SPOTLIGHT: Michael Nelson

Lt. Michael Nelson wants to be at the forefront of industry standards in criminal justice.

“The field of criminal justice is always evolving and becoming increasingly evidence-based. As a police lieutenant with UPPS, I wanted to enhance my education in the criminal justice field to better serve the community and department implementing best practices,” Nelson said.

In August, Nelson earned his master’s degree in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration through Penn State World Campus.

Earning a degree while working fulltime can have its challenges.

“The most challenging part of the process was balancing my professional and educational career along with family and personal life. Although challenging, the flexibility within Penn State World Campus and accommodating professors made this dream possible,” Nelson said.

Despite challenges, Nelson fulfilled a lifelong goal thanks in part to the support of loved ones.

“Although receiving my master’s degree was one of my biggest personal life accomplishments and milestones, the most rewarding part of the process was having the love, encouragement, and support of my wife, family and friends,” Nelson said.

Nelson also appreciates the support and encouragement he received from UPPS, including his supervisor.

“I thank everyone who supported me during this journey and am excited to use my education and skills to better serve the community and department I work for,” Nelson said.

As a patrol lieutenant, Nelson oversees the evening shift patrol platoon’s daily operations and the Community Oriented Policing officer at University Park. In this role, he oversees and evaluates current crime trends, supports and participates in community engagement opportunities, special events operational planning, and serves as a committee chair for UPPS Health, Wellness, & Safety initiatives exploring best practices for employee wellness.

Records Specialist Tasha Rega, who serves at UPPS headquarters, completed this same program alongside Nelson while serving UPPS fulltime.