Erik Milzcik MS’15, PhD’16

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Research and Data Analysis Manager, Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing

What do you do?

I work in the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to create and maintain a consistent and rational criminal sentencing policy throughout the Commonwealth. In addition, I have worked in research and statistics for the Arizona Supreme Court and a county prosecutor’s office. Prior to my government work, I worked in corporate security for a Fortune 100 company. Throughout my career I have been using data to analyze crime and criminal justice practices in order to better inform policy decisions.

How do you use your EPPS education in your current profession?

My EPPS education in the Criminology program is the bedrock of my career. I appreciate how the program and faculty provided an education applicable to policy workers as well as academics. The union of theory and policy has been invaluable while conducting government research. I also cannot emphasize enough that quantitative data analysis is the key to government research, making the EPPS Criminology program’s quantitative focus a perfect fit for social science careers.

What value has your EPPS education brought to your life and/or work? 

Practical policy work requires a very flexible mindset, and a broad research expertise. I have worked on cybercrime, workplace violence, open source intelligence, hotspot analysis, crime trends, juvenile justice, operational research, and projection modeling. Since you cannot be an expert in everything, you need to learn how to learn. That is one of the strengths of my UTD education; the faculty gave me the tools to answer nearly any research question.

What advice would you give current and future EPPS students?

Have a plan, but be flexible. Realize there are lots of different jobs out there, many of which will be unknown to you until you have spent time in the field. Some skills, like computer programming, GIS, and statistics can benefit nearly any career.