Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, Director of the National Institute of Justice

Special Presentation

Alumna Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, Director of the National Institute of Justice, will present “Following the Science: My Journey from Research to Policy and Practice” on Oct. 27.

Following the Science: My Journey from Research to Policy and Practice
Thu, Oct 27, 2016
Performing Arts Center, Recital Hall

Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, Director of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and a Distinguished Alumna, returned to her alma mater on Oct. 27 to present “Following Science: My Journey from Research to Policy and Practice” to the University community.

Dr. Rodriguez was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2015 to lead the prestigious federal agency that serves as the research, development, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. Its mission is to improve knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues. Most recently, NIJ funded projects on school safety, sexual assault case processing, post-conviction DNA testing, the effects of incarceration, restrictive housing, reentry, and police and correctional officer well-being.

“The NIJ leads the world in supporting research which enhances our understanding of crime and justice, thereby facilitating improved practices,” said Dr. Phillip Lyons, Dean of the College of Criminal Justice and Director of the George J. Beto Criminal Justice Center. “That our alumna, Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, leads the NIJ is a source of tremendous pride for us.”

The National Institute of Justice funded several major research projects that have been led by faculty at Sam Houston State University, including a study of untested sexual assault kits at the Houston Police Department; tests for bath salts in toxicological samples; a study of the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network; a study to create a quantitative standard for human decomposition; and an analytical tool to trace the geographical origins of marijuana. In 2016, faculty and graduate students in the College of Criminal Justice were awarded competitive NIJ Fellowships to support their research and dissertations in corrections and forensic science.

Dr. Rodriquez received her bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University in 1992 and earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington State University in 1998. Dr. Rodriguez was named the Outstanding Alumna from SHSU’s College of Criminal Justice in 2009.

Before joining the National Institute of Justice, Dr. Rodriguez was a professor at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University (ASU), where she conducted research on juvenile court processes, collateral consequences of incarceration, and race, crime and justice.

“Dr. Rodriguez is an incredible scholar, mentor, colleague, and leader,” said Dr. Melinda Tasca of SHSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, who was mentored by Dr. Rodriguez as a Ph.D. student at ASU. “She has a long record of dedicated service to the criminal justice profession and community. Dr. Rodriguez continues to be an inspiration to many.”

Dr. Rodriguez is the co-author of Dreams and Nightmares: Immigration Policy, Youth, and Families. Her recent work has appeared in Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Journal of Crime and Delinquency, and the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Dr. Rodriguez earned awards for her research, including the W.E.B. Dubois Award from the Western Society of Criminology, and the Coramae Richey Mann Award from the ASC Division on People of Color and Crime.

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