Associate Professor Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice University of Maryland
I received both my MA and Ph.D. at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers-Newark. My dissertation, under the direction of Dr. George Kelling, focused on the social networks of street gangs in Newark. After graduation, I joined the faculty at the University of Maryland, where I am now an Associate Professor. My research primarily focuses on two areas: groups and crime; and, offending specialization. The first theme reflects an interest in group processes, peer effects, and criminal networks. Specifically, I am interested in how and why deviant peer and co-offending networks impact the criminal career and whether these processes vary in meaningful ways across people. My interest in these issues began as an undergraduate at Bryn Mawr College, where I worked closely with faculty in the psychology department on topics related to learning theory.
Regarding offending specialization, I have done work on the notion that there is “short term” specialization, which is likely structured by opportunities and peer networks. In this work (though not only in this work), I frequently collaborate with Chris Sullivan (U of Cincinnati), who was a fellow graduate student at Rutgers.
Though these two topic areas may seem quite different, they do converge quite often, especially with regard to where I think the research is headed. Both thematic areas have been subject to discussion and debate for decades, but I believe that scholars are currently wrestling with critical questions about what we are “truly” studying. This has resulted in more careful consideration of measurement and modeling techniques, as well as attempts to better capture and study “process” as opposed to variables. To some extent, this is a return to the origins of contemporary criminological theory, but I nonetheless believe it will lead to significant gains in knowledge about causal mechanisms and the reality of criminal patterns. I also have a forthcoming book with Chris Sullivan and Les Kennedy that speaks to these issues (“When Crime Occurs: The Role of Emergence”).
University of Maryland
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
2220 LeFrak Hall
College Park, MD 20742