As student-athletes plan out their college careers, the classes they choose help them to decide what the future might hold. For some, it could be a career in communications or four more years of graduate studies to become a doctor.
For two teammates from the WSU softball team, the end of their college careers will have them trading in their bats and gloves for badges and guns.
Senior infielder Stephanie Mathias and junior utility Alyson Kulp are both enrolled at WSU in the criminal justice program, and both are seeking a career in law enforcement.
Kulp is the next generation in a long line of police officers, which includes her grandfather and her brother.
“For me, being in law enforcement has been a family thing,” Kulp said. “I have had so many in my family show a great example of honor in law enforcement that I have always wanted to follow in their footsteps.”
Mathias first garnered an interest in law enforcement as a young girl in elementary school.
“When I was in elementary school, we went on a field trip to our local police department,” Mathias said. “From that moment on, I always knew that I wanted to be one of them.”
Thoughout their high school careers, they kept their childhood dreams close to heart, and when the time came to pick a college, they left their California homes to play ball and study law in Ogden, Utah.
“When I told my friends and family I was going to Weber State, they questioned it,” said Mathias. “But then they saw how there was both a softball program and a nationally-recognized criminal justice program, the move just made perfect sense.”
The criminal justice program at Weber State is one of the top programs in the region, and boasts one of the few master’s degrees in criminal justice. It is one of the departments that is a major draw for students both in the state and out of state. For both Kulp and Mathias, this was the deciding factor to attend WSU.
“At first, I was offered an opportunity to play ball for the Wildcats,” Kulp said. “And when I saw everything that was possible with the criminal justice program, I was sold.”
As they are at different levels in both class standing and on the field, they have become an effective system of support for each other off the field.
“It has been great having Stephanie as a classmate, roommate and a teammate,” Kulp said. “When the classes have gotten tough and I have had questions on how to do things, she has been there to both encourage and tutor me in what I am learning.”
When you ask Mathias, she couldn’t agree more with Kulp.
“I have loved how our classes have lined up in such a way that we are a support to each other,” Mathias said. “There have been times where I have taken a class that she is in, and she has done the same for me countless times.”
Despite all the success they have had in their classes and on the field, they both are going where few have gone before. As women aspiring to be police officers, they know they are uncommon. But knowing they are uncommon has made them proud.
“I feel it is an honor for me to do what I do,” Mathias said. “I hope that young girls everywhere can look to me and realize that if they put their minds to it, anything is possible.”
These two ladies won’t let anything stop them from succeeding. Both on and off the field, they are examples to us all. Someday, when the games are over and the bats are put away, their sisterhood will carry on as they protect and serve on a new team.
“Hard work and dedication have brought me to where I am today, ” Kulp said. “I hope that all girls can break through the social norms and be whatever they want to be, so long as they put forth the effort.”