Graduate Student Research Awards

Beginning in 2018, the Criminal Justice Research Center has presented the Graduate Student Research Award. These awards are designed to assist graduate students in pursuing independent research on a project related to criminal justice, criminology, law, or a related field.  Additionally, the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing (PCS) supports up to one award for a graduate student conducting research relevant to their mission. Awardees are expected to present progress toward their research during a Departmental Criminology Forum in the year following the award.

Graduate Student Research Awards RFP and Proposal Application 

Previous award winners include:


Jessie Slepicka: “A meso-level analysis of clearance rates and arrest rate inequality: Differential patterns by race, 1980-2016” Dr. Darrell Steffensmeier, Advisor

Yiwen Zhang: “Do “Plea Rewards” Exist in Prison? Disparity in Prison Disciplinary Sanction Decisions” Dr. Holly Nguyen, Advisor


Julia Dillavou: “Solidarity or Solitude? How Correlates of Incarceration Impact Friendship Among Imprisoned Women” Dr. Derek Kreager, Advisor

Christopher Seto: “Understanding Variation in Hate Crimes and Hate Organizations Across Time and Space: Evidence from Google Trends” Dr. Corina Graif, Advisor


Brittany Freelin: “A Place-Based Intervention: The Effect of College Promise Programs on Crime Rates”  Dr. Corina Graif, Advisor


Rebecca Bucci: “Closing the Macro-Micro Link: Deterrent Effects on Individual Substance Use & Offending” Dr. Tom Loughran, Advisor 

John Crum: “Punitive Heroin Laws” Dr. David Ramey, Advisor

Theodore Greenfelder: “Outcomes from the Prison Inmate Network Study: Re-Entry and Recidivism” Dr. Derek Kreager, Advisor


Jordan Zvonkovich: “The Role of Discretion and the Effect of Criminal History on Sentencing Outcomes in Pennsylvania” Dr. Barry Ruback- Advisor, PCS supported awardee