The Big Ten Conference recently announced that Kelsey Kiper was selected as a recipient of the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. Kelsey was one of 39 student-athletes from Indiana named a Distinguished Scholar. The award is given to student-athletes from each Big Ten institution and 33 different sports who have earned a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year.
Kelsey is a M.A. candidate in the Department of Criminal Justice. She just completed her first of the two year program while still playing field hockey in order to complete her NCAA eligibility. Kelsey had the unique opportunity to graduate from her undergraduate studies a full academic year early, which she credits to a combination of attaining college credit from high school and being academically pushed by her coaches and athletic academic advisors. “Coach Amy Robertson and the whole Indiana University Field Hockey Program really embraces the notion of developing the whole person not just the athlete, for success. Your work ethic, dedication, and commitment to success really translate from the field to create habits of excellence in the classroom and in every aspect of your life.”
Kelsey also credits the Department of Criminal Justice for her success and in helping shape her future career goals: “Having the opportunity to take such fascinating courses as ‘Espionage in the 21st Century,’ ‘Abnormal Psychology,’ ‘Crime and Madness’ ‘Foundations of Criminal Investigations’ and ‘Girls, Violence and Antisocial Behavior’ has simply reaffirmed my deep-seated interest in the psychological aspects of criminal behavior. The department really provides students with a unique opportunity to take the idea of criminal justice and expand it so that limits do not exist. The way in which the department, both undergraduate and even more so at the graduate level, embraces the interdisciplinary aspectsof the field makes it in my opinion one of the premiere programs in the country.”
The Graduate School recently announced that Heather Pruss was awarded a Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship. This highly selective program provides advanced doctoral students the opportunity to be a junior faculty member in a host department. Heather will be teaching at the Department of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Heather credits her extensive teaching experience as both an Instructor and Associate Instructor in our department with preparing her for this opportunity: “Getting the chance to teach as early as my first year of graduate school has made all the difference. Teaching is a skill that requires practice; this department puts graduate students at a distinct advantage by giving us space to learn and grow pedagogically. The experience and support of our amazing faculty are crucial components to this growth.” Heather also points to her own classroom experiences in our department with inspiring her to excel in this area professionally: “I have had so many amazing professors throughout my graduate coursework. Their innovative and earnest efforts helped me appreciate the positive impact an instructor’s commitment to pedagogy can have on student's learning. I can only hope that my own students feel the same way.”
Heather is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Criminal Justice. She has been an Instructor for Research Methods, as well as an Associate Instructor for Introduction to Criminal Justice, Research Methods, and The Death Penalty in America. She currently is working on her dissertation, which explores the role of gender in the context of capital juror/jury decision-making.
Provost Hanson recently announced that CJUS Major Amanda Stahl has received the Charles and Jo Ann Linsmith Scholarship from the Indiana University Alumni Association. The scholarship was established in 2001 to recognize the dedication and devotion of Indiana University Alumni Association staff members and students. In her letter, Provost Hanson noted Stahl’s strong academic work in criminal justice, as well as her work as cadet for the IUPD, teaching assistant in HPER, and as president of IUSAA all clearly demonstrated her hard work, community engagement, and character. It also was notable that Amanda, who is minoring in Spanish, also was Student Coordinator and Orientation Leader For First Year Experience Programs, Welcome Week Assistant, Co Founder of Foot Notes (IU's tap club), and ASAP Planning Committee Member. She also serves on the planning committee for the Student Involvement Fair.
Amanda credits the Department of Criminal Justice for her successes and in helping her shape her career goals. “The Criminal Justice Department has been a great asset in helping to point me in the right direction after IU. I have taken many valuable classes that have allowed me to focus on my future career goals. For instance, my freshman year I took Professor Cohen's Foundations of Crime Investigation which only expanded my interest in the field of law enforcement. I also enrolled in Juvenile Delinquency, with Professor Herrera. In her class, we examined why juveniles commit crime and many different aspects such as the risk for society as well as the best treatment for them. I have found that the Department’s professors and advisors are always willing to go out of their way to help you on anything you need. The Department has made me feel more comfortable in choosing my classes as well as planning for my future. When I first entered IU, I was unsure of my career path, through the Criminal Justice Department, I was able to find my place and know that I will be successful in my future endeavors!”
“The Criminal Justice Department has taught me the importance of being able to consider multiple perspectives on legal issues, and to understand not only legalities, but also the social aspects behind them. For example, my senior year I took Professor Marla Sandys’ Capital Punishment course, P416. In that class, we studied the evolution of laws resulting in current capital punishment statutes. We also studied methods of execution and case studies of specific individuals who had faced capital punishment. This class did more than make me aware of the laws surrounding the death penalty, it also forced me to consider my stance on the issue. Along those lines, Professor Leon Pettiway’s P418 class on street crimes studied the sociological issues behind criminal justice-related occurrences such as graffiti and prostitution. The subject matter was not only fascinating but also the type that forced me to consider why such crimes occur, and how to solve the underlying issues. The Criminal Justice Department has been incredibly supportive in assisting me with completing my major and planning for my future. The professors are easily accessible, and go out of their way to foster education and personal growth. I truly feel as though the Criminal Justice Department has prepared me for a first rate legal education. While much of being a lawyer involves the ability to know the law inside and out, another factor is being able to consider where you stand on an issue, and whether the laws that you are fighting for are just.”
Sarah Reist, class of 2010, will be attending Vanderbilt University Law School. She majored in Criminal Justice and Psychology, and minored in Sociology. Sarah’s honors include: The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Beta Kappa, Dean’s Scholar, and member of the Hutton Honors College. She served as Scholarship Chair, and a member of the planning committee for her sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, as well as Assistant Treasurer and member of the Corporate Relations committee for their philanthropy, Big Man On Campus, which raised over $340,000 for breast cancer research in her three years as a member. She was on the board for the Greek Honors Council, and served on the panel of the Student External Review Board for the Criminal Justice Department. She volunteered her time to the Hutton Honors College Freshman Mentoring Program, College Mentors for Kids, and the Habitat for Humanity Greek Build Project.
“One particular skill that the Criminal Justice Department has helped me to develop is the ability to examine legal issues from multiple perspectives. As a freshman, I remember taking Professor Hal Pepinsky’s class, Alternative Social Control Systems, (P202) and thinking that some of the theories discussed in the class were unfamiliar and strange. I took other criminal justice courses that involved group work, where I remember thinking that some of my classmates’ views on legal issues were unfamiliar and strange. Yet, in other criminal justice courses, the professors forced me to think about my views on certain legal issues, leading to my own beliefs seeming unfamiliar and strange. As I head into my final semester of college with plans of pursuing a legal education, I am most grateful to the Criminal Justice Department for exposing me to a wide variety of legal perspectives and forcing me to examine my own beliefs on legal issues. The Criminal Justice Department, including the professors, associate instructors, and advisors has always been a close-knit community where I have felt free to express my thoughts and ideas… no matter how unfamiliar and strange.”
Mark Molter, class of 2010, will be attending Notre Dame Law School. He was a criminal Justice major as well as an IU Police Officer. He also majored in Political Science and minored in Religious Studies. Mark has earned numerous recognitions, including Phi Beta Kappa, Adam Herbert Presidential Scholar, Hutton Honors College Scholar, Dean's Excellence Scholar, Indiana Sheriff's Association Scholarship (2006), Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta National Academic Honor Society for freshmen, Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, Founder's Day Scholar, and National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Fifth-year graduate student Aleks Snowden publishes articles in the American Journal of Public Health and Contemporary Drug Problems. The articles test the sociopolitcal background and effects of the 2003 Slovenian National Assembly's legislation limiting the availability of alcohol in an attempt to reduce consumption and alcohol-related harm. Snowden has worked, over the last two years, with Professor William Pridemore, who is a leading expert on alcohol consumption and suicide. In their first article, they described the events leading up to the policy, including the actions of politicians, public health experts, and business interests. This article, entitled “The 2003 Slovenian alcohol policy: Background, supporters, and opponents,” appeared in 2008 in Contemporary Drug Problems. In their second article, they used interrupted time series techniques to examine the impact of this policy on suicide rates in the country. They found that the policy led to an immediate and permanent 10% reduction in suicide mortality among Slovenian males. This article, entitled “Reduction in suicide mortality following a new national alcohol policy in Slovenia: An interrupted time-series analysis,” was published in 2009 in American Journal of Public Health. “Aleks did great work on this project,” commented Professor Pridemore. “It was her idea in the first place. She brought the new policy to my attention and suggested we look at it more closely. We did so by examining the events that led to the policy’s enactment and its subsequent effect on Slovenia’s high suicide rate among men.” Professor Pridemore noted that “AJPH is one of the leading public health journals in the world, and to publish in it as a graduate student reflects Aleks’ careful work.”
Judah Schept is a fifth year graduate student and PhD candidate. Judah received his BA in Sociology from Vassar College, where he participated for two years in a fieldwork placement at a men’s maximum-security prison. He credits this program with changing his academic direction and considers it a seminal politicizing experience. Since then, Judah has been active in community organizing efforts and national activism around the prison industrial complex. Indiana University recently awarded Judah the prestigious John H. Edwards Fellowship, recognizing his academic performance and dedication to community empowerment. Having completed his qualifying examinations and successfully defended his dissertation proposal, Judah has begun conducting local ethnographic research that explores Monroe County’s plans to expand the adult and youth jail systems. He is particularly interested in studying the discourses of rationalization for and resistance to the proposed expansion, paying close attention to how local narratives of crime, safety and justice relate to and differ from national-level and urban narratives. Judah recently taught an undergraduate seminar course on social movements, resistance and law and currently teaches our undergraduate “Alternative Systems of Control” core course.
Our first-year graduate students are outstanding. Meet, for example, Alexa Sardina. Alexa, who grew up in Lewiston NY, earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Emory University. She also graduated with an MA in Criminal Justice from Boston University, where she won the award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. Her research has focused on marginalized rape victims and their experience in society, especially throughout the criminal justice system. Her major research areas focus on sexual violence against women, juvenile justice, and sexual perpetrators. Alexa brings practical experience to our department; e.g., she has worked in Atlanta, Georgia's juvenile court system with abused and neglected children. She also reflects our department's strong commitment to social justice. In 2001, she founded what would develop into a highly successful non-profit organization that assists rape victims and their families; she continues to be involved with the organization as she seeks other ways to respond better to victims of sexual violence.