Brianna Cabral is a Criminal Justice and Criminology graduating senior, and Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Scholar. David Makin, associate professor, had the privilege and honor to mentor Brianna over the last two years on this project. Below is a brief overview of her project and the Gray award at SURCA 2022.
“I am extremely excited to have earned the Gray Award at SURCA 2022 for my project titled ‘Public Safety Employee Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ I began this project during 2020, COVID and policing were and still are relevant topics of discussion in our society. Engaging in one-on-one conversations with public safety employees was important to me in understanding how to better prepare for future public health emergencies. I am excited to continue working on my project and adding to this field of research.” Brianna is also highlighted in the McNair’s Mentor Monthly Newsletter for April.
Daisy Yang is a senior in Criminal Justice and Criminology in Pullman, from Oakland, California, scheduled to graduate in spring 2022. She was one of the Fall 2021 Research Week Undergraduate Research Presentation awardees.
What made you choose Criminal Justice and Criminology as a major and what do you intend to do after you graduate?
I originally majored in microbiology. Freshman year I realized that I was not happy and decided to switch to Criminal Justice with a minor in psychology with the idea that I would become a detective.
Since then, I realized that being a detective does require some years of police work with a slim chance of actually getting the career, I decided that after college I will further my education and get my juris doctorate, and work as a lawyer in criminal law.
What are some of the most valuable experiences you have had thus far as a Criminal Justice and Criminology major?
In all honesty, among the valuable experiences I have had within my major is seeing the great improvement I have made as a student over the years. Switching majors and seeing my grades skyrocket was something that showed me where I belong in this school and gave me the confidence I need to realize who I am. (This might sound cliché, but it was the biggest thing that stopped me from dropping out.)
Winning my undergraduate research presentation award was also a wonderful highlight! This was one of my first times winning something for my work, not to mention going against all STEM students.
Briefly, I would also really like to say it was all of the professors in the Criminal Justice department and how passionate they are about their jobs and sharing their knowledge. The passion all my profs and teachers show in their teaching has definitely impacted me and kept me motivated to keep going. Professor Makin’s reaching out to me and giving me this opportunity for this research was one of the main examples since it showed me that my teachers actually care about what I say and made me feel heard.
Can you briefly talk about the research project for which you obtained the undergraduate research award?
My project is a systematic review benchmarking the state of inclusive scholarship within criminology and criminal justice research. Following the six steps of systematic review, I completed the initial capture of over 1,000 peer-reviewed publications within the top-ranked journals in the field. I then developed a codebook identifying the words used to describe different racial and ethnic groups. The intent of this research is to identify to what extent criminal justice and criminology experience a crisis in inclusivity in scholarship, and if warranted, based on the analysis, introduce potential pathways for increasing representation to portray a more holistic and comprehensive understanding of these racial and ethnic groups’ experiences with crime and the criminal justice system. Hopefully, this project brings more light to the experiences of different racial and ethnic groups expanding the field of knowledge beyond white, black, Hispanic, and “other” groups that are commonly talked about. I believe it is important that we be open to learning from the experiences of all of the different groups that are often collapsed into this “other” designation. I believe this is a critical first step.