Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice is home to both sociology and criminal justice majors at Saint Joseph's University. Our faculty are leaders in their fields and are excellent resources for students of both majors.
The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice provides students with opportunities for intellectual growth both inside and outside of the classroom. Our major curriculum is designed to ensure that sociology and criminal justice students are prepared to immediately take their place in the world of work and service as soon as they graduate.
We have faculty and students conducting sociological and criminal justice-related research on a wide range of topics, from teenage pregnancy and binge drinking to interviewing former cult members to better understand the attraction to these groups. Our department has conducted research to better understand the causes of crime in Philadelphia and elsewhere so that we can help find solutions to the rising tide of violence. We undertake all of these initiatives in an effort to better understand the social world around us and, in the spirit of Jesuit education, to teach students that they can make a difference by being "men and women with and for others."
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Ian Nichols-Rowe (history and sociology double major) worked as a 2021 Summer Scholar where he helped run SJ Brew, a new student-led fair trade and organic brand of coffee. He also spent time researching fair trade programs at other Jesuit Universities. His Summer Scholar research project culminated in the publication of his article “Jesuit Universities Brew Up Fair Trade Awareness One Cup at a Time” in Conversations magazine.
Women’s Tennis Player Shines on the Court and Through Her Artwork: Graduate student Amanda Nava ’21 stands out as one of the Hawks’ top tennis stars and has discovered her passion for art at Saint Joseph’s University.
A Day In The Life of Student Leader Zoë Welsh '22: Zoë Welsh ’22, sociology major and double minor in public policy and human resources and people management, shares a look at a day in her life on campus. Crisscrossing Hawk Hill from class to lunch to more classes and a full evening of meetings, this busy Hawk is making an impact as a leader while finding her purpose.
Photo: from left to right
Raeghan Smith (Public Policy Master's student), Zoë Welsh, and Taylor Stokes (both Sociology majors) attended the community fair at Gompers Elementary School. They distributed information about the expanded Child Tax Credit to families, a policy they learned about in their Poverty, Ethics, and Social Policy course. Philadelphia is promoting this kind of outreach because this temporary version of the CTC has the potential to halve child poverty rates, but some families don't realize they are eligible for it.
Q&A with the women’s basketball Hawk mascot Asia Whittenberger: Asia Whittenberger ’22 has been the women’s basketball team Hawk mascot since 2019. The Hawk sat down with Whittenberger to learn more about what it’s like to flap her wings each season and interact with the St. Joe’s community behind her hawk suit.
Dr. Christopher E. Kelly is the Principal Investigator on the project, "Evidence Disclosure Strategies in Investigative Interviews," with funding from the Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD) of the Department of Defense. Extending his earlier work on interrogation, Dr. Kelly and his team are examining why and how evidence is used during law enforcement, military, and intelligence interviews, including the various effects of different types of evidence, the techniques used to present it, and the timing of evidence disclosure. The research team at Saint Joseph's University includes project manager Margarita Parker, '20, Lesley Reyes, '22, and Deanna Smith, '22.
When Grief Becomes a Superpower: In her memoir, "Harnessing Grief: A Mother's Quest for Meaning and Miracles," sociology professor Maria Kefalas, Ph.D., shares the lessons she's learned from caring for her daughter Calliope, who was diagnosed with a fatal neurological disease called metachromatic leukodystrophy in 2012.
My education at SJU has helped me explore my love for sociology, and the need for positive social change. Through my course work at SJU, I actively engaged in learning about and analyzing sociological phenomenons that are relevant to the communities that I now serve. SJU has provided me with the tools and skills necessary to make a difference in these communities."
As a sociology major, I was able to explore and learn about many social structures and injustices that I was encountering during my service experiences. Through my involvement in campus ministry, I was able to participate in a variety of service opportunities and faith formation experiences which influenced my decision to consider a long-term service opportunity. This pushed me to seek a more comprehensive experience and spend a year understanding service, justice and faith in a deeper way."
At Saint Joseph's University, I obtained the strong research and analytical skills I employ in my day-to-day work. Between my undergraduate and graduate education, I graduated with a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice field."
SJ Brew is a student-driven, fair trade and organic coffee brand based out of Saint Joseph's University. Our coffee is Nicaragua-grown and PA-roasted. It is produced by Café Femenino, a program that provides direct compensation to female farmers, as well as the opportunity and resources for them to enact positive change in their communities.
The idea for SJ Brew was sparked by a group of Saint Joseph's University students who traveled to Nicaragua on a study tour in 2012. Equipped with the knowledge of fair trade and coffee production from their sociology class, they explored the intersection of sustainability and transparent supply chains. The program is run under the direction of Keith Brown, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of sociology and criminal justice, who has recruited current students to run the initiative through his courses and study tours to Central America. The program is also run in collaboration with the University’s Fair Trade Club.