One of the greatest opportunities I was given at Susquehanna University was provided through the Adams Center for Law and Society.
I was selected by Michael Smyth, the director of the center, to participate in county data collection efforts for the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission's County Parole Guideline Research Initiative. To work in this capacity, it was required that I pass Penn State's IRB training requirements related to the protection of human subjects and sign an agreement related to the proper handling of confidential materials.
As part of my duties on this project, I spent several weeks working full-time in different county-level adult probation departments to complete instruments intended to measure variables related to sentencing and parole of offenders in Pennsylvania. In conjunction with data collected by other research teams across the state, the data our team collected will be used to inform moves to mitigate the effects of the state's super-punitive sentencing policies.
Informed by the various experiences described above, I have now set my sights firmly on a career in academia. I hope to one day join a university faculty where I will conduct research of my own and mentor other students in sociology.
My experiences working as a researcher under the auspices of the Adams Center have been invaluable in preparing me for such a future and for making me a more desirable applicant to grad school as well. My Adams Center research position has already opened many doors for me, and I expect that it will continue to serve me well as I continue on with my academic and professional careers.