2021 Awards

Presented by:

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

The Criminal Justice Graduate Student Association

Alpha Phi Sigma

The Criminal Justice Club

This spring 2021 semester, the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology could not gather in person to recognize the outstanding service and achievements of our alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community members with scholarships, awards, and other forms of appreciation. However, the department is proud to recognize each recipient’s achievements. Below are the 2021 Criminal Justice Awards.


Distinguished Alumni and Community Member Awards: 
  • Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award

Dr. Cortney Franklin, associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). Cortney Franklin, PhD, received the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award. Franklin is currently an associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). She earned her BA in political science in 2001 from Gonzaga University, her MA in Criminal Justice in 2004 from WSU, and her PhD in Criminal Justice in 2008 from WSU. Her areas of expertise include gender and justice, violence against women, victimology, and police response to sexual and domestic violence to include non-fatal strangulation, immigrant victims, sexual minority victims, perceptions of sex trafficking survivors, and the impact of race and ethnicity on sexual assault disclosure and help-seeking behavior.

Franklin has published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in a host of outlets and ranging in interdisciplinary topics, such as women’s studies, social psychology, criminal justice and criminology, public policy, and criminal justice education. She has also been actively engaged in translational research designed to inform practitioners and agency partners in the application of victim-centered criminal justice response and intervention. Her experience also includes federal awards totaling nearly $750,000 in funds from the National Institutes of Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women. She has successfully mentored graduate and undergraduate students who have gone on to establish their own impressive research trajectories. She serves on the board of directors for two non-profit organizations—the SAAFE House in Huntsville, Texas, and the Texas Victim’s Services Association, in Austin. Further, she is on the editorial boards of Psychology of Violence, Journal of School Violence, and Feminist Criminology. Finally, In 2021, she was distinguished with the Outstanding Mentor Award by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS); in 2015, she was honored with the Outstanding Graduate Mentor award by The Graduate School at SHSU; and in 2013, she was selected to receive the inaugural new scholar award by the Victimology Section at ACJS. Her true passions involve working collaboratively with agencies, teaching victimology, and mentoring/teaching students in the research process.

  • Distinguished Criminal Justice Innovation Award

Carl J. McCurley, smiling. Carl J. McCurley, PhD, received the 2021 Distinguished Criminal Justice Innovation Award. Carl grew up in bucolic, rural East Texas. A high school teacher encouraged his interest in justice system research, and after high school, his education and work focused on government, public administration, public policy, justice, and race. In graduate school at Indiana University, he worked with Elinor Ostrom, whose investigations of common pool resource management has strong implications for public management in general. After graduate school, Carl began a teaching and research career, but soon saw his students take on jobs more interesting than his. In 2000 he made the switch to applied research, working at the National Center for Juvenile Justice until he was hired in 2006 to kick off the Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR).

Carl’s most important career accomplishments include hiring talented people and gradually building up the use of existing data to ask and answer questions about the characteristics of court-involved people, the actions that courts take, and the impacts of court actions on the court-involved. WSCCR’s work has also brought him back to questions of effective use of public resources, as they encourage courts to see themselves as learning organizations able to reflect on their performance and make changes to improve performance.

  • Distinguished Professional Award 

Loren Atherley smiling.Loren Atherley, MA, received the 2021 Distinguished Professional Award. He serves as director of Performance Analytics & Research (PA&R) and senior research scientist for the Seattle Police Department. The PA&R Section is a continuation of the department’s internal performance, evaluation, and advanced research methods capabilities, developed to demonstrate compliance with a federal consent decree. Atherley leads a regional research consortium, a national data working group on Analytics & Evidence-Based Policing (affiliated with the Major Cities Chiefs Association) and an international research network. In addition, he consults across criminal justice and data sciences on topics including statistics and research methods, threat assessment/threat management and violent/aggressive/psychopathic behavior, providing strategic advice to the Chief of Police and the City of Seattle, as well as other local, state and federal agencies. Atherley is an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Seattle University and a NIJ LEADS Scholar.

He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Seattle University, where he completed a thesis on behavioral profiling and serial sexual homicide, the Green River Killer, and the offender Gary L. Ridgway. Atherley attends the University of Cambridge and anticipates the completion of a PhD in criminology in 2025.

  • Distinguished Criminal Justice and Criminology Appreciation Award 

Amanda Yager, smiling outside close to some trees and lake.Amanda Yager received the 2021 Distinguished Criminal Justice and Criminology Appreciation Award. Yager has worked for WSU for 16 years.  She started at the Prosser research and extension center in the accounts payable role and quickly moved into other areas, including purchasing and inventory management. As her knowledge and skills grew, the Prosser administration created a grants position where she managed both pre- and post-award grants. In 2014, Yager was hired as grants and contracts coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences. Now 7 years later, she has moved up to research services manager for all of CAS. Anybody who has worked with her knows that she loves all things Halloween and adores bats.

Faculty Awards: 
  • Greg and Pierce Faculty Award in Criminal Justice and Criminology  

Laurie Drapela, WSU Associate Professor at Vancouver campus.Laurie Drapela, PhD, associate professor, received the 2021 Greg and Beth Pierce Faculty Award in Criminal Justice and Criminology. Drapela’s research interests include the implementation and operation of therapeutic courts, offending desistance trajectories among youth, and the intersections of mental health, behavioral health, and criminal justice. Her manuscripts have appeared in Justice QuarterlyCrime & DelinquencyThe Journal of Youth and AdolescenceDeviant BehaviorYouth & Society, and The Social Science Journal. She co-authored Law and Neurodiversity: Youth with Autism and Juvenile Justice Systems in Canada and the United States, published by the University of British Columbia Press (June 2020).

  • Outstanding Criminal Justice Professor (selected by undergraduate students) 

John Snyder, Career Track Teaching Assistant ProfessorJohn Snyder, JD, career-track teaching assistant professor, received the 2021 Outstanding Criminal Justice Professor Award from the students of Alpha Phi Sigma and the Criminal Justice Club. Snyder first came to WSU as an adjunct in the midst of his 30-year law practice. During that career, he defended nearly every type of criminal case, from simple drug possession to first degree murder. As an instructor, he takes the events that led to those cases and flips them to drive student analysis—what is important is not necessarily reaching the “correct” answer but, rather, engaging and developing the critical thinking required to reach those conclusions. Snyder particularly enjoys teaching courses covering the intersection of police work and the courts, particularly substantive Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and the Courts in America.

  • Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award (selected by graduate students) 

Amelie Pedneault, PhD, assistant professor, received the 2021 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the graduate students of the department, coordinated by the Graduate Students Association. Pedneault earned her doctoral degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University in 2015 after completing her doctoral research at the Centre for Research on Sexual Violence. Her research examines various aspects of sexual offending: offending decision making; criminal achievement; mobility; and situational approaches to sex offending. She has presented at annual meetings of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers and the American Society of Criminology and has published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Criminal Justice Review, and the Journal of Criminal Justice among other outlets.

Graduate Student Awards:
  • Dr. Otwin Marenin Outstanding Doctoral Student (selected by faculty)

Angelo Brown, 2021 Ph.D. graduate, smiling.Angelo Brown, PhD 2021, was selected by the faculty to receive the 2021 Dr. Otwin Marenin Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. Brown’s research, teaching, and interest in criminal justice and criminology came about from an early age as a child with an incarcerated parent. He personally experienced the impact of crime, violence, the war on drugs, and an ineffective rehabilitation system. Coming from a multicultural background with roots on various continents, he has always been interested in comparative criminal justice, and his dissertation focuses on police officers from dozens of nations and cultures. Brown plans to continue to learn, work, teach, and add to the science of the field to make a better and safer world as an assistant professor of criminology in the Department of Criminology, Sociology, and Geography at Arkansas State University.


  • Outstanding Criminal Justice Graduate Student Instructor (selected by undergraduate students) 

Oliver Bowers_2021 PhD CandidateOliver Bowers, 2021 PhD candidate, received the 2021 Outstanding Criminal Justice Graduate Student Instructor Award from the undergraduate students, coordinated by Alpha Phi Sigma and the Criminal Justice Club. Bowers’s research interests are at the intersection of technologies, crime, and society. He teaches a multitude of undergraduate courses, ranging from policing and policy to crime and justice in the movies.



  • Outstanding Master’s Student (selected by faculty)

Kathleen Eckert, MA 2021, was selected by the faculty to receive the 2021 Outstanding Master’s Student Award. She will be continuing her doctoral studies in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at WSU this fall.

  • Outstanding PhD Instructor (selected by faculty)

Christopher Dollar_PhD Student, smiling closed to the lake.Christopher Dollar, PhD student, was selected by the faculty to receive the 2021 Outstanding PhD Instructor Award. He recently completed his second year in the WSU Criminal Justice and Criminology doctoral program. His research focuses on the political, social, and historical influences on crime policy-making in community and institutional corrections. Additional interests include time series analysis and international peacekeeping and peace building efforts. He very much looks forward to teaching in person this coming autumn.

  • Recognition of the Graduate Student Association Board 
    • Dr. Dale Willits, 2020–2021 Advisor
    • April Kraft-Duley, 2020–2021 President and GPSA Representative
    • Christopher Dollar, 2020–2021 Vice President
    • Tessa Wilson, 2020–2021 Treasurer
    • Brittany Solensten, 2020–2021 Secretary
    • Leah Reddy, 2020–2021 First-Year Representative
Undergraduate Student Awards and Scholarships: 
  • Diego Moreno Memorial Scholarship 
    • Mohammad Behnam Mozafari
  • Kathleen E. Taylor Scholarships
    • Myles Beard
    • Arianna Ellis
    • Victoria Johnson
    • Angelica Marquez-Zedlar
    • Devan Parkinson
    • Alejandro Vazquez Montano
    • Katherine Vescio
    • Alyssa Villalvazo
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Senior 

Keilah Shaw, BA 2021. Read more about her on the College of Arts and Sciences website.







  • V.A. Leonard Scholarship 
    • Kaitlynn Garrett

We always find our way back home flag.