My commitment to social order, to equality of opportunity, and to a sense of brotherhood among all persons has long fueled my desire to work in law enforcement.
As a senior completing a sociology and psychology dual major, it seemed important to me to not only learn the sociological and criminological theories that drive the field of law enforcement and policing, but also to have opportunities to work side-by-side with law enforcement professionals. Through my association with the Adams Center, I was granted two separate opportunities to do just that.
Initially, I participated in an Adams Center-sponsored internship with the Lehigh County Sheriff's Office. That position granted me extensive access to the criminal courts in Lehigh County, to the legal proceedings occurring there, and to the legal actors participating in those proceedings. The internship offered an opportunity to collect ethnographic and interview-type data over the course of a three-month summer break during the 2009 academic year. Focusing specifically on county-level legal actors in proceedings involving pro se criminal defendants, the data I collected in this context later constituted the focus of an analysis for my senior research project.
During summer 2010, I was selected by Michael Smyth, director of the Adams Center, to participate as lead research assistant from SU on county data collection efforts for the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission's County Parole Guideline Research Initiative.
As part of my duties on this project, I spent several months working in adult probation departments and other facilities across the state to complete instruments designed to measure variables related to sentencing and parole revocation in five Pennsylvania counties. I was also responsible for the security of the data as well as for supervising other students involved in data collection. In conjunction with data collected by other research teams across the state, the data the team collected will be used to inform moves to mitigate the effects of the state's super-punitive sentencing policies.
Both of the opportunities the Adams Center provided me have broadened my interests in criminal justice and allowed me to apply course material from my sociology major to real-world situations. In addition, they have given me the chance to work in capacities related to my future career path, and provided graduate-level work experience that strengthens my ability to continue my education at the master's or doctoral level.