Master’s Degree Helps Alumna Find a Dream Job

Rachel Young

Rachel Young earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration in 2013.

With a master’s degree from University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s criminal justice program and graduation only a few weeks behind her, Rachel Young applied for her first job as the Enhanced Drug Court Case Manager for Sarasota County. After a rigorous interview process, she was accepted.

“I take great pride in what I do and I love the job so far,” said Young. “I feel so lucky to have found it so quickly after graduating!”

Her enthusiasm for the position was indescribable since she had devoted most of her educational career to interning for drug courts and analyzed the success rates before and after they implemented the 16 strategies otherwise known as the different stages of treatment.

When a client comes into drug court, forms written out that outline the program requirements which must be met as well as the client’s individual goals that he or she may want to accomplish before leaving the program.

While all case plans share a common goal – to help individuals with substance abuse issues find sobriety and move on to have healthy lifestyles –they also can differ drastically because every individual has unique needs.

“Though I am familiar with what the scholarly research out there states regarding what does or does not work for adult drug courts,” said Young. “This position gives me the opportunity to experience first-hand what factors do or don’t help when dealing with adults who have co-occurring issues.”

Her graduate coursework in Criminal Justice Administration, two bachelor degrees from Western Michigan University in Criminal Justice and Psychology, an internship with juvenile drug courts and her numerous people-oriented work experiences helped provide her with a unique combination of skills which prepared her specifically for this position.

USFSM was also very instrumental by providing proactive professors who really helped Rachel find the enthusiasm that was necessary to meet deadlines and be successful in the program. The relationships with her professors along with the connections that USFSM had with local business leaders through career services was instrumental in help Young land in the right spot for her.

“I was able to learn what the latest research and evidence has concluded on drug courts which gave me great insight into what practices work and what practices do not work which has been extremely beneficial now that I landed this job because I can apply what I learned.”

She was able to translate the skills she acquired through USFSM and utilize them in the next stage of her life. Her interest of analyzing the factors that differentiate effective from ineffective programs in the Drug Courts became foundational for her new position.

The Drug Courts exists to provide participants with the opportunity to become productive, drug free members of the community. It is a court-supervised, comprehensive drug treatment court for eligible non-violent defendants. The voluntary program involves numerous appearances before the Drug Court judge, substance abuse treatment and frequent, random testing for substance abuse. All participants are required to appear in court every 30 to 45 days for a review by the Drug Court judge. and are put through different stages of treatment known as strategies.

As an Enhanced Drug Court Case Manager, Rachel contributes many services to the program.

Her role includes recruiting, assessing, planning, linking, monitoring, advocating and she is responsible for the screening of potential participants. This includes evaluating eligibility through background checks. She provides individual case management planning for each participant conducting weekly/monthly sessions and case management plan reviews such as veteran’s services, education and employment needs, life skills, and other various referrals.

She is responsible for linking participants to available community resources in order to ensure a successful case plan. Rachel ensures participant case plans, test results and relevant treatment or supervision data is collected, recorded and shared with team members in a timely manner. She advocates for the Drug Court Program and seeks new community relationships and resources.

Sarasota County wanted to enhance their Drug Court by helping people with substance abuse issues address their reoccurring disorders and/or health issues. While Rachel was in school, she performed extensive research on adult and juvenile drug courts. Because of this, she felt fully qualified and comfortable becoming the Enhanced Drug Court Case Manager so quickly after graduation.


 For more information on the Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, visit our programs page, and be sure to learn about the eight different graduate programs offered at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

If you would like to learn more about Graduate Admissions at USFSM, call: 941-359-4330.

To apply to USFSM, fill out an application online.