Government majors make a difference
SFA’s government majors go on to do great things. Our graduates become city planners, lawyers, police officers and much more, and you’ll find them living and working in communities across Texas and around the country. But no matter where they live, our graduates all make their communities safer, better places to live – and they all got their start in the Department of Government.
Jamal Allen, '16
BA in criminal justice, law enforcement
Knowing he wanted to be a game warden, Allen tailored his diverse academic pursuits to prepare him for the field. He majored in criminal justice and minored in forestry, and he stayed active outside of the classroom. As a 2016 SFA graduate and Texas game warden in Jefferson County, the reality of his job directive to "protect and preserve the natural resources of the state of Texas" could, on any given day, mean anything from natural disaster response to hunting and fishing compliance. The vast and varied job duties of a game warden are all firmly grounded in Texas law enforcement and resource protection. The latter is something Allen's connected with his whole life, having grown up hunting and fishing in the woods and fields of his rural East Texas hometown of Frankston.
Karina Erickson, Class of ‘14
BA in political science and government
Karina began her political career at SFA, interning in the Texas Legislature in Austin, Texas, for State Representative Travis Clardy. She returned to Nacogdoches to complete her senior year and manage Clardy’s re-election campaign. Upon graduation, Karina moved to Washington, D.C., earning her master’s degree in political management at The George Washington University. She serves as senior communications advisor at the Texas General Land Office under the leadership of Commissioner George P. Bush.
Alaina Helton, Class of ‘13
Alaina Helton is the director of planning and neighborhood services in Lufkin, Texas. She is a certified public manager and her key areas of interest include urban revitalization and using sustainable urban planning to create resilient cities. She has worked as a city planner in Frisco and Lufkin, and she spent two years as a graduate assistant managing the Texas Certified Public Manager Program at SFA. Alaina’s academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a Master of Public Administration, both from SFA.
Gezim (“Zimmy”) Bajrami, Class of ‘09
BA in government
Gezim Bajrami graduated from SFA with a Bachelor of Arts in government in 2009. From there, he went on to attend Seton Hall Law School, earning his Juris Doctorate in 2013. He served as an intern to the New York City Council and is now a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
Erich Lehmann, Class of ‘09
Erich Lehmann came to SFA on a baseball scholarship. After taking a few criminal justice courses his freshman year, he made the decision to pursue a career in law enforcement, and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May of 2009. Erich joined the Irving Police Department in September of 2009. After spending six years as a patrol officer, he applied for a position as a field training officer.
During his two years working with rookie officers as they got out into the field, Erich realized that he was as passionate about teaching as he was about law enforcement. Erich is now a background investigator with the Irving Police Department, where he is a vital part of the Irving Police Department’s recruiting program.
Jason Gibson, Class of ‘95
After he graduated with honors from SFA, Jason Gibson earned a law degree from the University of Houston. Jason is the founder of The Gibson Law Firm in Houston, Texas. The grandson of O.D. Kenmore, a well-known Texas union representative, Jason keeps the family tradition alive by representing injured workers. He has won millions of dollars for his clients and their families. At 31 years old, he became one of the youngest lawyers to serve on the board of directors for the Houston Trial Lawyers Association and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.
While at SFA, Jason was active in several extracurricular activities, including boxing and theater. He is still interested in acting, and has appeared in feature films, including Blunt Force Trauma and Misconduct.
Ryan Holt, Class of ’95
Ryan Holt transferred to SFA as a sophomore. After spending his freshman year studying business at a large, impersonal university, he was looking for smaller classes and more opportunities to interact with his professors. He felt right at home at SFA, and he soon changed his major from business to criminal justice. During his time as a Lumberjack, Ryan served as a photographer and sports editor for the Pine Log (his minor was mass communication) and he was the editor of the Stone Fort yearbook.
Rep. Marvin L. Abney, Class of ‘75
Marvin Abney obtained his public administration degree because of the public service and business focus, which he has utilized well in the last five years as a representative of Rhode Island. Abney serves residents of Newton and Middletown in District 73, and he is chairman of the House Finance Committee.
Following his time at SFA, Abney served 20 years in the Army, including a stint as the company commander at NATO Headquarters in Belgium, Germany. Now a retired Major, Abney also serves on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Abney still takes time to travel to Texas for the Battle of the Piney Woods with his fraternity brothers every year. He holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration and he graduated in 1975.
Bill Owens, Class of ‘73
After Bill Owens earned his undergraduate degree in political science from SFA, he attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, where he earned a master’s degree.
Bill started his career working for a large accounting firm, and eventually relocated to Colorado. In 1982, he launched his political career when he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. In 1994, after serving in the Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado State Senate for several years, Bill ran for state treasurer. He was elected governor of Colorado in 1998, and he served two terms.