As a kid, Ivorie Stalling was fascinated by criminal justice. At college, she seized her opportunity and enrolled in the undergraduate criminal justice program at IU Bloomington. “I wanted to understand the criminal justice system. People think it’s all crime, crime, crime, but it’s about a lot more,” she says. During her undergrad program, she learned just how intriguing the field really is.
Her interest in the field continued to grow, and in 2020, Stalling enrolled in the IU Online MS in Criminal Justice and Public Safety through IU Northwest. The program was just getting started, but right away she knew it was a good fit.
Professors made it personal
“The people made it special,” she says. The department felt like a community. Everyone cared. “My advisors were key. I always looked forward to seeing them. They made my time at IU easier, more smooth. They recommended professors they knew were good.” What really stood out were her professors. “All my professors were amazing. They were really supportive. My connections with them made school so much more fun. Anything I needed they were right there.” They helped with assignments whenever she needed it. They sent additional resources to expand her studies. They supported her job search, writing letters of recommendation. “They weren’t just professors,” she says. “They were great relationships. That personal connection really does make a difference.”
Learning online means convenience
Stalling, like many online students, had a full life outside class. She was teaching and, at the same time, coaching volleyball, track, and field. While she admits to being “more of an in-person person,” her online degree offered the convenience she needed. “Online worked for me—the flexibility to take classes around my schedule, the professor’s flexible office hours.” She worked during the day, then went home to do her studies. “With online you can just pick up your computer and go. You can have balance in your life.”
Online means diversity and interaction
Stalling's online peers added depth and dimension to her studies. “My classmates were all different ages and backgrounds. That made discussions super interesting. I’ve met people on discussion boards I never would have met.”
The online format encouraged students to interact with each other. “In classes, we introduced ourselves, told what our interests were, and learned a lot about what we had in common—things you wouldn’t normally do in an in-person class.” Her classmates recognized fellow students in different classes. The many opportunities for engaging with each other deepened those relationships. “Outside Zoom we stayed in touch. We helped each other through things, more than we would have in person. We held each other accountable.”
The richness of collaborative programs
Stalling's master’s program is "collaborative," meaning it’s taught at multiple campuses: IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, and IU Southeast. For Stalling, this meant more opportunity to learn. “I took classes from many campuses, so had a variety of resources from all those campuses. I could speak to professors at any campus. I never felt lost.”
Stalling now teaches criminal justice to high school students in grades 10 through 12 in Gary, Indiana. Students come to class that first week with what Stalling calls “the TV view of criminal justice.” They wanted to solve cases. Stalling expands their view. “I try to give them a broad horizon of what the system entails—lawyers, police, social workers, emergency responders. I convey real-life situations.”
Teaching comes naturally to Stalling. “I enjoy teaching," she says. "It’s a good feeling knowing I can give back to my community. For my students I can be a teacher, mentor, and coach. I can guide them. These are things dear to my heart.” Stalling is also a proud member of the Sigma Phi Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.