11:38 AM

Harris County District Attorney Delivers Award of Recognition to College of Public Service


By Mike Emery

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has long been a supporter of the University of Houston-Downtown’s College of Public Service. Her office frequently collaborates with the college’s researchers on initiatives such as Project 180, which is aimed at helping victims of sex trafficking.

On Nov. 1, Ogg visited the college to show her appreciation for its efforts in educating future professionals in social work, criminal justice and urban education. She presented the college’s faculty and its dean, Dr. Jonathan Schwartz with an award of recognition during a ceremony conducted in the college.

“I have always thought of UHD and the College of Public Service as a resource,” said Ogg, who once taught at the college. “Many professionals enter the criminal justice job stream through this college. I’ve often found that your students are more prepared than those from other universities.”

Ogg also cited UHD and the college’s downtown location as beneficial to its students and the city.

“Students are learning real world applications in a convenient location,” she said. “That’s helpful for people with kids, jobs, and a future in serving this community.”

The District Attorney also thanked faculty members such as Dr. Rebecca Pfeffer, associate professor of criminal justice, for her participation in Project 180. The pilot program partners the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Houston Area Women’s Center and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office. It provides support services to women arrested for prostitution, between the ages of 17 and 24, who may be trafficking victims. Pfeffer is leading research efforts to evaluate Project 180’s effectiveness.

Ogg concluded her remarks and presented an official Recognition Award to college representatives Dr. Pfeffer; Dean Schwartz; Dr. Ashley Blackburn, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Work; Dr. Heather Goltz, associate professor of social work; Dr. Dawn McCarty, director of UHD's Social Work Program; and Dr. Eric Link, senior vice president for Academic & Student Affairs and Provost.

“We’re honored to be recognized by the District Attorney’s Office,” Blackburn said. “It’s very meaningful to our faculty, the college and the work that we do in the classroom and the community.”

In attendance at this event were faculty, staff, students and alumni – including Jacqueline Mayoral, who now worked for the Harris County D.A.’s Office while enrolled as a graduate criminal justice student.. Additionally, members of Ogg’s staff were on hand to honor the college.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.