By Alejandra Garcia, Multimedia and Communications Student Assistant

Each year, the Academy of Criminal Justice Science hosts a national conference allowing schools from around the nation to participate in seminars and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice.

This year, five Fresno State students from Alpha Phi Sigma, a criminal justice student honors society, competed in Crime Scene Investigation in New Orleans. They went against twenty other schools and won the championship.

The students who competed are Gabriel Farias, Alessandra Hinojosa, Kyra Hollingsworth, Selene Licon, and Stephanie Novak. The competition tested the students’ knowledge on criminology, crime scene investigation, and police report writing.

Alessandra Hinojosa, a Master’s Student in General Education Psychology and Alpha Phi Sigma President, was eager to have the team participate in this year’s competition.

“I always feel anxious and excited at the same time for several reasons. I am extremely competitive and wanted to win the competition,” Hinojosa said.

An intense competition. Once there, teams were given ten minutes to review a crime scene, gather evidence, and interview witnesses. A report was then completed within 24 hours. A winner is chosen based on the report and this year it was our students from the Criminology department who demonstrated their excellent investigative skills and took the prize.

“I felt proud of our achievement considering a lot of schools were not even aware that this school exists. We also obtained $250 as prize money, which this was the first year that a monetary award was given,” Hinojosa said.

Hinojosa added that it was the first time students from Alpha Phi Sigma won anything significant at the national level and that the competition served as a way for students in the criminal justice/ criminology field to practice their skills and learn new ones.

As a newcomer to this competition, Kyra Hollingsworth, a Forensic Behavioral Science option student and Alpha Phi Sigma Secretary, was excited about attending the conference.

“For me, it was exciting yet nerve-racking. I have never done a competition like this and so I was just curious to see what it was like,” Hollingsworth said.

Feeling proud and victorious, the students left New Orleans with the winning title. Students who participated said they felt honored in bringing the title to their campus since the chapter has only been at Fresno State for a couple of years.

As champions of this year’s ACJS national conference, they will host the next crime scene investigation next year.

The Alpha Phi Sigma is a nationally recognized honor society at Fresno State. The society provides students with the ability to expand their academic and professional skills through participation in activities associated with the field, volunteer work, and fundraising. Here, students are recognized for their academic excellence by undergraduate, graduate, and law school students.