Ph.D. Student Wins National Research Paper Scholarship

Student Award

Nicole Niebuhr earned a national student paper award from the ACJS Corrections Section in her first year in the Ph.D. program.

Photo of Nicole NiebuhrA first year Ph.D. student was presented a national student paper award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Corrections Section, which was named in honor of a Sam Houston State University alumna who served as chair of the division.

Nicole Niebuhr received the Dr. Kelly Cheeseman Student Paper Award for a scholarly article she co-authored with Dr. Erin Orrick. The study, “Impact of Employment Satisfaction and Stress on Recidivism,” investigated how job satisfaction and stress are related to recidivism among serious and violence offenders.

“It’s an honor, and I was surprised to get it,” said Niebuhr, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. “It’s really special knowing she was a Sam alumna and that the Corrections Section honored her in this way.”

Dr. Cheeseman (Ph.D. ’06) was the Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Messiah College and Chair of the ACJS Corrections Section when she passed away unexpectedly in 2013. The Student Travel Award was named in honor of her work.

The current study is based on 869 adult offenders, both male and female, from the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) Impact Evaluation. The SVORI programs were funded by the federal government and implemented in all 50 states to focus not only on reducing recidivism, but also on improving other reentry outcomes. The impact evaluation data included both SVORI and non-SVORI participants from selected sites.

The current study found that job satisfaction was significant in increasing the time to rearrest, and job stress was not a significant factor in determining re-arrest. Among the factors that were measured for degrees of satisfaction and stress included bosses, co-workers, others at work, physical settings, work performed, pay, opportunities for promotion, benefits, job security, safety, work schedules, child care arrangements for work, how a person is treated, their accomplishment and contributions, the amount of independence and performance evaluations.

“Satisfaction was significantly related to an increase in time to recidivism,” said Niebuhr.

Member of The Texas State University System