Our department has nationally and internationally recognized scholars whose research addresses critical questions about society and the criminal justice system and has significant academic and policy impacts.



Lance Hannon Headshot

Lance Hannon, PhD, gave a testimony on September 22, 2021 to the Philadelphia City Council expressing his support for two proposed bills designed to help eliminate unequal policing in Philadelphia. The expert testimony is based on his research examining Philadelphia’s vehicle and pedestrian stop data.    

Meredith Bergey, PhD, along with coauthors Giuseppina Chiri, PhD, Nikki L. B. Freeman, PhD, and Thomas I Mackie, PhD, published an article titled "Mapping mental health inequalities: The intersecting effects of gender, race, class, and ethnicity on ADHD diagnosis" in Sociology of Health and Illness.

Kelly Welch, PhD, along with coauthors Peter S. Lehmann, PhD, Cecilia Chouhy, PhD, and Ted Chiricos, PhD, published an article titled “Cumulative racial and ethnic disparities along the school-to-prison pipeline” in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency


Tom Arvanites, PhD, is investigating the effect of residential segregation on the incarceration rate of African Americans for drug offenses.

Meredith Bergey, PhD, is working on a paper with Thomas Mackie, PhD, Giuseppina Chiri, PhD, and Nikki Freeman, PhD, that examines intersecting social identities and health inequalities.  

Rick Eckstein, PhD, is currently exploring the social class bias in non-revenue intercollegiate sports.

Heidi Grundetjern, PhD, examines how the intersections of social inequalities shape cultures and organizational structures of illegal drug markets to enable and constrain opportunities for women’s participation. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Jody Miller (Rutgers-Newark) on a longitudinal study on women’s participation in methamphetamine markets in rural Missouri.

Lance Hannon, PhD, is currently working on a variety of sociological and criminological research projects utilizing digital text analysis tools.   

Melissa Hodges, PhD, is currently working on a project that examines the relationship between the structural arrangements of care systems and variation in the distribution of economic inequality across gender, race, and class cross-nationally.

Brian J. Jones, PhD, is examining the surge in social network interaction that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Rory Kramer, PhD, is finishing work on a book manuscript about diversity within the Black student body at selective colleges and universities with colleagues at Penn and Princeton. He is also working on a related paper on the impact of racial disparities in exposure to stressful events on college completion rates.

Rory Kramer, PhD, and Brianna Remster, PhD, are conducting a nationwide analysis of the impact of prison gerrymandering on political representation using the soon to be released state legislative redistricting maps from the 2020 census.

Jill McCorkel, PhD, is working on two research projects. The first is exploring how laws and policies unique to the Irish criminal justice system shape parenting strategies and family relationships among prisoners. The second is a study of prison privatization in California with a focus on the ways in which private drug treatment programs and "reentry services" are reconfiguring the structural arrangements of mass incarceration in the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Plata.

Allison Payne, PhD, is collaborating with our department’s research associate, Denise Wilson, and a former graduate student, Dr. Kirsten Witherup of York College, on a multilevel study examining the influence of school-related risk and protective factors on traditional and cyberbullying.   

Brianna Remster, PhD, and Melissa Hodges, PhD, are investigating the incarceration-wage penalty for women compared to men.

Ken Sun, PhD, is currently working on two manuscripts, including a single-authored book on aging and migration, and the other on transnational social protection (with Professors Peggy Levitt, Erica Dobb, and Ruxandra Paul).

Kelly Welch, PhD, is co-authoring a school-to-prison pipeline study examining how the disparate exposure of youth of color to exclusionary school discipline contributes to racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice system involvement.

Sun, Ken Chih-Yan. (2021). Time and Migration: How Long-Term Taiwanese Migrants Negotiate Later Life. Cornell University Press.

Jones, Brian. (2019). Social Capital in American Life. Palgrave Macmillan.

Bergey, Meredith R., Angela M. Filipe, Peter Conrad, and Ilina Singh (Eds.) (2018). Global Perspectives on ADHD. Social Dimensions of Diagnosis and Treatment in Sixteen Countries. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Eckstein, Rick. (2017). How College Athletics Are Hurting Girls' Sports: The Pay-to-Play Pipeline. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

McCorkel, Jill. (2013). Breaking Women: Gender, Race and the New Politics of Imprisonment. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Bergey, Meredith, Giuseppina Chiri, Nikki Freeman, and Thomas I. Mackie. (2022). Mapping Mental Health Inequalities: The Intersecting Effects of Gender, Race, Class, and Ethnicity on ADHD Diagnosis. Sociology of Health and Illness.

Chiam, Mckenzee, Erick Rojas, Meredith Bergey, and Thomas Mackie. (2021). The Effect of Medical Home on Shared Decision‐Making for Caregivers of Children with Emotional, Developmental, or Behavioral Health Conditions. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 25(8), 1285-1295. 

Grundetjern, Heidi and Whitney Tchoula. (2021). Nostalgia and rumors in the rural methamphetamine market. American Journal of Cultural Sociology.

Hannon, Lance, Malik Neal, and Alex R. Gustafson. (2020). Out-of-Place and In-Place Policing: An Examination of Traffic Stops in Racially Segregated PhiladelphiaCrime & Delinquency, 67(6-7), 868–890.

Hannon, Lance and Robert DeFina. (2020). The reliability of same-race and cross-race skin tone judgmentsRace and Social Problems, 12, 186–1941.

Hannon, Lance, Verna M. Keith, Robert DeFina, and Mary E. Campbell. (2020). Do White People See Variation in Black Skin Tones? Reexamining a Purported Outgroup Homogeneity Effect. Social Psychology Quarterly, 84(1), 95–106.

Budig, Michelle J., Misun Lim, and Melissa J. Hodges. (2021). Racial and Gender Pay Disparities: The Role of Education. Social Science Research, 98, 102580.

Dill, Janette and Melissa J. Hodges.  (2020). The racialized glass escalator and safety net: Wages and job quality in “meds and eds” among working-class men. Social Problems

Kramer, Rory and Brianna Remster. (2022). The slow violence of contemporary policingAnnual Review of Criminology, 5.

Buggs, Shantel G., Jennifer P. Sims, and Rory Kramer. (2020). Rejecting white distraction: a critique of the white logic and white methods in academic publishingEthnic and Racial Studies43(8), 1384-1392.

McCorkel, Jill. (2020, In Press). The Rise, the Fall, and the Reinvention of Prison Ethnography. In Bucerius, Sandra, Kevin Haggerty, and Luca Berardi (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Ethnographies of Crime and Criminal Justice.

McCorkel, Jill. (2020). Police officers accused of brutal violence often have a history of complaints by citizensThe Conversation, May 31.

McCorkel, Jill. (2020). A Revolution in Prosecution: The Campaign to End Mass Incarceration in Philadelphia. In Henne, Kathryn and Rita Shah (Eds.), Routledge Handbook on Public Criminologies.

Payne, Allison A. and Denise Wilson. (2021). The Importance of a Positive School Climate in Addressing Youth Retaliation. In H. Recchia and C. Wainryb (Eds.), Revenge across Childhood and Adolescence

Remster, Brianna, Chris M. Smith, and Rory Kramer. (Forthcoming). “Race, Gender, and Police Violence in the Shadow of Controlling Images.” Social Problems. 

Remster, Brianna. (2021). Homelessness among Formerly Incarcerated Men: Patterns and Predictors. ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 693, 141-157

Warner, Cody and Brianna Remster. (2021). Criminal Justice Contact, Residential Independence, and Returns to the Parental HomeJournal of Marriage and Family, 83, 322-339.

Sun, Ken Chih-Yan and Nazli Kibria. (2021). The Micro-politics of Recognition and Care: How Adult Children in Urban China Negotiate Relationships with Emigrant SiblingsSocial Problems.

Welch, Kelly, Peter S. Lehmann, Cecilia Chouhy and Ted Chiricos. (2022). Cumulative racial and ethnic disparaties along the school-to-prison pipeline. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.



Erin O'Toole Headshot

Erin O'Toole ’22 Sociology

Searching for a job can undoubtedly be a daunting task for any new graduate. Many people assume sociology majors will pursue a higher education degree, but what if we choose a different path–one with fewer pre-established standards? How should a sociology student approach a career in a non-liberal arts field? This was the question I faced last semester as I began my search for a job post-graduation.

I focused my job search in the technology consulting sector. While this may seem like a strange route for a sociology major to pursue, what attracted me to the industry was the opportunity to solve problems in unique and creative ways–a skill that has been reinforced during my time at Villanova. In my interviews, I constantly found myself referencing what I learned in my sociology classes: how to conduct thorough research, formulate thoughtful questions, challenge the status quo, and communicate effectively. To my surprise (and relief), these were skills recruiters valued. Rather than hiring only business or data science students, I found companies were open to hiring all majors, as long as applicants demonstrated the ability and desire to learn on the job.

As my time at Villanova comes to a close and I reflect on what advice would be helpful for underclassmen, I would say this: do not box yourself in. If you are interested in a position but are unsure if they will hire a sociology major – apply. Studying sociology will provide you with an invaluable skillset in research, communication, and creative thinking. These traits are extremely desirable and transferable across industries.

With that, do not hesitate to contact the career center, attend networking events, talk to faculty, and contact alumni to help ease the transition to your field of choice. In my experience, I found the career center and Handshake to be the most valuable resources for exploring and preparing for work opportunities. The career center is incredibly useful for resume reviews and interview preparation. Handshake is required to register for networking events such as the career fair–an experience I found to be extremely beneficial. This past fall at the career fair I connected with a recruiter from Deloitte. I used Handshake to apply to their open job position. By using these resources and skills acquired as a sociology major, I was offered a job at Deloitte as a Business Technology Solutions Analyst. I start my job later this year at their New York City office. 

Jae Aristilde Headshot

Jae Aristilde ’22 Criminology

Villanova in the Valley changed my life. I am a senior criminology major with minors in sociology and Africana studies. I had no idea that Villanova in the Valley existed until my roommate in the business school convinced me to apply with her. We were both accepted and are so grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Silicon Valley to see how tech and business ecosystems thrive.

Villanova in the Valley is a one-week immersion program hosted by the Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Institute that exposes students to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, the center of global innovation and entrepreneurship. Over six days, we developed a deep understanding of the ecosystem through company visits, networking events, and educational tours. We heard firsthand from innovators, entrepreneurs, investors (i.e., Thoma Bravo), startups (i.e., Armis), and large companies (i.e., Workday and Google). We learned what makes the ecosystem tick, the associated opportunities and challenges, and how to start a career in Silicon Valley/San Francisco.

I recently decided not to attend law school and have questioned what I can do with a degree in criminology. This decision is what ultimately drove me to apply for the program, and I’m glad I did so that I could explore a new industry. Hearing intelligent businesswomen and men talk about unconventional paths from college–if they even attended– to their current roles helped me realize that my decision to pivot professionally was not unconventional. It has reinforced my decision to explore a career that is unlikely to be directly related to my major.

Now, upon graduation, I hope to explore the world of architecture, engineering, and technology both academically and professionally. Villanova in the Valley was an incredible experience that gave me the confidence to try new things, knowing that I still have a promising future ahead.

Department Chair:
Dr. Thomas Arvanites
 SAC 204
Phone: 610-519-4774

Administrative Assistants:
Mary Ann Hostler
: (610) 519-4742

Shelly DuBois
: (610) 519-4786

Faculty-Mentored Research