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Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

Doctoral Students

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.

  1. Erik Alda, Faculty Fellow in Residence

    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

    Send email to Erik Alda

  2. Sydney Bender, Adjunct Instructor

    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

    Send email to Sydney Bender

  3. 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 trauma. She is also interested in human smuggling… More

    Send email to Natalie Chwalisz

  4. 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 Justice, Law & Society and a bachelor's degree in … More

    Send email to Alexander Clayton

  5. Ari Cohen

  6. 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, and on quantitative methods. Prior to matriculation… More

    Send email to Jason Fritz

  7. Avi-Yona Israel

    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

    Send email to Avi-Yona Israel

  8. Kenneth Leon

    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

    Send email to Kenneth Leon

  9. Belen Lowrey, Adjunct Instructor

    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

    Send email to Belen Lowrey

  10. Hillary Mellinger, Adjunct Instructor

  11. Katherine Mitchell

  12. Daisy Muibu

  13. 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 from Roosevelt University in Chicago with a Bachelor… More

    Send email to Alyssa Purdy

  14. Katherine Sandell Parsons

  15. Samantha Senn

  16. Victoria Smiegocki

  17. 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 prisoner reentry, juvenile delinquency, and social j… More

    Send email to Jennifer Tilley

  18. 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 in various roles at the Vera Institute of Justice,… More

    Send email to Tracy Velazquez

  19. Gabe Whitbread