Seth Fallik '08
When Seth Fallik was in high school, he never pictured himself doing what he’s doing now. He wanted to be a history teacher, and came to Dominican to play soccer and major in education. The soccer part he accomplished–he actually was captain of the team his senior year–but his studies took a different route.
A service trip to Biloxi, MS and two dedicated professors changed his mind. Douglas Keberlein Gutiérrez, associate professor of history and faculty athletic representative became a mentor both in and out of the classroom.
“Dr. Keberlein was both a part of my classroom life and at pretty much every one of our games,” says Fallik. “Having an avid supporter like that in the classroom and on the sidelines was pretty awesome.”
It was Keberlein Gutiérrez who challenged Fallik to choose a different major and eventually a new career path, encouraging Fallik to take sociology and criminology classes. Soon after that, Fallik began to discover his passion for social justice, but it wasn’t until he went on the Delta Blues trip with Janice Monti, professor of sociology and criminology that his path was set.
In Monti’s class, The Racial and Musical Legacy of the Mississippi Delta, Dominican students travel to Memphis and the Mississippi Delta to explore the musical and racial heritage of the region.
It was at Dominican where Fallik says he had his first experiences working with people who’ve been disenfranchised in society. These experiences have directly informed his current research into the effect of race and ethnicity on policing.
“Dr. Monti takes her students through some of areas of intensive poverty,” Fallik says. “Those experiences provided a lot of color to the statistics I encounter with my research. When you’ve seen it and can sympathize with it, it gives you a new level of understanding to the research."
“Dominican changed my perspective” he says.“I got some great experience through service learning. It changed my worldview on a lot of things. I worked for West Suburban PADS, which provides shelter and services for the homeless, and the social justice aspects of my Dominican degree were on display in that setting."
Upon graduation, Fallik went on to get his master’s degree in criminal justice and criminology from the University of Missouri–Kansas City, and is currently getting his PhD in criminal justice at Sam Houston State University.
Fallik says he chose Sam Houston State because of the level of opportunities students have to study and work with criminals. “There are more penitentiaries per square mile near Sam Houston State than any other campus in the country,” Fallik says. The criminal justice program at Sam Houston State was recently ranked as one of the top five programs in the country by the Journal of Criminal Justice.
He remains in touch with his advisors, professors and coaches from Dominican, and still has his DU Stars senior year jersey, signed by all his teammates, hanging in his office. But it’s the commitment to social justice that stayed with him the most.
“College truly is four years that last a lifetime,” he says.