Following in a father’s footsteps usually means inheriting the family business. But for father Scott Teal and daughter Sydney Teal, it means sharing a passion for keeping the public safe. They both followed their passion to the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at IUPUI.
Even in high school, Sydney knew she didn’t want to work the typical 9-to-5 corporate job. She spent her free time volunteering for the Special Olympics and teaching children with disabilities how to play soccer. Sydney wanted to work in a field where she could help people in her community.
Sydney was inspired in part by her father’s career. Scott earned his Master of Public Affairs with a concentration in Criminal Justice from SPEA at IUPUI in 1996. He is a senior special agent and violent crimes coordinator at the Lexington, Kentucky, office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. While he was studying at SPEA, Scott taught criminal justice classes part-time and interned with the Indianapolis Public Safety Director’s Office.
“I found the program at SPEA challenging and rewarding,” Scott said. “I took a wide range of classes—finance, public policy, management— that made me very marketable. I felt comfortable when I graduated and was interviewing for jobs, and that says a lot about the program here.” Scott also serves on SPEA’s Distinguished Alumni Council.
On many occasions, he has shared with SPEA students his experiences in responding to national disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. He also advises students on how to conduct a successful job search in federal law enforcement.
Choosing IUPUI was a “no-brainer” for Sydney, who wants to start her career in emergency management and eventually advance to federal law enforcement.
“I chose this career because I wanted to help victims of violent crime,” she said. “I want to serve others, and I want to see something new every day and have a career I enjoy and am passionate about.” Sydney graduated from SPEA with a degree in Public Safety Management and a minor in Criminal Justice. Sydney has completed internships with SPEA’s Washington Leadership Program as well as the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Division of Homeland Security. Sydney was also selected in IUPUI Top 100 and was selected in the Top 10 female category. She says only SPEA at IUPUI offers these kinds of experiences.
“Being right downtown is a benefit, because we can make connections to people in our field and complete internships in the summer,” she said. “And I don’t know of many other schools where the professors supplement their teaching with their own experience and advice.”