Westminster College Students and Professors Present Research at The American Society of Criminology Conference

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Four Westminster students and two professors presented research at the American Society of Criminology (ASC) Conference Nov. 14 in Chicago.

"Understanding the Education Experiences of Incarcerated Women, Part II" was presented by Dr. Kristenne Robison, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice studies, Jennifer Cantella, and Joseph Ritchie. The group reviewed a culmination of a year's research they collected at a women's prison. They presented data on the challenges for incarcerated women to learn due to such things as a lack of educational programming, and learning inside an institution of social control when many of them come to learning experience with traumatic experiences. Some of the women persist in bettering themselves largely through self-reliance, not institutional structures.

Cantella, a senior sociology and criminal justice major, is a daughter of Robert Cantella and Colleen Cantella of Conway and a graduate of Freedom Area High School.

Ritchie, a senior biology and sociology and criminal justice major, is a son of Carmen and Elizabeth Ritchie of New Castle and a graduate of Kennedy Catholic High School.

Robison, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2009, earned an undergraduate degree from Baldwin-Wallace College, master's degrees from The Ohio State University and Syracuse University, and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

Contact Robison at (724) 946-6033 or email for additional information.

"The Contemporary Face of Probation" was presented by Robison; Dr. Shannon Smithey, associate professor of political science, sociology and criminal justice, Jennifer Duvall, and Matthew Shiner. They reviewed the first step of a longitudinal study on probation recidivism. At this stage in their research they are able to paint a picture of who is currently on probation as well as the types of therapeutic programming and punitive measures used for the current population on probation.

Duvall, a senior sociology and criminal justice major, is a daughter of Frank and Jane Duvall of Atwater, Ohio, and a graduate of Waterloo High School.

Shiner, a senior sociology and criminal justice major, is a son of William and Lou Ann Shiner and a graduate of Clearfield High School.

Smithey, who has been with Westminster since 2003, earned undergraduate degrees from Southern Methodist University and a master's and Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Contact Smithey at (724) 946-6247 or email for additional information.

Westminster sociology and criminal justice courses use a variety of pedagogies that include experiential and service learning, field trips, guest speakers and role plays and simulations, on top of general class discussions. Students engage in significant research through the two semester capstone courses taken spring of the junior year and fall of the senior year. The capstone classes shares a common sociological theme which students incorporate but they also have significant freedom in choosing their particular topic and methodologies.

Contact the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at (724) 946-7253 for additional information on the program.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 377 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.


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Dr. Kristenne Robison, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice studies

 


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Dr. Shannon Smithey, associate professor of political science, sociology, and criminal justice