Monthly Archives: December 2018

WIU-QC Alumni Spotlight: Pedro Valladares

 

Name: Pedro Valladares
Major/Program: Law Enforcement and Justice Administration
Graduation: Spring 2018 (master’s degree); B.S. in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration with minor in Security Administration, 2012.

Hispanic male police officer in uniform, proudly displaying WIU-QC coffee mug

Valladares poses on campus at his alma mater in Fall 2018.

Interview with Lt. Valladares:

Where do you work and what is your job title?
I am the Administrative Lieutenant for the Moline Police Department.

What is required of you at your position?
I am required to maintain training records, schedule training for all officers, supervise the Field Training Program for new hires, schedule all off-duty work, oversee the body camera system and conduct background investigations for potential new hires.

How did WIU-QC prepare you for your job?
WIU-QC provided me with the knowledge and understanding of what is required of an administrator of a police agency. Many of the classes provided me knowledge of organization, scheduling, time management and policy development.

Why did you choose your major or program?
I was employed as a law enforcement officer when I received my bachelor’s degree. I enjoyed learning about the new trends in crime, changes in the law and how those changes affected areas within the realm of law enforcement. I decided to pursue the master’s degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration because I believed it would provide me with the knowledge required to not only obtain an administrative role, but allow me to excel in that role.

Why did you pick WIU-QC for higher education? What did you like the most about your experience here?
The opportunity to have an institution of higher learning so close to home was very convenient for me. It made it an easy decision to pursue a master’s degree knowing I could attend classes locally and still be home with my family each night.

I had an excellent experience during my time as an undergrad. The education I received and students I attended classes with were very enjoyable. I also liked my instructors at WIU. They were very helpful and encouraging when it came to furthering my education.

I would recommend WIU-QC for the convenience of location and quality of instructors. I have had classes in the past where instructors did not want to take the time to assist the student with answering questions or obtaining a complete understanding of the class material. At WIU, I did not have an instructor that made me feel that way. The instructors seemed to care about the student and took the time to provide me with the knowledge to succeed in the class.

What was your favorite class/who was your favorite professor? Why?
Criminal Procedure with Dr. Suzanne Bailey (associate professor of law enforcement and justice administration). I enjoyed the class because Dr. Bailey was very thorough while presenting her lessons and provided an environment that was conducive to learning. Dr. Bailey instructed in a manner that brought the best out of every student.

What is a memory of WIU-QC that you often think about?
I often think about my time as an undergrad. I had the opportunity to meet young students and made some great friendships. I had the opportunity to observe the students go from learning about law enforcement in the classroom to working in the field of law enforcement.

If you could go back to your time as a student, what would you do differently?
I would have pursued a bachelor’s degree in a field other than law enforcement. This would have allowed me the opportunity to gain knowledge in a different area of education that I could have applied to law enforcement, such as psychology or a foreign language.

What advice can you offer to current college students who might be interested in going into your field?
I would advise the student to do their research, to be very clear as to what is required of a law enforcement officer in the 21st century. The decision to enter law enforcement should be done before they obtain a degree in criminal justice. I have seen too many young people obtain a degree, get hired by a police agency, and receive academy training only to find out this occupation is not for them or it was not what they expected.

What is one thing about your job that you didn’t expect, or that might surprise a current college student?
I did not expect there to be so much writing and documentation required. Nearly everything an officer does requires a report, and that report has to be clear, concise, and in chronological order. It is considered an official document and an officer needs a certain level of writing skills to do it properly.

 

Hispanic male police officer showing college students the inside of his squad SUV.

Teaching students about design elements of a squad vehicle.

Key Quote:

The opportunity to have an institution of higher learning so close to home was very convenient for me. It made it an easy decision to pursue a master’s degree knowing I could attend classes locally and still be home with my family each night.

Troubleshooting and Teamwork: What It’s Like to be a Part-Time Student IT Analyst for John Deere

Meet Brandon, who came to WIU-QC after serving in the military and beginning his college career in the Pacific Northwest. After getting married, returning to his hometown, and transferring to WIU-QC, Oleson has been a student worker in the Office of the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Initiatives on campus, in addition to pursuing his studies and the John Deere Part-Time Student position. 

Name: Brandon Oleson
Hometown: Geneseo, IL
WIU-QC Major: Information Systems

Brandon Oleson, a young man in jeans and a sweater posing in front of new John Deere machinery at the John Deere Pavilion.

Brandon Oleson, an Information Systems major at WIU-QC, poses during Fall 2018 at the John Deere Pavilion, Moline.

“I was a little nervous about starting, just like anyone would be, but I had a lot of helpful people show me the ropes my first day and felt welcomed right away. It made me excited about working there going forward.”

Interview 

1. What is your job title, and where do you work? When did you start? 

I am a Part Time Student IT Analyst at John Deere. I started in June 2018. My projected end date is July 2019, when I receive my bachelor’s degree in Information Systems.

2. How (if at all) does your job relate to your major or classes?
Some of the concepts that I’ve learned in my IS classes have helped me grasp and understand ideas and processes that John Deere utilizes faster.

3. How did you hear about the opportunity?
Some fellow classmates had started working in Part Time Student positions with John Deere, and I heard about the process of applying through them.

4. Can you summarize the process you went through to apply for, and receive, the position?
I applied through the John Deere website. I was then called for an interview where I did two interview sessions in one day, with two different groups of interviewers. They called me a few weeks later and I was offered the job.

5. How did you feel on the first day or upon entering the work site for the first time?
On the first day, I had to go to John Deere Headquarters first thing to fill out HR paperwork and get issued my badge. That was a little intimidating just because it’s the world headquarters. I was a little nervous about starting later in the day at my actual location, just like anyone would be, but I had a lot of helpful people show me the ropes my first day and felt welcomed right away. It made me excited about working there going forward.

6. What are some of your duties and responsibilities? How do they fit into the bigger picture at the company?
We are responsible for troubleshooting major incidents that occur within John Deere’s IT infrastructure. This is done by working with other teams across John Deere.

7. What is the most important skill or task you’re learning on the job?
How to effectively communicate and drive a conversation with multiple people at once and to be able to convey your ideas using technical wording effectively.

8. What’s your favorite thing about the job?
There are always new challenges that vary from day to day. You get to communicate with different people from teams all across John Deere. You also get to help people solve issues and they are usually very grateful for it, which makes you feel good.

9. What’s one thing that has surprised you about it?
How even if you don’t have the technical expertise needed for the job, if you give your best attempt, your coworkers are usually happy to help you out. It’s more of a helpful and teamwork based environment instead of an isolated and “figure it out yourself” type environment.

10. Would you like to see yourself continuing to work for this company or in this type of job after graduation?
Absolutely. I have the opportunity to apply for the Employee Development Program or apply internally after graduation. I will most definitely do that and I believe that this Part Time Student position will have set me up for an opportunity to get hired on as a full-time employee.

11. What advice would you give to someone in your major who might be looking for this same type of opportunity?
Apply to as many internships and part time student positions as you can. This will allow you to get your foot in the door and make it much easier to transition into a job after graduation. Even if you don’t meet all of the requirements of the job listing, still apply anyway. The fact that you took the leap and applied is really all a company is looking for. They don’t expect you to have all of the technical knowledge needed. As long as you work hard and try your best, they will be satisfied with that. The technical knowledge will come with work experience anyways, and you can’t get that if you don’t apply.

young male students having a conversation on a college campus

Oleson chats with a fellow Information Systems student during a study break in the Riverfront Hall atrium.