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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.

Doctoral Students

Natalie Chwalisz

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

  nc5011b@american.edu

Alexander Clayton

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

  ac9185a@american.edu

Jason Fritz

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, a

  jf4949a@american.edu

Avi-Yona Israel

Avi-Yona is a Ph.D. candidate 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

  ai2393a@american.edu

Esther Matthews

Esther Matthews is a first-year student in the Justice, Law and Criminology PhD program. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Oregon State University. Her research focuses on iden

  em1710a@american.edu

Hillary Mellinger Adjunct Instructor

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,

  hm0137a@american.edu

Alyssa Purdy

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 fr

  ap9576a@american.edu

Victoria Smiegocki

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

  vs5147a@american.edu

Jennifer Tilley

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 pr

  jt2006a@american.edu

Tracy Velazquez Associate Director SPA - School of Public Affairs

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

  tracyv@american.edu

Kristian Warpinski

Kristian Warpinski is a first year PhD student in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology. Her primary research interests include political violence and (counter)terrorism, the recruitment and

  kw5971a@american.edu