On April 22, the College of Criminal Justice hosted its first annual CJ Undergraduate Conference, organized to give SHSU Criminal Justice students a chance to share their ideas on important criminal justice issues. "We're excited to initiate this opportunity for our students to showcase some of their writing, research and presentation skills," said Dr. Holly Miller in her opening remarks. Dr. Webb, Dean of the College, then gave the keynote address, which made a distinction between street gangs and other types of organized crime and detailed some of the stronger approaches to reducing gang membership and activity.
At the center of the conference were two student research contests-one for research papers, another for research posters. Several students submitted to the paper contest, with the $500 first prize going to Ashley Clark for her paper titled, "Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Texas Prisoner Reentry Initiative through Pre and Post Risk & Treatment Scores." Chad Cryer won $300 and second place for his paper, "Police Satisfaction of SHSU Students," and Detrick McAffey received third place and $200 for his paper, "Promoting Victim Assistance Awareness in the African American Community."
Some of the other topics submitted to the paper contest were:
- Sarah Bailey, "Sex Offenders Cheating You Out of Money"
- Sarah G. Broxson, "The West Memphis Murders: Was Justice Served?"
- Robert J. Ellis, Jr., "The Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana"
- Nicole M. Juarez, "Survival of the Fittest: True Life in Prison"
- Mary Arion McBride, "V for Vendetta"
- Chibuike K. Oparaji, "Prosecutor's Discretion"
- Rachel Schmid, "Opposition to the Legalization of Drugs"
Over the lunch hour, the College provided snacks and punch in the Friel Room while students presented their research posters in the lobby. The poster judges awarded the first place $500 prize to Nicole Larison for her poster on "The Effect of Water Salinity on Sodium Concentration in Bone." Second and third places went to Kristen Pelo for her poster, "Blood Spatter Variations Caused by Firearms," and Rachel Schmid for her poster, "Deterrence Theory of Capital Punishment."
All six student winners were recognized at the conference and then received their awards and checks the next evening at the College's annual Awards Convocation.