Criminology and Justice Studies Program graduates first Ph.D. class
The School of Criminology and Justice Studies conferred its first doctoral degrees in May and the class of nine newly minted Ph.D.s all earned their degrees in three years. The graduates were recognized at a ceremony that honored new graduates and alumni.
The Ph.D. program is the only one of its kind at a public university in the region and its graduates are helping to meet the demand for academics and scholars in the field. Eight of the graduates already have jobs lined up, including three who have tenure-track positions at public institutions in the region to educate the newest generation of criminal justice professionals.
“We diagnosed the need for a new generation of criminology and criminal justice professors in the region and developed the doctoral program in exactly the right place at the right time,” said Prof. Paul Tracy, program coordinator. “Three and a half years ago, we couldn’t have imagined having developed such an excellent group of graduates, but they did whatever it took to finish in three years.”
Completing the program in three years required a lot of hard work and time management, said Danielle Marie Carkin, who earned the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award.
“I was finishing my master’s in community social psychology here and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I’d just done a program with young people trying to keep them out of gangs in Lowell, so I knew there was a criminal justice aspect that I hoped to keep moving forward with,” Carkin said. “And then, around graduation, the Ph.D. program opened. I was very lucky and I got in with a teaching assistant spot. It was a lot of fun.”
Tracy attributes the success of the first group of doctoral graduates to numerous factors. The school admits highly motivated students and encourages them to develop dissertation topics during the first year. In addition, the faculty members work closely with the students throughout the program.
“UMass Lowell has a great group of faculty who really want to help you,” said Carkin.
The school’s alumni board welcomed the new graduates — which also included nearly 100 master’s and 300 bachelor’s degree students.
“As alumni we want to help you get a leg up,” said Scott McGaunn, an FBI officer, faculty member and board member. “We’re going to expect a lot of you so that future grads can go to you for guidance and help in the same way.”
Alumni Honored for Valor and Dedication
The school also honored alumni who have gone above and beyond for students and their community.
When introducing the recipient for the Outstanding Alumni Award for Valor, alumni board chairman Ed Cronin said no one better exemplified the honor than Boston Police Officer John Moynihan, who was shot in the line of duty in March. Moynihan was also part of the team that helped save fellow alum Richard Donohue Jr., an MBTA
Transit Police Officer who was wounded during a shootout with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
“There couldn’t be a better winner for the Award of Valor,” said Cronin, who noted Moynihan’s work as an Army Ranger and member of Boston’s youth violence task force while introducing him. “We were all touched by his story and wanted to recognize him. He is a reminder of what a career in law enforcement ultimately entails for many — risking all in keeping our communities safe.”
The event also recognized Allan Roscoe, an alum, former professor, former campus police chief and ardent supporter of the department who passed away earlier this year. He taught on campus and online, helped to develop the department’s terrorism studies courses and was a student favorite for many years.
“As a student here, Allan was always excited and wanted to learn,” said Prof. Eve Buzawa, director of the school. “As a teacher, he had thousands of students and shared that same enthusiasm with them. He always believed terrorism was a topic of national concern and was teaching a class in Mahoney Hall on 9/11. He single-handedly developed courses leading to the certificate and now master’s and Ph.D. options. We all owe him a great deal of gratitude.”
Catherine Kendrick, executive director of online and continuing education, said that Roscoe’s passion for teaching was felt through his online classes as well. His support for students was unending, often taking calls from them outside class hours, even while on vacation.
“Allan personally came through for students. Always,” Kendrick said.
In addition to the Outstanding Alumni Award, the event launched the Allan Roscoe Endowed Scholarship Fund. Contributions can be made through the university's support page by designating the fund name when asked.