September 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Happy Beginnings | Alum Enjoys Start to Career in Criminal Justice

A smiling Erin Varaga Spicuzza standing outside with stone wall behind her

Erin (Varga) Spicuzza

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

Erin (Varga) Spicuzza ’13 got her start in criminal justice working for Allegheny County Pretrial Services in downtown Pittsburgh, where she’s been since June 2014.

Spicuzza began as a bail investigator, utilizing a validated risk tool to make recommendations for bail and conditional release. She also interviewed defendants and investigated their prior criminal history.

She moved into a magisterial district court investigator position where she helped develop and implement a new risk assessment tool for local magistrate judges. She also prepared cases for court in order to get low-risk defendants out of jail.

Since then, Spicuzza has become a criminal court liaison and now presents cases to common pleas judges in order to make informed decisions regarding bail. She serves as a liaison between the courts, attorneys, defendants, and local law enforcement, as well as scheduling and coordinating bail hearings for defendants.

After graduating with her B.A. in Sociology-Criminology from the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University 2013, Spicuzza earned her Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

Prior to obtaining her position with Allegheny County Pretrial Services, she worked at McKesson Patient Care Solutions as an Insurance Verification Representative; however, with her background in criminology and criminal justice, Spicuzza was thrilled to “get her foot in the door” to her career in criminal justice.

How OHIO Prepared Her

“Several of my experiences at Ohio University helped me along the way to obtain my current career and position,” she says.

“My classes relating to criminology helped to prepare me for some of the encounters I have had within my work. My professors were also knowledgeable on the subjects they taught and pushed me to succeed in their respective classes and my entire education.

“My advisor, Howard (Ted) Welser, helped me immensely with my class scheduling, and I truly felt like he wanted me to exceed expectations. I also interned at the Athens County Sheriff’s Office during my junior year at Ohio University, and that experience helped to prepare me for my career in the criminal justice system since I work daily with members of law enforcement.”

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