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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 2020

    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