Criminal Justice Studies Majors and Minors

Two Students, Lydia Hartzell and Colleen Costello, Receive a Travel Grant from AKD to present their Capstone research at the North Central Sociological Association meetings in Cincinnati, OH, April 10-12, 2014.


Colleen is the President of AKD and Lydia is the Treasurer, both students are receiving a travel grant from Alpha Kappa Delta, the national honor society of Sociologists to attend and present their papers at the North Central Sociological Association Meeting in Cincinnati. Colleen Costello's paper title and abstract follows:

"Gender and Sexual Harassment: How Hegemonic Masculinity Shapes Perceptions"


For this project, I was interested in how a person's gender shapes how he or she perceives sexual harassment. I conducted twelve interviews with men and women in an organization and gave them multiple scenarios and asked them to discuss why or why not the scenario was sexual harassment, in their opinion. What I found was that gender is part of what shapes sexual harassment, but it is not the only factor. Age, company status, previous experience with sexual harassment, and multiple other factors shaped their perceptions. These multiple factors worked together to shape their perceptions, rather than it being just one factor (gender, as I had originally thought).

Lydia Hartzell's paper title and abstract follows:

"Cyberknowledge: A study of the Doctor-Patient Relationship and doctors' Presentation of Self with the Increasing INfluence of the Internte"


The doctor-patient relationship has become a widely discussed topic with increasing consumer-centered culture. However, the influence of the Internet on patient medical knowledge has not been adequately addressed. This research addresses the issue of the Internet informed patients and their relationship with their doctors, with special attention on the doctors' presentation of self. Specifically, doctors' use of impression management is examined by way of in-depth interviews. Transcription and analysis of the interviews took the dialogue and found recurring themes within the conversation, revealing trends and patterns in doctors' views of the Internet. Themes found within the data revealed doctor-patient interactions varied based on patient socioeconomic status and the doctor's perceived role of a physician. Additionally, doctors' perceptions of their roles shaped perceptions of the Internet's place in medical consultations. Throughout each theme doctors utilized impression management strategies to maintain their status.

Tricia Johnston won a PennAce Award for her work as in Intern at the Cambridge Springs Sate Correctional Institution

May 2013

Westminster College Sociology and Criminal Justice Majors Accepted into American Sociological Association Honors Program

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College sociology/criminal justice and biology major Joseph Ritchie and criminal justice major Annalisa Ryding have been accepted into the Undergraduate Honors Program of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
The ASA Honors Program provides undergraduate sociology students an intensive introduction to the professional life of the discipline.  The students will attend the ASA Annual Meeting in New York City this August and participate in several events, including presentation of their research in a Roundtable Paper Session, meetings with representatives of national graduate programs and exclusive "conversations" with prominent sociologists.
Ritchie and Ryding's acceptances into the program were based on a personal essay, resumé and submission of an excerpt of their capstone research papers.  The students were also sponsored and recommended by departmental faculty Dr. Kristin Park, professor of sociology and chair of the department, and Dr. Kristenne Robison, assistant professor of sociology.
"We are extremely proud of Annalisa and Joe.  They carried out research projects that are not only fascinating and relevant, but also theoretically informed and methodologically sophisticated," Park said.
"This award is a testament to the quality work that Annalisa and Joe produced for their senior capstone research," Robison said.
Ritchie's project is titled "Anarchy: A Study of Socialization and Retention of Motorcycle Club Members."  This investigation sought to identify the models of socialization that motorcycle clubs utilize not only to recruit, but also to maintain members within their organization. The goal of this study was to illuminate an elusive and enigmatic component of American society to aid in the development of a process model of socialization that may enable both sociologists and criminologists to further understand these groups.  

Ritchie is a son of Carmen and Elizabeth Ritchie of New Castle and a graduate of Kennedy Catholic High School.
Ryding's paper is titled "‘It's Just Not Something People Want to Hear:' The Socialization Process of Becoming an Atheist."  Although the population of people who identify as secular, agnostic, or atheist has doubled in the past few decades, they are still one of the most highly stigmatized groups in today's society. This paper draws on in-depth interviews with self-proclaimed atheists to investigate their journey from theism to a non-religious identity.

Ryding is a daughter of William and Merriam Ryding and a graduate of Kane Area High School.

Senior Selected for Clinton Global Initiative Grant

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Westminster College senior political science major Katelyn Moga received a grant to attend the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) March 30-April 1 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Established by former President Bill Clinton, CGI U challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions.  Members take concrete steps to solve problems by building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects.  This year's CGI U encompassed students from 300 colleges and universities in 30 countries and all 50 states.

Moga's commitment to action is a continuation of a research project conducted with Dr. Kristenne Robison, Westminster assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice studies, and senior sociology major Katrina Falconer.  Moga's plan would create a sustainable partnership program between Westminster and the Cambridge Springs Correctional Facility for Women.  Through the partnership, students and faculty offer introductory level college courses that are denied to the women in prison.  The goal is to provide, through education, a greater chance for success once released while learning the importance of civic engagement for both the students and the women.

Moga had the opportunity to hear from Clinton as well as speakers that included former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."  She participated in workshops on ways to fund her initiative, took an active role in panel discussions on pertinent world issues, and presented her proposal to students and professionals involved in education programs.

The entire group spent the last day of the conference involved in community service projects that included improvements to a middle school and its community, packing care packages with the Pat Tillman Foundation to send to troops, and making household improvements for veterans.

"President Clinton worked side-by-side with us all day, which was the experience of a lifetime," Moga said.  "This was a great way to give back to the community and truly inspiring to see so many students working together."

Clinton's opening speech made a lasting impression on Moga.  "He discussed the importance of being an active citizen: the necessity not only to go vote and become aware of the issues facing our world, but also the necessity to take a vested interest in your community.  Clinton explained this component of being civically engaged needs to be a permanent part of the definition of a citizen in today's society.  That simple explanation resonated with me as the most important thing I learned.  I will always remember it and strive to pass it on to others."

Moga is a daughter of Timothy and Pamela Moga of Ashtabula, Ohio, and a graduate of Edgewood High School.

Falconer is a daughter of Keith and Renee Falconer of Bessemer and a graduate of Mohawk Area High School.


Student Received Award from Community Foundation

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Westminster College first-year student John Jones recently received a scholarship through The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC).  The funds will be applied to his tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Jones received a $1,000 award from the Brandon Boyd Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Jones, a criminal justice studies major, is a son of Kimberly Jones of Ligonier and a graduate of Ligonier Valley High School.

"We are grateful to The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and their scholarship funds for their support of bright, motivated students, who represent the future of our region," said Gloria Cagigas, Westminster's vice president for institutional advancement.

Since its inception in 1995, CFWC has grown to include over 350 funds valued at $17 million and has granted over $10 million to local non-profit organizations.

In July 2010, CFWC made community foundation history by merging with The Pittsburgh Foundation.  The merger of these two organizations signified a new era in non-profit alignment and growth of mission.  By harnessing the strength of The Pittsburgh Foundation, CFWC has an increased presence across the region, offering its donors improved services, increased grant-making opportunities to its non-profit partners, and service to Westmoreland County at a greater level.