Alumni Spotlight: Trevariana Mason

February 22, 2024

Photo of Tre MasonTrevariana (Tre) Mason is a graduate of the MSU School of Criminal Justice Master's Program in Criminal Justice. Tre is a Senior Data & Policy Analyst at The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.


Can you tell us about your life before coming to MSU?

I was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan. I am the youngest of all my siblings. Prior to attending MSU, I attended Central Michigan University (CMU) where I majored in Criminal and Social Justice with a minor in Psychology. While at Central Michigan University I joined the Sigma Kappa chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.


What interested you in coming to MSU for your master's degree?

Michigan State University is such a prestigious university, while applying to the master’s program I researched several Criminal Justice programs and MSU met the criteria of what I needed and wanted from a university. MSU’s CJ program is well respected throughout the country with several esteemed professors and faculty who produce impactful work. The program was highly ranked and there were several resources for students in the program. By choosing to apply to MSU and once accepted, I was confident I positioned myself within a community dedicated to scholarly achievement and societal impact, which would further serve as a rewarding and enriching educational experience.


What has been the most fulfilling part of your career?

The most fulfilling part of my career has been the experiences I have had working with marginalized communities. Since the death of Mike Brown and the uprising around his death I have always known that my life’s work would be dedicated to make communities safe and to provide spaces where Black, Brown, and disenfranchised people could share their life stories. I’ve been able to view the criminal legal system through several (spectrums) and have continued to note that there is more work that needs to be done. Each sector of the criminal legal system is interconnected and has secondary consequences for any individual directly involved in the system and their families. Much of the work I have been a part of and work I plan to complete highlights the areas in which society can be better and can band together to make communities better.


What are some of the most important skills for someone to have/learn to have a successful career as a data and policy analyst?

Successful careers in data and policy analysis, especially when dealing with system-impacted individuals, require a blend of forward thinking, compassion, effective communication, and several technical skills. It's crucial to present findings in a way that is understandable to those most affected. After all, what's the use of a report that only colleagues comprehend? If our work remains confined to academic spaces, without reaching the communities we aim to assist, its impact is limited. True progress in the field demands consistently pushing boundaries and ensuring our research serves a practical purpose. Personally, navigating tools like SPSS, NVivo, R, and Tableau has required varied levels of expertise, underscoring the importance of versatile technical skills in this journey.


How do you feel that the School of Criminal Justice has helped you throughout your career?

The School of Criminal Justice has been instrumental in shaping my career trajectory on multiple occasions. Celebrated for its excellence in the field, the university has offered me invaluable support, notably through the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Cobbina-Dungy. Her unwavering advocacy and support have been a constant throughout my graduate studies and transition into the career field. Having a mentor genuinely invested in both student success and the advancement of the field has been truly uplifting and inspiring. Thanks to the experience provided by the School of Criminal Justice, I was not only equipped for employment but also empowered to drive meaningful change within the field.


Do you have any advice for current students?

My advice to current students is to actively contribute to the advancement of the criminal justice field; continue to push the field of criminal justice forward. There is so much work to be done and your experience at MSU and with the School of Criminal Justice will be an experience to remember. Make the most of every resource at your disposal to grow both personally and professionally. Whether you choose to enter the workforce after completing your master's degree or choose to pursue further education, recognize that your MSU experience is one of a kind and offers unique opportunities for development and impact.