Doctoral students in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology (JLC) conduct research on a variety of subjects across the department's three primary concentrations: criminal justice and criminology, terrorism and security policy, and legal studies. The nature of study at JLC is interdisciplinary and provides a balanced approach to the field, thus preparing PhD graduates for roles in academia, government, consulting, and more. These students benefit from working with faculty on the most pressing issues in the field and have contributed to key studies both here and abroad. These profiles highlight some of their accomplishments at American University.
Erik Alda is a PhD student in Justice, Law and Criminology at American University. From 2001 to 2003, he lived in the slums of Fortaleza (Ceará), Brazil where he worked with an NGO on issues related to crime, violence and safety. In the past ten year… More
Sydney Bender is a PhD student in the department of Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University. Her primary research interests include variation in gender-based violence, the use and consequences of wartime sexual violence, and crime and ju… More
Natalie Chwalisz is a first year PhD student at the School of Public Affairs, in the Justice, Law and Criminology Department. She focuses in on forced displacement, especially of youth, resilience and trauma. She is also interested in human smuggling… More
Alex Clayton is currently a PhD student in Justice, Law & Criminology with concentrations in Law & Society and Political Violence & Nonviolence. He holds a master's degree from American University in Justice, Law & Society and a bachelor's degree in … More
Jason Fritz is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology. His research interests are on the intersection of political violence and policing in late- and post-conflict states, and on quantitative methods. Prior to matriculation… More
Avi-Yona is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology. Her research interests include philosophy of law, international law, human rights, global ethics, justice and the rule of law, and theories of punishment.
During law sch… More
Kenneth Sebastian Leon is a PhD student in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology with a dual emphasis in sociolegal studies and criminology. His primary areas of interest include legal philosophy, drug & alcohol policy, social constructions… More
Belén Lowrey is a PhD student in Justice, Law and Criminology with a minor in Public Policy. Her research lies at the intersection of language and the law, including police-citizen interactions, procedural justice, wrongful convictions, and false con… More
Hillary Mellinger is a PhD student in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology. Her academic interests include comparative asylum / refugee law and policy, states’ migration control mechanisms, and judicial activism in regards to immigration la… More
Alyssa Purdy, originally from West Michigan, is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Justice, Law & Criminology from American University. In December of 2013, she graduated with honors from Roosevelt University in Chicago with a Bachelor… More
Victoria Smiegocki is a PhD student in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology with a secondary major in Public Policy. Alongside her PhD, she is also completing a certificate program in Applied Statistics at American University. Her primary are… More
Jennifer Tilley is a Ph.D. student in the department of Justice, Law and Criminology. Her primary research interests include institutional and community corrections, capital punishment, parole and prisoner reentry, juvenile delinquency, and social j… More
Tracy Velázquez received her A.B. from Harvard University and a Master of Public Administration from Montana State University. She has significant experience in criminal justice reform, having served in various roles at the Vera Institute of Justice,… More