Degree: BS Criminology & Justice Studies and Psychology ’21
Concentration: Criminal Justice
Research Interests: Juvenile justice, incarceration, community-based justice, prison reform
Extracurricular activities: Criminal Justice Society, Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal Justice Honor Society), Ditrict Attorney’s Office Youth Aid Panel, Teaching Assistant for Community-based Learning
Awards: Pennoni Honors College, Dean’s List, GE Bowl Scholarship
What is the coolest experience you’ve had through your major?
The coolest experience I’ve had through the criminology department was taking a class in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (the largest male jail in Philadelphia) with 15 men who are incarcerated. We discussed issues within the justice and legal system and made an effort to break down the stigma of individuals who are incarcerated. Through this class, I created a blog called The Barcode Boys, which shares creative writings and reflections from the men in jail; I essentially created it so that they would have a voice even while incarcerated. These men taught me a lot about what it truly means to be human, while the class provided me with an entirely new perspective. After this class, I began doing research within prisons and became extremely passionate about advocacy for those incarcerated.
What were some of your most memorable travel experiences through Drexel?
In the fall of my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland for a semester. During that semester, I also traveled to 5 other countries as well. This trip showed me an entire part of the world that I had never seen before. I then also had the opportunity to go on the Scandinavia Intensive Course Abroad program ran by Jordan Hyatt in the Crim department. We were able to study prisons in Norway, the juvenile justice systems in Sweden, and crime prevention in Denmark.
Tell us about any research experiences you’ve had as a Drexel student.
During my time at Drexel, I was able to take part in several research projects that taught me truly how research can be conducted in a variety of studies. I initially started out in the STARS Scholar program where I coded police departments’ Twitter accounts and tweets to analyze the relationship between them and their community. Later on, I was able to join the Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab within the Psychology department where we performed research that aids in the school-to-prison pipeline. I currently do research that began in SCI Chester and am now working remotely on this project that will hopefully revolutionize the humanity behind the design of prison units.
Why would you recommend the CJS program at Drexel?
I would absolutely recommend the CJS program at Drexel because of the professors’ vast backgrounds, incredible knowledge, and the opportunities that are created. We are a fairly small department, so every student knows every professor on a first-name basis and they are more than willing to provide co-op, research, and independent study opportunities for students. The professors care about you and want to see you succeed. Everyone who works in this department is willing to help with class material, or even just chat about the newest serial killer documentary. They care a lot, and it really shows. Not to mention we have an amazing advisor who helps with any academic questions.
What advice do you have for a high school student looking for an undergraduate program?
My advice for anyone in high school currently looking at going to college would be to make sure that whatever university you are looking at offers you something. Whether it be academic resources, mental health resources, accessibility resources, or even potential research and job opportunities (or all of the above, which is what Drexel does), know that you shouldn’t only have to prove to them that you deserve to be there. They should also prove why they deserve to have you as a student. Also, look at the professors’ backgrounds and see if they match your interests. That will create an easy connection once you begin school.
What are your goals after graduation?
After graduation, I will be attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Science in Criminology program! I am very excited to further my research skills to hopefully work and make changes within the community-based integration of individuals who are being released from prison. Another goal is to help those currently living in inhumane prison environments by providing research as to why it is ineffective and what we can change. Our justice system needs a lot of work and I am hoping to help in any way that I can.