About us / People / Graduate students


Beierschmitt, Laura

Laura Beierschmitt is a third year PhD student from Havertown, Pennsylvania, and the current President of the Criminal Justice Graduate Student Association (2013-14).. She recieved her BA in Criminal Justice and her BS in Chemistry from Villanova University in May of 2009, and her MA in Criminal Justice from Temple in 2012.  Her current research interests are restorative and social justice. As an undergraduate she studied the role of forgiveness in the Criminal Justice system. She can be reached at  laura.beierschmitt@temple.edu.
Bennett, Juwan Z.

Juwan Z. Bennett is a first year PhD student, and coordinator for The Criminal Justice Graduate Association mentoring center (2014-2015). He is originally from the Philadelphia area and received his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Temple University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2013. During his undergraduate studies, he was a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar and worked as an Athletic Mentor/Tutor in the Resnick Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes. Juwan has worked with Dr. Nicole Van Cleve, conducting ethnographic observations and Education Professor Dr. James Earl Davis examining how alternative education programs can be effective at preventing delinquency. As a result of his research endeavors he was invited by Elijah Anderson to attend the Urban Ethnography Workshop at Yale University. Juwan’s research interests include youth crime & juvenile justice, social support networks, and relationships between education and crime/delinquency. A fun fact about Juwan is that he is an accomplished musician; performing live for President Obama. He was also chosen to be the keynote speaker for the induction ceremony of Bill Cosby into the Writers Guild of America West. His faculty advisor is Dr. Nicole Van Cleve and he is learning what it takes to be a great teacher, as he is currently working as a teaching assistant for Professor Sharon Ostrow. Juwan can be reached at juwan.bennett@temple.edu

Castner, Kris Kris Castner is a first year PhD student being advised by Dr. Liz Groff.  She received her BA in Anthropology from Temple University and an MA in General Anthropology from The George Washington University. Although Kris has several research interests, those of particular note include police technology/surveillance and ethnographic/qualitative approaches. She is currently working as a teaching assistant for both Cyber Crime and Organized Crime courses. Kris can be contacted at kris.castner@temple.edu.
Cho, Jung Jung Cho is a first year Ph.D. student with a B.A. in criminal justice from Michigan State University and an M.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Prior to joining the doctoral program, he served as a criminal investigator (special agent) at DEA, a police officer at the NYPD and a research associate for the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies. His interests are in the social ecology of crime, policing, narcotics enforcement and gun violence. His faculty advisor is Dr. Ralph Taylor. Jung can be reached at jung.cho@temple.edu.
DaGrossa, Joseph

Joseph A. DaGrossa is a resident of southern New Jersey, pursuing the PhD. He possesses an M.S. degree in Criminal Justice from St. Joseph's University and an M.A. degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology from LaSalle University. He is currently employed as a U.S. Probation Officer for the District of New Jersey and in 2005 was named the district's Probation Officer of the Year. He has previously worked as a probation officer for the state of New Jersey and for the state's Intensive Supervision Program and has held adjunct teaching positions at Camden County College and Atlantic Cape Community College. Joe's research interests include program evaluation and the development of outcome-based measurements for use in community corrections settings. Joe can be reached at jdagrossa@verizon.net.

Donohoe, Chelsey

Chelsey Donohoe is a second year PhD student. She has a BA in Psychology and Spanish Studies from Texas Lutheran University. During her undergraduate studies, Chelsey held two research internships and was lead investigator on several projects that were presented at the Southwestern Psychological Association's conferences. Her research interests include substance abuse, community corrections, implementation science, and quantitative analyses. A fun fact about Chelsey is that she earned her first degree black belt in 2008! Her advisor is Dr. Matt Hiller, she is working on a probation research project with Dr. Hiller and Dr. Belenko.  Chelsey can be reached at  chelsey.ann.donohoe@temple.edu.https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Eidson, Jillian

Jillian Eidson is a fifth year PhD student originally from Hilton Head, South Carolina. She holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Davidson College and a master's degree in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania. Before matriculating at Temple she worked for four years in the Philadelphia criminal justice system.  During that time she fulfilled various roles as a consultant for Family Court investigating reintegration outcomes, an adult probation and parole officer and, most recently, a life skills course instructor for high risk offenders on probation and parole.  Her research interests include offender re-entry and program evaluation.

Farrell, John

John L. Farrell is a second year PhD student as well as a Deputy Managing Director with the City of Philadelphia.  At the City, he is the Director of the PhillyRising Collaborative, the City's newest method for promoting resilient communities.  PhillyRising targets neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia that are plagued by chronic crime and quality of life concerns, and establishes partnerships with community members to address these issues.  Farrell's PhillyRising Team coordinates the actions of City agencies to help neighbors realize their vision for their community through sustainable, responsive, and cost-effective solutions.  In addition to City agencies, Farrell coordinates over one hundred outside partners that range from locally-based nonprofit organizations to international corporations.  These strategies work to increase community activism, improve public safety and deter homeland

security threats. Prior to joining the City of Philadelphia, Farrell spent several years working for the township manager in Tredyffrin Township (Chester County, PA).  Farrell is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps (Staff Sergeant), and served one tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He holds an MPA and BA from Villanova University, and an MA in Security Studies (Homeland Defense & Security) from the Naval Postgraduate School.  John is advised by Dr. Jennifer Wood.

Fisher, Ryan Ryan Fisher is a first year PhD student originally from Boston, Ma.  He recently completed his MSCJ at Texas State University.  His research interests include environmental criminology, crime prevention, and the expanding uses of technology in criminal justice research.
Gesser, Nili

Nili Gesser is a second year PhD student. She is an Israeli national who comes with an extensive background in law, with an LL.B. from Hebrew University and an LL.M. Summa Cum Laude from Bar-Ilan University. Prior to joining the PhD program at Temple, Nili worked as a prosecutor for the Ministry of Justice in Israel more than a decade, initially at the International Department of the State Attorney's Office and later founded and headed up the Office for Victims of Crime in the Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office. Nili’s interests include victimology, violence against women, therapeutic jurisprudence, and evidence-based policy and practice.  Her faculty advisor is Dr. Jennifer Wood. Nili can be reached at nili.gesser@temple.edu.

Goldkorn, Ida


Ida Goldkorn is a fifth year graduate student pursuing a PhD in Criminal Justice at Temple University. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ida grew up in Israel, and moved to California in 2007. She was awarded a BA in Sociology and Philosophy (Public Policy Emphasis) from UC Santa Barbara in 2010. Her research interests include pretrial detention, bail reform, and racial disparity in the criminal justice system. Ida is the 2010 recipient of the Joan McCord Award.

Griffin, Patricia

Pat Griffin is an advanced doctoral student.  She is also founding director of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Institute at Saint Joseph’s University, Co-Director of the Center for Domestic Preparedness and Leadership, and presently holds the position of Associate Dean in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies.  Past professional appointments include Criminal Investigative Analyst and Special Agent for the Office of Organized Crime and Labor Racketeering, U.S. Department of Labor.  Her research interests include nodal policing, intelligence-led policing and fusion centers; her advisor is Dr. Jennifer Wood.

Haberman, Cory

Cory Haberman is a doctoral candidate in the department and an affiliated researcher in the Center for Security and Crime Science. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Cory's research interests include the geography of crime and policing effectiveness. In 2014, Cory was awarded the National Institute of Justice's Graduate Research Fellowship for his mixed-methods dissertation examining hot spots policing in Philadelphia. CV

Hamilton, Leah

Leah Hamilton is a third year PhD student.  Prior to joining the doctoral program, Leah earned a BA (Honors) in Political Studies from Queen's University (Canada) and a Masters in Criminology from the University of Cambridge.  Leah's research interests include drug treatment, drug policy reform, and implementation evaluation research. She is currently working as a research assistant on the Juvenile Justice Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ TRIALS) project. Leah can be contacted at leah.hamilton@temple.edu.

Harding, Courtney Courtney Harding is a fourth year PhD student. Originally from Moorestown, New Jersey, she received her BA from Rutgers University in 2007, majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology and minoring in French language. Following undergraduate study, Courtney did substance abuse counseling work at Northern State Prison in Newark, NJ, at an adult partial-care facility in Trenton, NJ and also with at-risk juveniles in West Palm Beach, FL. Courtney then pursued Masters-level coursework in Psychology at New York University. While there, Courtney worked as a research assistant with Nathan Kline Institute and John Jay College of Criminal Justice on a Mental Health Court evaluation study. Courtney has also done extensive work for Pathways to Housing, LLC in Philadelphia, New York City and in Burlington, Vermont, collecting data on the Housing First approach to addressing homelessness at these different program sites. While at Temple, Courtney hopes to concentrate on addiction and/or mental health-focused diversion programs, re-entry, and drug policy. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Wayne Welsh.
Heinzeroth, Robert

Robert Drew Heinzeroth is a first year Ph.D. student.  A Philadelphia native, he holds a B.S. in Business from Penn State University (2001), an M.S. in Public Safety from Saint Joseph's University (2006), and recently completed an M.A. in Criminal Justice at Temple University (2014).  He is also a graduate of Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command (2010).  A thirteen-year veteran and a captain in the Philadelphia Police Department, Drew has worked in a variety of patrol and investigative units throughout the city, has been the recipient of numerous departmental commendations and citations, and has also received a number of community-based awards for his service.  His aspiration is to improve police practice through research.

Henderson, Jaime

Jaime S. Henderson is an advanced doctoral student at Temple hailing from Nebraska. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a M.A. in Forensic Psychology from Castleton State College in Vermont. Her research interests largely fall within the policy realm, including sex offenders, juvenile justice and the Supreme Court. Currently, under the supervision of Dr. Phil Harris, she is investigating the potential implications of juvenile sex offender policy, having been awarded an NIJ Dissertation Research Fellowship for 2012.  Jaime works at the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania as the Research & Information Analyst. Her email is Jaime@temple.edu.

Henson, Abigail

Abigail Henson, a Brooklyn native, is a second year PhD student. She recently graduated cum laude from Goucher College with a BA in sociology. During and after college she had several internships within the Criminal Justice field. Her first experience was with Alternative Directions, Inc in Baltimore, MD as a transitional workshop facilitator at MCIW in Jessup, MD. Following this experience she worked at the Correctional Association of New York with the Prison Visiting Project; the Bronx Defenders; the National Women's Prison Project; and the Vera Institute of Justice with the Center for Sentencing and Corrections. Abigail's research interests are focused mainly on Corrections and Re-entry. 
Dr, Kate Auerhahn is her facutly advisor. Abigail can be reached at

Holt, Lauren

Lauren Holt is a second year PhD student from New Jersey.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a minor in Japanese Language from the College of New Jersey.  As an undergraduate she interned at the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and worked on a research project applying statistical and geospatial analyses to municipal police data.  Her current research interests are policing, GIS and crime mapping, and policy assessment.  Her faculty advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Groff.  She can be reached at lauren.holt@temple.edu.

Johnson, Ingrid

Ingrid Johnson is a fourth year doctoral student. She received her BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2010.  She moved to Philadelphia to join Temple's graduate program, where she is focusing her research on the criminal justice system's response to substance abuse and domestic violence in rural areas. She is currently working as a Research Assistant for the Juvenile Justice Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-Trials) project. She can be contacted at ingrid.johnson@temple.edu.

Joyce, Nola

Nola Joyce has over twenty-five years with the public sector, with extensive experience in the area of public safety.  She joined the Philadelphia Police Department in February 2008 and is currently Deputy Commissioner of Organizational Services, Strategy, and Innovation.  She received the Gary P. Hayes award in 2010 from the Police Executive Research Forum.  The collaboration of the PPD and Temple University on the Philadelphia Foot Patrol experiment resulted in the department receiving the IACP/Sprint Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement Research in 2010. Prior to working with the Philadelphia Police Department, Ms. Joyce worked at the Chicago Police Department, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C., and the Illinois Department of Corrections.  Nola olds three master’s degrees and is working toward a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice at Temple University. 

Klein, Hannah

Hannah Klein is a first year PhD student originally from Wilmington, DE. She received her BA in Math & Economics from Lafayette College followed by a Masters in Public Administration from Villanova University. Previously, Hannah worked for the City of Philadelphia in the Mayor's Office of Grants and the Department of Human Services where she worked on policy and research focused on older youth, youth violence prevention, homelessness prevention, and trauma informed care. Her current research interests are on rehabilitation within the juvenile justice system and community impacts on an individual's propensity to commit crimes. Hannah works with Dr. Caterina Roman, who serves as her advisor, on the CeaseFire evaluation for Philadelphia. Hannah can be reached at hannah.klein@temple.edu.

Link, Nathan

Nathan is a fifth year doctoral student in the Department of Criminal Justice. Nathan completed a B.S. in Criminology from the College of New Jersey and a Master of Social Work (policy track) from Rutgers. While at Rutgers he was awarded a Governor’s Executive Fellowship with the Eagleton Institute of Politics. He has worked in a residential treatment facility for troubled youth, as a group therapist in a drug treatment program, and for AmeriCorps’ Jumpstart program in Camden. Nathan’s research interests include prisoner reentry, mental health and violence, and services for those in the correctional system. He is currently a Research Assistant for Dr. Caterina Roman. They are examining the impact of child support debt and other legal financial obligations on several outcomes in reentry using the SVORI data. Nathan can be reached at nathan.link@temple.edu.

Mayes, Lauren


Lauren Mayes is a sixth year PhD student. She is from the Philadelphia area and received her Bachelors in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Temple University in 2009. Lauren completed her Masters in Criminal Justice at Temple in 2011. She has worked as a research assistant to Drs. John Goldkamp and E. Rely Vilcica on the Pennsylvania parole project, and with Dr. Wayne Welsh on CJDATS II, focused on drug treatment implementation. Lauren currently assists Dr. Caterina Roman with a project on peer networks and gang involvement. In addition, Lauren is currently enjoying engaging with students while teaching Nature of Crime. Her academic interests include socio-legal studies, critical race theory, and the reproduction of inequality and privilege. She can be reached at lauren.mayes@temple.edu

McConaghy, Megan Megan McConaghy is a first year PhD student. She graduated magna cum laude from Temple University and received her BA in Psychology in 2011. In 2014, she received her MA in Criminal Justice (Forensic Psychology concentration) from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Megan was a research assistant for three years in Temple's Psychology Department and worked under Dr. Steinberg on a juvenile justice initiative. She also spent two years working in Atlantic City and Pleasantville, NJ on a state-wide anti-violence project that focused on collaboration between law enforcement, government agencies, education, non-profit groups, and grassroots organizations to incite change. Megan's research interests include juvenile delinquency, adolescent development, the school-to-prison pipeline, educational attainment, and control theories. Her advisor is Dr. Jamie Fader. Megan can be reached at meg.mcc@temple.edu.
Medina, Justin

Justin Medina is a Ph.D. candidate from Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He received his BA in anthropology from the University of New Mexico and MS in criminal justice from the University of Pennsylvania.  He interned with the Police Foundation in 2006, and has been a Philadelphia Adult Probation/Parole Officer for the past two years.  His advisor is Dr. Ralph Taylor, and his current research interests include: probation/parole and policing issues, border issues, and the relationship dynamics between criminal justice entities (courts, police, & prisons). He can be reached at justin.medina@temple.edu.

Perenzin, Amber Amber Perenzin is a fourth year doctoral student from Westminster, Massachusetts. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Northeastern University and her M.A. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Crime Analysis from the University of Central Florida. Amber has completed internships throughout her studies as a crime analyst at the Boston Regional Intelligence Center as well as the Orlando Police Department. Her research interests include the geography of crime, policing and program evaluation. Amber currently works as a research assistant for Dr. Jerry Ratcliffe and can be reached at amber.perenzin@temple.edu.
Pitts, Joseph Joseph Pitts is a fourth year PhD student.  He graduated from Temple University in May 2011 magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy. Growing up just outside the city limits in Delaware County, he has always loved Philadelphia and is looking forward to pursuing his PhD in Criminal Justice at Temple. Joe’s advisor is Dr. Kate Auerhahn, and he is interested in policy assessment, social justice, and ethical issues within the system.  He is currently a research assistant, working with Dr. Phil Harris,  In the past Joe worked as a research assistant on the Pennsylvania parole project with Dr. Goldkamp and Dr. Vilcica. Joe can be reached at joepitts@temple.edu.
Sorg, Evan

Evan T. Sorg is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University and a former New York City police officer.  He received his B.A. (2009) and M.A. (2011) in Criminal Justice from Temple University, and is in the final stages of completing his doctoral dissertation entitled, “An ex post facto evaluation of the Philadelphia GunStat model.”  He has published several articles on the topic of policing policy and the geography of crime in leading journals such as Criminology and the Journal of Research and Crime and Delinquency. He will accept the Division of Experimental Criminology’s Outstanding Paper Award at November’s meeting of the American Society of Criminology for a piece entitled, “Boundary adherence during place-based policing evaluations: a research note,” recently published in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.  He has taught criminal justice classes at the undergraduate level and has taught courses on intelligence-led policing, problem-oriented policing and crime mapping and analysis to police officers, commanders and analysts in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Maryland, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize. When not teaching, researching and writing his dissertation, he enjoys scuba diving, fishing, paddle boarding, skiing, yoga, politics and spending time with his family. CV.

Tower, Sondra

Sondra Tower is a doctoral student from Manchester, New Hampshire. She earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice with a dual minor in Psychology and Political Science from Northeastern University, and a M.A. in Criminal Justice from Widener University.  She spent three years as a police officer on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, after which she decided to continue her education.  She is currently working with Dr. Elizabeth Groff studying Philadelphia parks and crime.  Her research interests include the “where and why” of crime, and in the future she would like to pursue more qualitative research.  Sondra was awarded the 2013 James J. Fyfe award for an outstanding research paper.  Sondra can be reached at smtower@temple.edu.

Tyler, Mackenzie Mackenzie Tyler is a first year masters student from Central New Jersey. She completed her undergraduate degree at University of Delaware and graduated cum laude in the spring of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a double minor in Sociology and Political Science, as well as a Certificate in Japanese. Her research interests include rehabilitation and reentry of offenders. Her advisor is Dr. LaTosha Traylor. She can be reached at mtyler@temple.edu.
Van Wallendael, Megan

Megan Van Wallendael is a first year Master's student from New Jersey.  She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelors of Science in Criminology and minors in Spanish and Psychology.  She interned with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and worked on three research projects during her undergraduate academic career, presenting one at the American Society of Criminology Conference.  Her interests focus on criminal intelligence, counter-terrorism, and policing.  Megan is currently a Research Assistant to Dr. Ratcliffe and can be reached at megan.vw@temple.edu.

Waltman-Spreha, Kelly

Kelly is in her fifth year in the PhD program.  She received her B.A. in Psychology from Messiah College in 1999.  Upon graduating she worked for over a year as a Crime Victim Advocate in Dauphin County, and then moved on to become a Probation Officer with Dauphin County Juvenile Probation for six years.  While working for the probation department Kelly studied at Shippensburg University and earned her M.S. in Criminal Justice.  After her time at juvenile probation, Kelly worked for three years at Milestones Community Healthcare, Inc. as the program director for their behavior health services program.   Kelly has been a full-time instructor at Messiah College and an adjunct instructor at Harrisburg Area Community College.  Kelly’s research interests include juvenile justice and delinquency issues and restorative justice.  She can be contacted at kwaltman@temple.edu

Watson, Christina
Christina Watson is a fifth year Ph.D. student. She is a native of Philadelphia and graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in Criminal Justice in 2009 and her Master's degree in Criminal Justice in 2012. She is currently working on a project with the Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver and with Dr. Caterina Roman that examines the changes in attitudes students hold about gangs and police after experiencing the Gang resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program. She has also been a summer instructor for the Prisons in America undergraduate course and is currently an instructor for Planned Change in Criminal Justice undergraduate capstone course. Christina's research interests include co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders, problem solving courts, gender differences in criminal justice and juvenile delinquency. She can be reached at christina.watson@temple.edu.