I am a Lecturer of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Merrimack College with a Ph.D. in Sociology from Louisiana State University. My research interests fall broadly into the areas of criminology, community, and the social structures —both formal and informal— that connect them. While I have published on a wide range of topics from health to gentrification to refugee resettlement, my core focus and research remain on contextual factors and disadvantaged populations' contact with the criminal justice system. I specialize in quantitative and spatial methods to investigate these topics.
I received my B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminology and Psychology with an emphasis on Experimental Research from the University of Montana. My M.A. thesis at LSU focused on institutionally-disengaged youth, social capital, and homicide. My dissertation builds upon this dynamic between social structure and crime through my exploration into the relationships between collective resources and recidivism at the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels. I have published manuscripts in Social Science Research, Crime & Delinquency, Delinquent Behavior, PLOS One, and Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. My most recent publication, a collaborative piece with Matt Valasik and Mike Barton using Risk Terrain Modeling and egohoods to examine violent crime in Baton Rouge, is included in the forthcoming special issue of Criminal Justice Review.
I served on Louisiana's Justice Reinvestment Initiative research grant in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice from 2014 to 2018. We created processes to assess risk factors and criminogenic and non-criminogenic needs. Our tools help identify and provide services to returning citizens in order to help them successfully reintegrate into their home communities. Following the grant, Louisiana's Department of Public Safety & Corrections (DPS&C) hired me on in a consulting role. My post-grant work with DPS&C revolved around maintaining the Risk/Needs assessments and expanding the focus of the Needs Assessments and Treatment Pathways for other groups.
I am an active mentor for incoming graduate students (and beyond!) in my graduate department, truly enjoying building connections and guiding/preparing them for research, access, and academia. I also have served as an ad hoc reviewer for Social Problems, City & Community, Crime & Delinquency, Criminal Justice & Behavior, and Deviant Behavior.
I was awarded both the LSU Graduate School Dissertation Year Fellowship and the Roland J. Pellegrin Outstanding Graduate Student Award. I was also honored to be nominated for the LSU Alumni Association Teaching Award.
I joined the faculty of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Merrimack College in Fall 2020. I am teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level Research Methods in Criminology while I finish my dissertation.