Message from the Interim Chair

Welcome to Criminal Justice News!

Dear Alumni, Supporters, and Colleagues,

Dale Willits.
Dale Willits, Associate Professor, Interim Chair, Washington State University

Fall 2023 and spring 2024 represented another successful year for the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University.

First, we offer our congratulations to our fall and spring graduates. In total, we conferred 109 bachelor’s degrees, 3 master’s degrees, and 1 doctoral degree. We are so incredibly proud of our graduates and look forward to hearing about the amazing things that they accomplish in the future.

In May of 2024, we had our Annual Awards Ceremony, where we celebrated the achievements of our faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Of particular note, David Makin, an associate professor in the department and 2012 graduate of our doctoral program, was selected as the Outstanding Alumni in recognition of his excellence in research, teaching, and service.

Our faculty and students continue to demonstrate their commitment to scholarly excellence through public scholarship, academic publications, and presentations. We had exceptional turn out in conferences this year, including at the Western Association of Criminal Justice (WACJ), which was in Spokane, WA, this past October. In addition to presentations by faculty and graduate students, we had two undergraduates participate in the poster symposium at WACJ. These students won first and third place prizes in the poster competition. Congratulations to Joey Famularo and Tess Harbert!

Our alumni continue to make us proud as well. Guangzhen Wu, PhD graduate 2018, was awarded the 2023 Junior Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Drugs and Society. Mikala Meize-Bowers, PhD graduate 2021, recently gave a presentation at the annual AllRise Conference on the importance of data for treatment court data.

We also had faculty recognized for prestigious awards this year. Melanie-Angela Neuilly was selected as a Harry Frank Guggenheim Distinguished Scholar, which provided her with support to conduct research on mortality designations and statistics in France. In addition, Craig Hemmens was announced as the recipient of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Fellows Award. This award, which is given to only one criminal justice faculty per year, recognizes his commitment and contributions to the discipline of criminal justice.

Good things continue this summer and into next fall. This summer, the second year of the Complex Social Interaction Lab’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program is currently underway. Nine exceptional students were selected for this program, with seven coming from universities across the country and two from right here at WSU. These students are currently developing projects that explore police crisis calls. We look forward to seeing the results of this work in the near future!

Looking forward to the fall, we are excited to be joined by new faculty member Cortney Franklin. She brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge in the area of violence against women to the department. We have no doubt that her presence in the department will enrich the education of our students and deepen our scholarly portfolio.

As the summer winds down, so does my tenure as the interim chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. On July 16, Melanie-Angela Neuilly will step back into the position of department chair following a successful sabbatical in which she conducted research supported by the aforementioned Guggenheim honor. It has been my distinct pleasure to serve as the chair of the department for the last year. I’ve had the privilege of working together with our alumni, undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty on a variety of areas this year, and I am humbled by their talent and commitment.

Speaking of alumni, I was deeply honored this summer to get the opportunity to meet and chat with Lynn Pochert, a 1964 alum of the program who was on campus to celebrate the 60-year reunion for his class. Lynn shared stories with me of his time at WSU and his experiences in the department. While a lot has changed over time, one thing that has remained constant is the deep spirit and engagement of our students and alumni.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the donors to our program. Your support has enabled us to offer scholarships to students, support faculty research, and host important events on campus. Your contributions make a difference, and we are deeply appreciative.

With that, we wish you all the best and thank you for reading our newsletter. If you have other stories or news that you would like featured in a future issue of the newsletter, please reach out to us—we love hearing from our supporters and alumni!

Dale Willits

Interim Chair and Associate Professor