtin – led me to Criminal Justice. He later became my boss, but that is another story! I really appreciated the way instructors and professors applied a Christian worldview throughout the course content for the criminal justice and behavioral studies as well.
As I progressed in my undergraduate studies in criminal justice, I understood further that this was the right field for me. I know God has given me a passion for the offender and victim population, and much of that was revealed to me during basic coursework. My Master’s thesis was based on human trafficking, and that topic has become especially close to my heart. Today I enjoy teaching adjunct on courses that cover the topics of human and drug trafficking.
How did your experience at EU prepare you for life after graduation?
There were several courses, including an internship, which allowed me to achieve practical application and experience in the field. One of my favorite courses was Criminal Investigations. In this course we participated in several mock crime scenes, after which we were required to write detailed reports on. It was this course, among others, that helped me transition smoothly to my career as a private investigator.
Not only was I prepared in my writing and reporting techniques, but I also learned the basic concepts of conducting interviews and being thorough in evidence collection. Of course, there are always things in this field that will be out of the ordinary and I have to adapt to, but I know the solid foundation in education I received has greatly benefited me in a variety of situations!
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
Networking! In this field, it really helps to know others in the field or community where you would like to work. By getting to know individuals through networking or volunteering, they are able to know your character and work ethic, which is a big deal! I would advise students to not make getting straight A’s their priority and spend time making solid connections in places you would like to work!
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from EU?
I would look for someone who is dependable and has excellent writing skills. As a private investigator, a lot of the work performed is on your own – such as surveillance – so being reliable, self-motivated, and dedicated is very important. Patience is also key! Not all investigations begin and end smoothly, so being able to stay on task and follow up on information plays a huge role in the end of a case.