Criminal justice major explores her passion in classroom and beyond
By Audrey Webb
Some students come to Texas State to explore a range of subject areas before settling on one that interests them enough to pursue as a career. Kendra Marsteller came here to immerse herself in an interest she began displaying at an early age.
“My mom said that when I was a kid, I would always play with toy cop cars,” she laughs.
Marsteller graduated on December 15 with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. She also has majored in exercise and sports science, and hopes what she learned in that program will enhance her ability to contribute to public and personal safety. “Because officers are tasked with protecting citizens and themselves, there’s a huge physical aspect to law enforcement,” she says. Marsteller plans to incorporate her knowledge of physical training into her profession by developing fitness regimens for her fellow officers in whatever law enforcement agency she joins.
In January, she will test with the San Marcos Police Department. A native of Houston, Marsteller has fallen so in love with the beauty and location of the San Marcos area that she wants to start her career here. “I like the hills and being close to both Austin and San Antonio,” she says. She also has applied to graduate school, hoping to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice at Texas State.
“The faculty and staff here are really passionate about the field of criminal justice and it makes me more passionate about what I do,” she says. She singles out adjunct faculty member Robert J. Hernandez for his inspiring stories and his awareness of the need to connect students with seasoned professionals. “He is a retired Austin Police Department (APD) officer, so his experience comes out in his lectures – the different and controversial things that go on. He even had a mental health officer from APD come in to speak with us. It’s great to have guest speakers.”
To complement her classes, Marsteller has volunteered with local law enforcement agencies, and has accompanied officers on more than 15 ride-alongs in the past two years. Her experiences have given her a first-hand view of what she can expect on the job. “You get the full impact of what [law enforcement officers] do and how they handle things. You get a better understanding of what they deal with on a day-to-day basis,” she says. She recalls a particularly exciting night with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. “We had a SWAT call on one of my ride-outs. It was interesting to see the SWAT team in action,” she says, and her eyes sparkle with fearless enthusiasm.
Clearly, Marsteller has chosen the right profession.