Missouri State University
Emily Hrpcha

Emily Hrpcha

  • Major: Criminology
  • Second Major: Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • High School: Troy Buchanan
  • Hometown: Moscow Mills, Mo.
  • Certificate: Homeland Security and Defense
  • Minor: Spanish
  • Activities: Criminal Justice Society; intramural basketball

Horses, ex-cons and the FBI: Her career path

She connects her passion for horses and her work with ex-cons in preparation for her new job with the FBI.

Emily Hrpcha completed her graduate practicum at the Alpha House of Springfield, Inc., a reentry center for federal offenders and parolees.

She continues as a relief watch officer, where she works closely with parole officers and case managers to assist residents’ reintegration into society.

“I can use my background in psychology and experience with horses to relate to ex-offenders,” said Hrpcha. “Working with them is similar to working with a 1,200-pound animal. You have to learn to be patient.

"You have to learn to be understanding. You have to learn to be confident. And, you have to be an effective leader.”

Writing her capstone

Emily Hrpcha with horse in stable.

Hrpcha is taking her equestrian connection a step further by investigating the utilization of horses in criminal justice – for both therapy and law enforcement.

“I’ve done a few classes in Alpha House. When you bring ex-offenders to work with horses, they learn they need to be patient. They learn that when you work with a horse, it becomes a reflection of yourself and your character and your attitude on everything.”

Horses are an asset to law enforcement, when they are used in search and rescues, crowd control and community policing.

“When they’re riding a horse, an officer is not in the barrier of a police vehicle. They’re out in the community. Horses generally help build the relationship between officer and society.”

FBI agent in training

Emily Hrpcha attending to horse in stable.

After she graduates with her master’s in criminology, Hrpcha is off to Quantico, Virginia, to begin training with the FBI.

The application process extended more than a year.

“I learned a lot through the federal hiring process, and that hard work does pay off and aspirations do come true when you put your mind to it. I look forward to beginning this new chapter and all the experiences it brings.

“The master’s program really helped me learn how to keep a busy schedule, network, use resources and how to effectively communicate with a bunch of different people.”