I did not choose a career in corrections; it chose me! I had been working at a bank for 71/2 years and became disillusioned with the financial industry. I decided to apply for a position as a secretary/receptionist at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp and was ultimately hired. I was 25 years old at the time and knew very little about corrections. I soon realized that I had a lot to learn.
During those initial years I continued to be challenged by the work I was assigned and broadened my skills with each new task. I was promoted to positions that included responsibility for inmate accounts and inmate files. In addition, I wrote successful grant applications that provided funding for GED and English as a second language classes.
One of the most challenging and rewarding projects that I was assigned involved the construction of a new facility. I managed the financial aspects of the project and worked directly with the contractors and the architects. I was eventually promoted to the position of Executive Assistant to the Warden.
I have been fortunate to have many correctional professionals as mentors in my career. One mentor in particular encouraged me to further my education. He stated that the corrections profession was changing and that in the next few years it was going to become necessary to have an undergraduate degree and that if I wanted to be considered for future promotional opportunities, I would need a degree. Heeding his advice, I began evening and weekend undergraduate courses and in 2000, I completed my bachelor’s degree in Administration of Criminal Justice at the University of Wyoming.
It was shortly after obtaining my degree that I was promoted to Lieutenant. I learned early on to take advantage of opportunities that were presented to learn more about the security aspect of the institution, an important element of correctional facility management.
In early 2004, I was given the opportunity to temporarily fill the Chief of Operations position at the Wyoming Department of Corrections Central Office. It was a position that was critical to the department and needed to be filled immediately. Later, I was hired to fill the position on a permanent basis. After approximately 2 years in this position, I decided that I wanted to return to the institution. In July 2006, I was appointed as the Associate Warden of the Wyoming Women’s Center which is the position I now hold.
I have worked for the Wyoming Department of Corrections for 21 years and recently achieved the American Correctional Association’s Certified Corrections Executive (CCE) status.
This career takes hard work, commitment, and determination. I have a great passion for my work which has been challenging and rewarding. I look forward to going to work each day to see what will unfold!