Field Practice Program provides career clarity for Natasha Dubyk

October 29, 2019

By Adhil Naidu

Throughout her time at Simon Fraser University (SFU), criminology student Natasha Dubyk has always known that she would work in the criminal justice field. Narrowing down her interests, though, was a different story.

Through SFU’s Criminology Field Practice Program, Dubyk achieved some clarity about her career goals while gaining professional work experience. Working alongside the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA)’s Cruelty Investigations Department, Dubyk’s eyes opened to a whole new world.

“Working with the BC SPCA allowed me to see that I like being out on the road, responding to calls, interacting with people and hearing their stories, and protecting the animals that can't protect themselves,” Dubyk says. “There is a lot more that goes on than what you see on the news.”

For many people, the call-and-response nature of this job could bring about unwelcome stress. Luckily for Dubyk, the opportunity to ride-along with Animal Protection Officers allowed her to develop the necessary skills to handle high-pressure tasks.  

“The people of interest tend to assume that we’re immediately going to seize their animals,” says Dubyk. “In actuality, the emphasis is on educating the people of interest on how to relieve their animals’ distress—if distress is detected.”

She is grateful for the chance to participate in the competitive Field Practice Program because it provides criminology students with opportunities to apply their lessons to real-life situations. It also helps them to narrow their focus as they consider the wide array of career possibilities available to them after graduation. The program offers placements in diverse careers such as law, community corrections, policing and security, to name just a few.

For Dubyk, deciding which avenue to pursue sometimes felt overwhelming until the SPCA posting helped her to hone in on a career in law enforcement. She confidently recommends the Field Practice Program to other criminology students.

“I would encourage them to think about applying for positions that they may not have previously considered in addition to applying for the positions they think they’d like,” Dubyk says. “You might surprise yourself.”


Visit the Field Practice Program for full details on prerequisites, deadlines, and expectations.