KOKOMO, Ind. — A mysterious superhero — one who might even be described as a winged vigilante — inspired Alysia Circle’s interest in a law enforcement career.
She doesn’t remember a time she wasn’t obsessed with Batman, amassing a collection of figurines, and requesting a birthday cake featuring the Caped Crusader each year.
Now a full-time student and part-time police officer at Indiana University Kokomo, she sees herself not like Batman himself, but one of his strongest allies.
“Batman sparked my interest in detective work mostly because of Jim Gordon,” she said. “Commissioner Gordon is always trying to do what’s right, even when it’s not the popular option. He feels a great sense of responsibility for the people of Gotham.”
Circle, from Marion, plans to combine her interest in science, specifically DNA, and law enforcement to pursue a career in forensics, working behind the scenes in a crime lab.
She’ll have unique insights into how her forensic work will be used, as a certified police officer. She recently graduated from the IU Police Academy, after a year serving as a cadet with the IU Police Department at Kokomo.
As an academy graduate, Circle can work as a police officer while completing her degree in biochemistry and criminal justice, and could join a police department as soon as she graduates. She would be an attractive candidate not only because of her degree, but because she would not need to attend the state police academy before starting duty.
“It’s been a rewarding experience, learning more about police and detective work from the inside,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of connections, like meeting the head detective for Kokomo’s forensics lab because of the cadet program.”
Circle works hard to balance her police work with her school work, especially with her challenging course load. Her organic chemistry class is especially tough, she said, because she learns at a slower pace. She appreciates being in small classes, where the professors know her name and she feels comfortable asking for help.
“I make an effort to learn as much as I can in the class,” she said. “I sit in the front row, and I don’t always ask questions in class, but I will go up afterwards and ask, or ask during a professor’s office hours. I get help from my peers, instructors, and professors. There’s always someone there who can offer assistance.”
During the police academy, she was pleased to confirm with officers working in the field that biochemistry was the right choice for her major, and her career path.
She’s considering working in forensics for a while, and then continuing to graduate school, to become a geneticist.
Circle said she’s not naturally an outgoing person, and serving as an officer has helped her become more comfortable working with new people, as she patrols the hallways and around the campus. She ikes that the presence of a uniformed officer, like herself, deters criminal activity.
“I feel even more of a sense of responsibility to the campus than I did before I became a cadet,” she said. “IU Kokomo feels like my second home, and the people here are like family.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.