Outstanding senior in criminal justice and criminology Jordan Sykes will carry the gonfalon for the College of Arts and Sciences during Washington State University graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 4, in Beasley Coliseum.
The honor of being selected gonfalon bearer recognizes Sykes’s outstanding achievement during his undergraduate career. Gonfalons are the shield-shaped banners that represent WSU’s 11 colleges at commencement events.
Described by one of his professors as “a powerful student role model,” Sykes has demonstrated his commitment to excellence in an array of scholarly and service activities.
In four years at WSU, he maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average and participated in significant criminology research.
His extensive leadership experience during that time includes serving as president for both the Criminal Justice Club and the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, as vice president of scholarship for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, as a judicial board member for the Associated Students of WSU, as vice president of Hillel, the WSU Jewish Students Organization, and as founder and president of the WSU Roller Hockey Club.
A member of the Pullman Police Advisory Committee and the Greek Standards Board, he also served as an ambassador for the WSU LAUNCH program, connecting newer students with high-impact learning opportunities, such as research, outreach and intellectual competitions.
“When I arrived at WSU, I made it my mission to make a meaningful impact,” Sykes said. “While I have attempted to accomplish this mission, I feel that, in turn, the University and the Pullman community have had such a profound impact on me that I will be forever indebted to this amazing community.”
While earning his bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice and criminology, Sykes, who hails from Canyon Country, California, attained a second major in Spanish for the professions. He earned minors in political science and business and a certificate in global leadership.
He completed two internships as well: one with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, where he organized and digitized case files for homicides; the other with the King County Sheriff’s Office, where he accumulated 121 hours of community service.
As a research assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, Sykes studied how marijuana legalization in Washington for recreational use affects police officers and crime, and presented his research at the Academy of Criminal Justice Science conference in Baltimore this spring.
Dale Willits, one of Sykes’s professors in criminal justice and criminology, praised his student’s serious approach to his academic and leadership roles. “Jordan is incredibly dedicated and responsible. When I ask him to handle a task, I know it will be done just as effectively as if I had handled it myself.”
Sykes’s hard work and contributions have been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2018 Greek Man of the Year; the 2018 President’s Award for Leadership; the Interfraternity Council’s Executive Board Officer of the Year; and numerous scholarship awards.
Last year, he studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, where he focused on international business, international relations and Spanish.
“Attending WSU has been the best the decision that I have made in my life, and I am beyond proud to be a Coug,” he said. “I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities that are available for students to grow.”
Following graduation, Sykes plans to make his birthright trip to Israel before embarking on a year-long position as regional director for Sigma Phi Epsilon. While his further career plans are uncertain, his personal mission is to make an impact on others by helping them pursue personal growth, he said.