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This summer, four Gwynedd Mercy University Criminal Justice graduates presented their research at the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences (NEACJS) Annual Conference. Over the course of three days in June, criminal justice experts from the region shared research and workshops pertaining to the conference theme: “Justice For All: Serving the Underserved.”
Criminal Justice alumni Chinalda Guerrier ‘21, Lauren Huff ‘21, Mackenzie Iocona ‘20, and Abigail Kennedy ‘21 participated in the conference as panelists and presenters, discussing topics that they conducted research on during their time at GMercyU.
Three of the graduates facilitated a panel discussion entitled “Human Trafficking, Opioids and Crime: Findings from Community Samples” with GMercyU professor Lorraine Phillips, PhD serving as the moderator. Mackenzie’s portion of the panel discussion focused on the research she conducted at GMercyU on the opioid crisis in the United States.
“I got really invested in the research I started during my capstone course my senior year,” recalled Mackenzie. “I chose to study America’s opioid crisis and who the public ‘blames’ for this epidemic. This research study has not only taught me so much about the way in which research is conducted, but it has opened several doors for me in my professional life. Gaining insight on the public’s perception of this crisis helps me better understand the way in which we can collectively improve.”
Lauren’s research was centered around parental incarceration and how that impacts children throughout their lives.
“My survey asked individuals who had a parent incarcerated when they were a child a series of questions about how impactful different situations regarding the incarceration of their parent and how they feel it impacted their adult life,” explained Lauren. “On top of the negative outcomes, I also wanted to take a look at whether the individuals found any positive effects from the incarceration which many of them did. Many of the participants in my survey noted the fact that now as adults they were able to look back at their childhood and find something positive that came out of it.”
The last member of the panel, Abigail, shared her research “Analysis of Public Awareness of Human Trafficking in the United States.”
Outside of the panel discussion, Chinalda presented in a different session on the “comprehensive effects of different crimes among different demographic groups.”
These experiences have made a profound impact on these budding professionals, and have opened many opportunities for them to pursue their passions.
“Over the last four years at GMercyU, Dr. Phillips and Dr. McGrain did an amazing job preparing me and the other presenters for professional opportunities such as this one,” said Lauren. “I am so grateful for their continued support and encouragement.”