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Professor Dr. Craig Rivera (from left), assistant professor Dr. Michael Cassidy, and associate professor Dr. Timothy Lauger

With Niagara University’s criminology and criminal justice program, students have the opportunity to conduct impactful research alongside our faculty members. Our professors have been published in nationally and internationally acclaimed journals, and are known as research leaders in criminology and criminal justice fields, such as criminology, victimology, death penalty, court systems, and many more.

We asked Drs. Rivera, Cassidy, and Lauger to tell us about the research opportunities available to criminology and criminal justice students at Niagara:

What do you feel are some of the benefits of students being able to take advantage of research opportunities as an undergraduate student?

Dr. Cassidy: Engaging in research provides students with an opportunity to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and put it into practice. Gaining experience with data collection, analysis, and research design is extremely beneficial when seeking employment and/or applying to graduate programs.

Dr. Lauger: There are a few benefits. First, students may realize that they like to do research, which can alter their career aspirations. Second, research experience looks really good on job resumes and applications to graduate and law school. Third, students are learning valuable skill sets they may use in work settings. Fourth, they are learning to become more analytical in their pursuit of knowledge - thinking more about why we get the information we use to produce knowledge. Fifth, in some cases, students collect data in law enforcement agencies and are able to be in that professional environment for extended hours. They may make personal and professional connections that help them in the future.

From a professor perspective, what do you enjoy most about being able to engage students in research opportunities?

Dr. Rivera: I enjoy working with students as they realize the “other side” of the field of criminology and criminal justice - the research side - and how interesting it can be to generate and attempt to answer research questions about topics they are really interested in.

Dr. Cassidy: Working with students on research projects offers students an experience that is different from the classroom. Watching students apply what they’ve learned from the classroom in the real world is very rewarding.

What about these research opportunities do you feel makes Niagara standout from other criminology and criminal justice programs at other universities?

Dr. Rivera: I believe there are more research opportunities here than there are at similar universities, and I believe students get to engage more fully in the research process. At Niagara, students have the opportunity to collect data, conduct interviews, and do data analyses.

Dr. Lauger: NU is definitely unique in that it is a small school with a criminology and criminal justice department that is actively involved in research. Most small schools don’t have active departments or ongoing research projects. Schools that do have such research projects are typically very large and undergraduate students don’t have access to their professors, let alone establish relationships with them and do research.

Niagara University’s criminology and criminal justice program offers the best of both worlds - accessible professors who want to work with students, yet who are also conducting really good research. The opportunity for our criminology and criminal justice students to work alongside our well-versed professors in conducting meaningful research can help prepare them to pursue their career in criminology and criminal justice with confidence.

Learn more about our criminology and criminal justice program today!

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