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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Department of Criminal Justice honors top students

The UALR Department of Criminal Justice recently honored its top students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

The outstanding undergraduate award went to Malcolm Scott, a McNair Scholar mentored by Dr. David Montague. Scott has been accepted into the criminal justice graduate program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His research involves the recidivism rates of imprisoned African-American males. Scott is from Wabbaseka, near Pine Bluff.

Rocio Roles received the outstanding master’s level student award. She already has two peer-reviewed publications to her name and will present original research at the American Society of Criminology in Atlanta this fall. A member of Phi Kappa Phi and the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, Roles was born and raised in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and moved to the United States when she was 19.

Roles received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UALR, where she graduated summa cum laude in May 2012. Her research interests are gang membership and violence, drug markets and communities, and race and ethnicity. Her most recent research project examines the Hispanic experience with crime and criminal justice in Arkansas.

Kyle Burgason received the outstanding Ph.D. student award. He was recently published in The Journal of Interpersonal Violence, a Top 10 journal in the field with a 90 percent rejection rate for all articles that are submitted. Burgason is originally from the small farming community of State Center, Iowa. He is a magna cum laude graduate of East Tennessee State University, earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there.

His research interests include policing, ethics in criminal justice, criminological theory, structural and cultural context of violent crime and victimization, capital punishment, and the optimal foraging theory and its applications to crime. Burgason hopes to teach the next generation of criminal justice scholars and continue his research following his doctorate degree.

The Department of Criminal Justice at UALR is the flagship criminal justice program in the state. It houses three centers dedicated to specific types of research and service, including the Center for the Study of Environmental Criminology, the Juvenile Justice Center, and the Senior Justice Center.