Outstanding RCHSS Scholars
Please join us in congratulating our outstanding RCHSS Scholars for 2021! These students and their achievements represent the best of the best for their respective disciplines.
Leah Reilly - 2021 Outstanding Scholar in Criminal Justice
A few semesters after coming to KSU as a non-traditional student, Leah Reilly was accepted into Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal Justice Honor Society), where she had the opportunity to volunteer with other members for various community events in support of local law enforcement and others throughout the community. Shortly thereafter, she was accepted into KSU’s Honors College. Due to there not being any CJ honors classes available at the time, Leah approached Professor Dr. Stan Crowder who agreed to mentor her through multiple Honors College approved contracts in which he incorporated extra research and projects for her to complete in addition to his standard class syllabus. This gave her the opportunity to expand her learning in Criminal Justice. She attributes much of the success she has had working in the field part-time to the lessons learned in Dr. Crowder’s classes.
Later that year, Leah held her first position as an officer in the Criminal Justice Honor Society. In 2018, along with fellow members of APS and under the mentorship of Dr. Heidi Scherer and Dr. Beverly Reece-Churchwell, Leah participated in research which was presented at the KSU Symposium of Student Scholars.
Just as many other single parents attending college full time face unexpected obstacles; the same was true for Leah. She recalls how the commitment and support of other committed and caring CJ professors like Mrs. Bess Walthour, helped her to continue persevering academically and personally. Leah made the President’s and Dean’s list multiple times throughout her time at KSU, and from 2016- 2019 she served as a volunteer under Advocates for Children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate; from 2016 until the present, she continues to serve as a volunteer member of the Bartow County Sheriff’s on-call Search and Recovery Team. In December 2020 Leah earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (minor in criminology), through the KSU Honors College with the designation of Honors Scholar, and received the high honor of Magna Cum Laude.
Krista Williamson - 2021 Outstanding Scholar in Sociology
Krista entered KSU with much surprise, as they never thought they’d have the opportunity to attend a University. As a first-generation college student raised by an immigrant single-mother, they had a rough start in college and were rather unsure of how to maneuver their way through school. Luckily, though, they were able to utilize the resources made available to them and settled in nicely to college life at Kennesaw State. Krista worked full time during their entire duration at KSU and also managed to be an active touring musician throughout their college career, traveling the country and playing festivals, all while balancing studies and work. In 2018, Krista’s band played a festival to raise money for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), which is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Krista was an active member of Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) and the Student Organization of Sociology (SOS) during their time at KSU, but none of this hindered them from earning several consecutive semesters on the presidents list. During their sophomore year Krista moved in with their aunt to assist her by serving as a co-caretaker for her husband John, suffering at the time from a late stage of Alzheimer's disease. During this two-year period, Krista volunteered to drive various Alzheimer's patients to and from numerous care facilities. Krista and their family also hosted an event titled “A Family Affair” to raise money for Alzheimer’s research at the Emory Brain Center. During their Senior year, Krista spent a semester interning at Ahimsa House in Tucker. Ahimsa House supplies resources to women fleeing domestic violence and temporarily provides shelter for survivors' pets as the survivors seek stability and safety. Krista operated a crisis hotline during their shifts at Ahimsa house, as well as volunteering to work at various events and fundraisers for the organization, including the annual Gala event, which is the organization's largest fundraiser of the year.
Krista graduated from KSU with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, concentrating in Culture & Diversity Studies. They are now beginning a gap year in order to pursue music before deciding whether or not to attend graduate school and are currently the manager and social media marketer for a vintage clothing store in Atlanta, which encourages people to help put an end to fast-fashion and to shop ethically and sustainably.
Alexandria Goldstein - 2021 Outstanding Scholar for Master's in Criminal Justice
Alex Goldstein received her Bachelor of Science degree from Kennesaw State University in Psychological Science with a minor in Criminology in December 2018. She recently graduated with her Master of Science in Criminal Justice with honors in December 2020. As an undergraduate student, Alex was part of the Honors College and completed three internships (with the Georgia Innocence Project, a private defense attorney, and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency). She also contributed to a number of research projects, mainly as a research assistant in Dr. Dorothy Marsil’s research lab. Additionally, Alex was a part of the MSCJ Accelerated Bachelor’s Maters’ program. As a graduate student, Alex completed a graduate research assistantship and a graduate teaching assistantship. She wrote and defended an award-winning thesis. Alex’s thesis committee was chaired by Dr. Christopher Totten with committee members Dr. Gang Lee and Dr. Richard Stringer.
Throughout Alex’s six years at KSU she presented the results of 14 research projects (first author on seven, co-first author on two) at state, regional, and national conferences. Her research has been in a variety of areas including sex trafficking, cyberbullying and cyber victimization, wrongful convictions, police perceptions and knowledge, Miranda rights, and racial disparities in the legal system.
Alex is especially intrigued by the interdisciplinary nature of the field of criminal justice, situated at the nexus of psychology and law. Over the past two years, she has continued to volunteer in Dr. Jennifer Willard’s research lab assisting on research projects and mentoring undergraduate students. Alex currently works at the Georgia Innocence Project processing intake and doing case evaluations to help exonerate individuals who are wrongfully convicted for crimes they didn’t commit. In the fall, Alex will be starting her Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a psychology-law concentration from Iowa State University.
Past Outstanding Scholars
Adrienne Rice - Criminal Justice
Aaron Frost - Sociology
Caleb Lang - Masters in Criminal Justice
Alexis Lawrence - Criminal Justice
Imani Childs - Sociology
Michael De Leo - Masters in Criminal Justice
Kelly Neal - Criminal Justice
Benito Carabello - Sociology
Michael Daughtery - Criminal Justice
Michelle Mendez - Sociology
Erika Waterman-Smith - Masters in Criminal Justice
Kelli Garcia - Criminal Justice
Gayle Kruger - Sociology
Matheson Sanchez - Masters in Criminal Justice
Sara O'Hara - Criminal Justice
Fran Patrick - Sociology
James Purdon - Masters in Criminal Justice
Shavon Trice - Criminal Justice
Julie Henderson - Sociology
Ebony Bryant - Masters in Criminal Justice
Brittany Poag - Criminal Justice
Rita Thomson - Sociology
Jan Morian - Criminal Justice
Brandon Attell - Sociology
Valerie P'Pool - Criminal Justice
Rachel R. Morelli - Sociology
Kylie Nicole Morales - Criminal Justice
Demario Jamar Brantley - Sociology
Ricky Schneider - Criminal Justice
Yuiko Ishida - Sociology
Cameron Carpino - Criminal Justice
Edward James Jones - Sociology
Lane Caldwell - Criminal Justice
James Costen - Sociology
Michele Larson - Criminal Justice
Julie Barrs - Sociology
Adrienne Harvey - Criminal Justice
Robin Crawford - Sociology
Daniel J. Weaver - Criminal Justice
Rosalyn-Sue Smith - Sociology
Missi Miller - Sociology
Cathy Ward - Sociology