Graduate Students


Lucy Acosta

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.A., University of Illinois at Chicao


Meghna Bhat

M.S., St. Joseph's University
B.A., Mumbai University
Curriculum Vitae |

My areas of specialization include gender-based violence prevention and intervention, South Asian criminology, victimization and popular culture, hate crimes. My dissertation fills an important gap in the literature about how Indians in the United States perceive, define and interpret the portrayal of violence against women (VAW) in a widely viewed form of popular culture: Bollywood cinema. Recommendations from the study can be used to create gender sensitivity and gender equality education programs and draw policy implications using popular culture both in India and the USA. 


Chris Cox

J.D., Northern Illinois University
M.A., University of Illinois at Springfield
B.S., Fort Hays State University
Curriculum Vitae |

My research focuses on criminal justice processing in the military, specifically focusing on sexual assault and decision-making by lawyers and judges.


Matthew DeSalvo

B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University

Escamilla, Justin

Justin Escamilla

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.A., University of Nebraska - Lincoln | BSB 4076B

The research I conduct focuses on the factors that affect the quality of interactions between police officers and community members. My dissertation explores the possibility of measuring and developing emotion-related communication skills in police officers and the potential impact on interactions. I have a background in the study of psychology and I specialize in surveys and quantitative police research. My interests include criminal justice policy, police interactions and decision making, emotions in the workplace, leadership and human development. 


Shannon Harper

M.P.A, University of Colorado - Denver
B.A. (2), University of Utah
Curriculum Vitae |

Specialty areas: Intimate partner homicide, intimate partner violence,
sexual violence, criminal justice policy, courtroom decision-making,
qualitative/quantitative research methods, and criminal/family law.


Anne Kirkner

M.A., Colorado State University
B.A., Penn State

My specialty areas include violence against women, community sexual assault prevention, responses to sexual assault victims, and service provision for victims.


Jize Jiang

Ph.D Candidate
M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
LL.B, w/ Distinction from China

He is interested in studying law, crime and punishment in comparative perspective and, at the theoretical level, institutional analysis. His research highlights broader social structural contexts and dynamic social processes that undergird law, crime and punishment. The more fundamental question he pursues is how state institutions, state-society relations and politics shape the processes of social order and disorder.

His current projects focus on how (im)migration influences crime and punishment in the United States and China. His ongoing dissertation research examines why and how the bifurcation of immigration control in the United States—divided between punitive and integrative approaches—has developed over the past two decades.

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Kathy Lorenz

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.S., Central Michigan University
Curriculum Vitae |

My specialty areas include violence against women, sexual assault victimization, alcohol-involved sexual assault, informal and formal social reactions to sexual assault survivors, reporting sexual assault crimes, and procedural justice as it relates to sexual assault victimization and reporting.


Laurel Mazar

M.A., Loyola University
B.S., DePaul University 

My specialty areas include violence against women, sexual assault, campus sexual violence prevention, bystander intervention, implicit bias, and race/class/gender intersections. I am also interested in corrections, specifically racial disparities and mass incarceration. My dissertation is examining whether bystanders use implicit bias about race, gender, victims, and offenders in the decision making process to intervene in situations of sexual violence.


Melanie Norwood

M.A., Southeastern Louisiana University
B.A., Louisiana State University

My dissertation research focuses on prisoner reentry using evaluation methodology. My research interests are in the areas of program evaluation, organizations, prisoner reentry,  community corrections, corrections, rape and discourse analysis. I have ten years of teaching experience at the University level to date. I passionately believe in engaging my students in active learning processes including a wide variety of creative projects and activities.


Mariana Palacios

B.A., University of Illinois at Chicago

Sheridan, Erin - photo

Erin Sheridan

M.A., Loyola University Chicago
B.S., Loyola University Chicago


Esmeralda Silva

B.A., Marquette University


Ermus St. Louis

M.S., Chicago State University
B.A., Northern Illinois University

My specialty areas include police and technology (body worn cameras), race and policing, the illegal drug market (independent dealers), and qualitative methods.


Ash Stephens

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.S., Georgia State University

My specialty areas include: Race/Ethnicity, Gender-Based Violence, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Social Justice, and Prison Studies.

Taylor, Steve

Steve Taylor

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.S., Illinois State University
Curriculum Vitae | | BSB 4076C

My dissertation research focuses on detective decision-making in sexual assault cases, specifically in cases involving intimate partners. Through working in the criminal justice system, adjunct teaching and other research projects, I also consider my specialty areas to be juvenile justice, probation and detention, research methods, homicide investigations, sexual assault, sexual assault investigations, and intimate partner sexual assault.

Thompson, Joanna - Photo

Joanna Thompson (Jo-Jo)     

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.A., West Virginia University
Curriculum Vitae |

My specialty areas include: Race and Ethnicity, Mixed-Race Identity, Peer Victimization, Interpersonal Violence, Intersectionality, and Social Ecology. My
dissertation title is "MIXEDconceptions: A Narrative-Discourse Analysis of Mixed-Race College Students and Racialized Bullying."


Brandi Vigil    

M.S., California State University
B.A., University of California Davis

My specialty areas include: Juvenile Justice, Restorative Justice, Criminal Justice Policy, and Race/Ethnicity, Gender and Crime.

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Aimee Wodda    

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
Curriculum Vitae |

My specialty areas include: Gender, Sexuality, and the Law, Experimental Qualitative, Methodology, Queer Criminology, Youth Subcultures, Popular Culture, Transgender Legal Theory.