WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Sept. 30, 2015 — West Liberty University senior Hannah Walters, Williamstown, W.Va., was one of just 20 students selected to present her research at the regional Southern Criminal Justice Association Conference (SCJA), held in Charleston, S.C. recently.
Her poster and research dealt with the topic of animal cruelty and was entitled, “One Piece of the Triad: Animal Cruelty Explained.”
“I’ve always been interested in the mind of a criminal. So I picked this topic to better understand youth violence and how it correlates to crime later in life,” said Walters, who plans to go on to graduate school after spring commencement and eventually become a professor.
“The conference was an eye-opening experience. It was very interesting to see the variety of topics and interests of other students. I’m truly thrilled to have had this chance to present my work,” she said.
“She did tremendous in her presentation and as one of the few undergraduate students among experienced graduate researchers, she represented the university very well,” said Dr. Keith Bell, associate professor of the Criminal Justice program.
“Since research methods have been taught as a class at WLU, beginning in 2012, it has been a focal point of the CJ faculty to have students participate in local, regional, and state poster and paper presentations. Hannah is a wonderful example of how important research is in the field of criminal justice,” Bell said.
Walters worked on her project for about nine months. She began by gathering research from library data bases on juvenile violence and animal cruelty. Then she used this to create her paper and poster project. Her next step, as she continues her research in graduate school, will be to devise a survey to administer to the incarcerated people in West Virginia prisons.
The SCJA includes Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Its mission is to promote the highest standards of education, ethics, training, planning, practice, and research in criminal justice and allied fields.
Officially established in 1972, SCJA facilitates professional development and interaction.
Bell is also the interim chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. For more information on the criminal justice program, contact Dr. Bell at 304.336.8376.