Summer school prepares scholars for a life of crime

The changing role of police in society, crime types of sexual offenders and the effects of parental incarceration on children are just some of the research topics undertaken by students at a Summer Scholars Program this month.

Held by the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, the program enables high-achieving undergraduate and recent graduates to participate in research projects with Griffith University academics as a conduit to postgraduate study.

“This is the second year the program has been offered and we’ve been delighted with the quality of the students’ work to date,” said School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Head Professor Janet Ransley.

New Zealander Izaac Sugrue is studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington.

“I chose the summer scholars program because it’s basically a point of convergence for my degrees. I’d not heard of any other place that fitted my chosen academic path so perfectly,” he said.

Izaac is co-authoring a briefing paper on Libya and the development of international law, as well as assisting his supervisor turn his doctoral thesis into a book.

“Both tasks have been challenging and interesting, requiring the use of a wide array of different skills.”

Sydney University Bachelor of Socio-Legal studies graduate Laura McDonald is researching the way police interact with other agencies, including current issues such as globalisation, private security and social media, which influence those interactions.

“I’m hoping to produce a piece of writing that can be my stepping stone to something more substantial, maybe a journal article or some empirical research in my Honours year,” she says.

2011 Griffith University graduates Holly Smallbone (pictured) and Willow Bryant believe the summer school has provided an opportunity to develop their research interests and skills by working closely with respected academics who are leaders in their field.

Holly is examining current literature on the effects of parental incarceration on children, while Willow is analysing data on victim characteristics and crime types of sexual offenders, including data on specific confession types and interview behaviour sexual offenders use in police interrogation.

Criminology undergraduate student Jacqueline Fuller, whose research project examines the post-release support programs for Indigenous women, says she jumped at the chance to immerse herself in the research environment of the summer school.

“As a keen student of criminology, I’m hoping to complete my honours year after I graduate and then go onto postgraduate study.”