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Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Alumni Stories

Alumni Stories


Mia Holbrook, 2019, Ph.D. Alumni

I am Mia Abboud Holbrook, graduated in 2019 with a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice & Criminology at Washington State University. I currently am working as a Visiting Lecturer for the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada Reno. I live in Reno, NV and am enjoying all the sunshine. My job as the visiting lecturer is to focus on teaching – I teach four classes a semester as well as one class over winter break and one class during the summer session. My classes include research methods, criminological theory, jurisprudence, diversity and multiculturalism in the criminal justice system and juvenile justice.

I chose WSU because I wanted to attend a school with a top criminal justice program. I grew up in Washington, on the westside of the state, but you still felt the reach of the Cougs. I was excited to come to a place that valued what I wanted to study, while also providing me with a supportive community to grow alongside. The impact that WSU had on me was long-lasting, I actually earned all three of my degrees from there!

As a graduate student, I had an abundance of opportunities available to me. I was able to attend conferences, work on research projects, teach classes both in person and online, and produce publication worthy work.

I would recommend the Criminal Justice and Criminology program to prospective students because it provides graduate students with the opportunity for hands on learning. This type of scholarship allows tangible contributions to be made to our field.

Brandon Bang, 2019, Ph.D. & 2012, M.A. Alumni

I live in Canyon, Texas, which is located in the Texas Panhandle. I am an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and the Graduate and Undergraduate Director of the Criminal Justice Program, at West Texas A&M University.

I chose WSU for myriad of reasons. First, I was attracted to the great Criminal Justice faculty at WSU. Second, because of the size of the Criminal Justice Department, I knew I would be able to receive individualized attention and actually get to know my professors. Third, the campus at WSU is beautiful and Pullman is a neat place to live. Lastly, as I said in my application, “the prestige of being a Coug!”

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, at Washington State, gave me fantastic opportunities that are still paying off to this day. I presented at 10 professional conferences, I was invited to give presentations at thee conferences and was the Keynote speaker at one of those, I published three peer reviewed journal articles, and, most importantly, I independently taught 27 courses at WSU while a graduate student, and was awarded five teaching awards.

I recommend the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, because of the great faculty and academic atmosphere that focuses on the social science of Criminal Justice and Criminology. This is not a “cop shop.” The faculty will give you the tools and opportunity to become the type of academic you aspire to be. I wanted to become an academic in order to teach and share my knowledge and experience with my students. WSU allowed me the opportunity to get a lot of teaching experience, as a graduate student, but also taught me how to be a researcher and a legitimate social scientist.

Blake Randol, 2013, Ph.D. Alumni

My name is Blake Randol, and I earned my Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Washington State University in 2013.

I chose WSU because it offers a variety of benefits for graduate students. Most notably, it offers degrees from a top tiered research university in an area that has a low cost of living as well as a bounty of outdoor recreational opportunities. The University is also accessible to larger cities such as Spokane which has an international airport.

The faculty in the Criminal Justice department are simply exceptional in every respect. They are all extremely friendly and supportive of graduate students. Criminal Justice faculty offer all students opportunities to participate in cutting edge research projects and encourage students to attend conferences to co-present collaborative research. These opportunities are essential to future academic success.

Criminal Justice faculty also offer opportunities for graduate students to independently teach sections of college-level courses which is equally essential to future academic success.

The program places an equal emphasis on both teaching and research which prepares students for any career that they wish to pursue, whether it be a career at a top tiered research institution, a smaller teaching college, or a career in public service.

It is also important to note that the department offers an extremely supportive environment for all students, and faculty are extremely accessible to students. The faculty are cordial, friendly, and ultimately offer students both a plethora of career opportunities as well as a fun and exciting environment to pursue an advanced degree in criminal justice and criminology. I greatly appreciated being offered all these benefits when I was a graduate student.

Melinda Roberts, 2009, Ph.D. Alumni & 2005, M.A.

My name is Melinda Roberts, and I graduated from WSU in 2005 with a M.A. in Criminal Justice and in 2009 with a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. Currently, I am an Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Indiana.

I chose WSU because of the high ranking of the criminal justice program and the high-quality faculty.

I was immediately granted a research assistantship upon acceptance in the program. I worked closely with two faculty members on research for the next four years. This allowed me the opportunity to attend and present at national conferences.

The mentoring and hands on experience that I received in producing research gave me the skills and confidence that I needed to create and carry out my own independent research projects. I was granted a teaching assistantship for the last two years that also helped prepare me for a career in academia.

I would recommend the Criminal Justice program because students are not just a number, and the faculty are actively engaged in evidence-based research that has real world applications. The faculty genuinely care about student success and serve as excellent mentors even beyond graduation. My website is: