Stacia Wasmundt, class of 2009
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a minor in
Born and raised in Olympia, Washington, Stacia Wasmundt,
class of '09, is big into family. "My family and friends give me
meaning. All my family is here. It's why I want to stay here for
Her career began at South Puget Sound Community College where
she was interested in communications. Her thoughts of journalism
waned, however, when Stacia found herself taking criminal
justice classes and developing an interest in criminal
profiling. "The class that did it for me was David Hyde's
criminology class," says Stacia. "After that, all electives were
criminal justice classes!"
In 2007, Stacia transferred to Saint Martin's University to
complete her degree. She'd heard it was a prestigious school and
that it had a good criminal justice program, but for Stacia,
what set SMU apart were small class sizes and field trips. With
professors Jael Marx and Dr. Robert Hauhart, Stacia visited
juvenile facilities such as Touchstone, Greenhill and Echo Glen;
participated in a ride-along with the Olympia Police Department;
and went on several trips to nearby prisons and jails. "You can
actually say 'I've been to these places'" she declares. "I have
friends at other universities where it's all textbook. All those
places validated my feelings about the work I might want to do
in the future."
In her second year at SMU, Stacia completed a research
internship at the Thurston County Juvenile Probation Center
under direction of Mike Fenton, the juvenile court
administrator. That internship led to a job as a juvenile
detention officer. "I never saw myself as a detention officer
but the experience had made me more assertive," remarks Stacia.
As a detention officer, her job is to keep the kids safe, but
"they don't see it that way," she says. "They see themselves
Her true love is juvenile probation and her goal is to become
a juvenile probation officer. A detention officer works in
offender management within an institution, whereas the work of a
probation officer "is one-on-one. You're more able to help them.
With probation you get to see the success stories," says Stacia.
"You get to see the change, the transformation."
Stacia did an extensive amount of volunteer work both with
SMU and through outside internships. According to Stacia, this
was the best decision of her college career. Directly after
graduation Stacia completed the 35-hour Washington State court
appointed special advocate (CASA) training. As a special
advocate she utilized her writing skills to draft objective
reports for the courts in dependency cases. These are cases
"where kids are abused or neglected. You are the eyes and ears
for the kids," Stacia explains. "I couldn't volunteer for very
long because of my work schedule, but the certificate never
expires unless you withdraw from the program. I know I'll do
this when I retire. Getting a glimpse into their family lives is
hard, but makes me want to work with these kids even more."
Stacia wants to stay in Olympia. She wants to be connected to her mother and father, her older brother, her nephew and her godson. Unfortunately, in this economic climate, the state is closing group homes and juvenile rehab centers like Maple Lane and Touchstone. While Stacia's heart lies with probation it may be some time before a probation officer position becomes available. So for now, Stacia is exploring.
"I think people need to slow down and be grateful," she says, "Life is short and unpredictable. We're like a family at the juvenile center. You look out for each other." Recently, a young, fellow officer passed away unexpectedly. The impact on Stacia was profound, reminding her of what is truly important in life. Yes, Stacia Wasmundt is big into family. No matter where she goes or what she does, family will be what she builds.