Davis to pursue master’s degree through UTM’s ranked online program

Patrick Davis graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a degree in criminal justice, receiving his diploma during commencement exercises on May 4. He will pursue a master’s degree at UTM through its highly-ranked online program.

Online Masters Colleges, a resource that ranks online higher education degree programs, ranked UT Martin’s online programs fifth among Tennessee’s colleges and universities last November.

Davis came to UT Martin from Jackson after graduating from Jackson-Central-Merry Early College High School.

“My experience at UT Martin has been great,” he said. “This school has given me a lot of opportunities, such as being an intern for the state in Nashville.”

Davis worked an internship in the Tennessee General Assembly with state Sen. Steve Southerland of District 9 (Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Sevier and Unicoi counties) during the spring 2023 semester and was able to see history unfold while working there.

On April 6, 2023, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to expel three state representatives – Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson, known as “The Nashville Three” – for violating the chamber’s decorum rules by leading protests for gun reform on the House floor.

“It was a good experience, but there was a lot going on at the moment, with gun (legislation debates) and the three senators and what happened to them,” he said. “Being there while all that was going on, that was truly an experience. If you have a passion for politics, that’s something that you definitely should do.

“Just being there and making connections with senators and representatives – trying to put your foot in the door – it was an amazing experience.”

Part of the criminal justice studies that Davis enjoyed was learning the criminological theories and putting them into practice working crime scenes. He praised professors like Dr. Danny Pirtle and Dr. Brian Donavant for helping him to see that criminal justice was a field that suited him well.

“Having mentors like that in a program can help students see if this is what they really want to do and go further into the program,” he said. “I really appreciate the professors in criminal justice for that.”

Davis completed his bachelor’s degree after three years of going to UT Martin.

“Everything went by so quickly (because of that),” he said. “Joining my fraternity has been a great experience – being able to give back not only to my campus but also the community of Martin as well, and I’ve met some great people here.”

Davis said he was encouraged to come to UT Martin by his father, a UTM alumnus.

“And, since my high school is an early college program, when I graduated high school, I had an associate’s degree in criminal justice,” he said. “UT Martin was one of the only schools that helped with the transition, so when I got here, the transition was easier and I was already a junior.”

Davis is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice honor society, the Black Student Association and Men of Excellence. He was also a senator in the Student Government Association for the College of Education, Health and Behavioral Sciences.

“One thing about the fraternities, especially in the National Pan-Hellenic Council, is that it’s a lifelong commitment,” he said. “It keeps going until the day you die. That’s one thing that I like about it, that even after college, I’m still able to serve my community by representing Alpha.”

Davis said his experience at UT Martin has helped him become a more confident and more outgoing person.

“I’m glad that UT Martin has changed me for the better,” he said. “I always tell people that if you go to college and you’re not stepping outside of your comfort zone – if you’re not doing things that make you uncomfortable like speaking to people and doing interviews – then you’re not having the right college experience. My experience is that it has made me a more confident, uplifting person.

“I have really enjoyed my experience here and would definitely recommend UT Martin to upcoming first-year students. It’s No. 1 on my list.”

PHOTO: Patrick Davis, a spring 2024 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, is shown on campus prior to his commencement exercises. Davis, a Jackson native, received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and will pursue a master’s degree in the field through UT Martin’s highly-ranked online courses.

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