Blaz Mihaljevic, ’19 on Criminal Justice, Professors, and the Career Collaborative

A Q&A with Blaz Mihaljevic, ’19 // Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice major Blaz Mihaljevic, ‘19, engaged deeply with his major in his hands-on classes, and through multiple internships with branches of the U.S. government. In this interview, we talk with Mihaljevic about evoking change through his criminal justice work, and the experiences and skills he gained inside and outside the classroom.

Q: What appealed to you most about being a Criminal Justice major?

A: Being a Criminal Justice major is great because right now in America, the world is changing in the sense that law enforcement and cops need to be smarter than they have in the past 50 years. We need properly trained officers and law enforcement officials. And that really appealed to me: to be a beacon of change in this new development of law enforcement. It inspired me to choose Criminal Justice.

Blaz Mihaljevic, Champlain College grad

Q: What was one of your favorite Criminal Justice classes you took?

A: In my first year, I was taking a criminal law class with Judge Cooper Smith, who was a judge here in Burlington for 25 years. He really helped us examine the law through an officer’s lens. He even took us down to the courthouse for a few hours each week and let us examine case files. We are really exposed to our field through our classes.

Q: What did you like most about your Champlain professors?

A: Every professor I’ve had has definitely had a unique impact on me. They all bring something new to the table, even if it’s just a different viewpoint, or a different lens of thinking. They’re always challenging you to think a little differently, which is important, especially for someone like me who’s going into law enforcement. I think having all sorts of views is really important in a well-rounded person.

Q: Did you have any internships while at Champlain?

A: I’ve done multiple internships while here at Champlain College. One was with Homeland Security. I worked in the contracting department there. It gave me a little more exposure to how Homeland Security works and how they operate. I had never worked in that type of environment, so it was a really good experience. I did another internship with Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms—a branch of the Department of Justice that works with the FBI. There, I learned how search warrants are executed. It was a really hands-on internship, and it felt like I was in a movie. I learned so much from these internships, and they really helped influence and shape my career interests.

Q: How has Champlain’s Career Collaborative helped you with your career?

A: I went to the Career Fair five times while at Champlain, and it’s how I got my first internship. It was a great way to get started on my career and get me connected to my industry. Champlain’s Career Collaborative also did a great job in preparing me for interviews, writing résumés, and learning how to apply for government positions.

Q: Now that you’ve graduated, how would you say goodbye to Champlain?

A: Goodbye Champlain! Thank you for the best four years of my life. I look forward to the new adventures that come, but I’ll always hold dear the ones that I made here.

Want to learn about how you can make a difference in your community in a law enforcement or public service role? Check out our Criminal Justice major, as well as the rest of the programs offered by the Division of Education & Human Studies at Champlain College.

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