Student spotlight: Internship leads to dream job in assets protection at major employer

A college student's frequent dream is that an internship is so successful that the employer offers him or her the chance to stay by accepting a great job upon graduation.

Jordan Conner's dream job is in the growing and vital area of assets protection. Those employed in the field work to mitigate theft while creating a safe environment for both employees and consumers. Conner so impressed those supervising him in his internship with Target Corporation that the company offered him a right-out-of-school position with the word "executive" in its title once he receives his bachelor's degree in May 2021. 

After serving his state as a correctional officer in Arizona and serving his country in the Navy working on the decks of several aircraft carriers, Conner entered ASU's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (SCCJ).

Read on to find out more about Conner's educational journey:

Q. Tell us a little about yourself today and your early years.

A.  During the 2010 recession, work was hard to come by, so I attended Glendale Community College using student loans. I subsequently worked for the state of Arizona as a correctional officer for two years, followed by a five-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy. I was an aviation boatswain’s mate on the flight deck for three different aircraft carriers. I did everything from chipping rust and painting, to working my way up to Flight Deck Control, where I was responsible for organizing flight plans and displays for flight operations alongside other commanders. Eventually I joined the crash-and-salvage firefighting crew, where I learned the ins and outs of fighting fires as well as how to save the lives of pilots. Now I’m enjoying the benefits of my service, getting my education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. I started drinking coffee when I was younger, then drank copious amounts to get through the military. I’m a living example that coffee does not stunt everyone’s growth.

Q.  What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

A.  When I was going to high school, I had an artistic bent, but my interests started changing and I wanted to serve my country and community with a more hands-on approach. I decided to work inside a correctional institution not only to gain valuable skills and experience, but also to have something more than a degree when it came time for my future career. I wanted to understand not only how people landed in prison, but who these people were individually. My time as a correctional officer was a very fast two years and I learned a lot. I couldn’t imagine studying any other field than criminology and criminal justice, because people are very complicated and I find that fascinating.

Q.  Why did you choose ASU? 

A.  ASU has one of the best criminology and criminal justice programs in the country. Many of the professors I have had the privilege of learning from have experience in the police force, conducting research or even directly changing policies that affect our laws. ASU Downtown is also located in close proximity to many agencies that are directly involved in the criminal justice system. 

Q.  What do you hope to do with your degree after college?

Next May I will have earned my bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. At this time, I have received an official job offer from the Target Corporation to start off as an executive assets protection manager. In this position, I will be responsible for everything from safety and security, to directly leading a large group of people and ensuring they follow best practices. These come in the form of store opening and closing procedures and knowing how to respond to emergencies. I will also be partnering with other executives to make sure the employees under their care maintain a safe and secure culture. When I was going through my summer internship, I couldn’t believe what a good time I was having working for this company. There was far more to learn than I could have guessed. 

Q.  What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those students following behind you?

Do not be too fixated on one specific goal or job. Be open to as many opportunities as possible, especially amid the current challenges we are facing. With my first child due this November, all that I do is for the sake of my family. Even if you are currently a young single person, you never know what life might bring in the next few years. It is helpful to think more long-term so you will be prepared for what life brings your way.

Q.  What’s the most important thing you’ve learned at ASU – about yourself, about what you’re studying, anything -- that came to you as a complete surprise?

When I started going to ASU, I had to re-learn how to be a student after so many years in the workforce. I had not been to school for seven years and was surprised by how challenging it was initially. But in the end, I was reminded of earning my sea legs in the Navy. Now I get to discover how to be a father while finishing up my last year.

Q.  What are your top three favorite music artists right now?

A.  ALEX (Growing Up Vol. 2), Hozier, Anime soundtracks.

Q.  What is something you think would surprise people to learn about you?

Even though I enjoy working with other people and am an effective communicator, I am a hardcore introvert. I love spending time away from people. It gives me the energy I need to tackle the next day. On an aircraft carrier, this was impossible! We had approximately 6,000 sailors aboard a single ship.

Q.  What’s your life motto in one sentence?

A.  I can’t take credit for this quote, but if I’m going to choose a life motto it is these words from the Roman philosopher Lucius Seneca (Seneca the Younger): “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Mark J. Scarp
Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions
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