Doctoral student finds success at Student Research and Creative Works Expo

Dr. Rocio Paez

Rocio Paez, a criminal justice doctoral student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has found success with the help of the university’s Student Research and Creative Works Expo.

This year’s event is set to run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, April 3, in Donaghey Student Center Ledbetter Hall. It is open to current UA Little Rock undergraduate and graduate students. The registration deadline is Thursday, March 30.

Paez, of Sherwood, Arkansas, has presented her research during the expo the past three years and won first place in her division in the 2016 expo. She has found the expo an excellent place to get feedback on her research and prepare for presenting her research on a larger scale.

“You get really good feedback from the judges and the people who attend the event, which often steers you in the right direction,” Paez said. “It is a good stepping stone to present work at national and international conferences. I also enjoyed the opportunity to talk to other people who are presenting their research in the expo, share ideas, and explore potential research collaborations.”

Paez’s presentation with Hyounggon Kwak, a fellow criminal justice doctoral student, “The Relationship between Low Self-control, Risky Lifestyles, and Victimization: An Analysis of South Korean Youth,” won first place in the Professional Studies Graduate Division in the 2016 Student Research and Creative Works Expo.

She has since presented her research at a national conference, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and is preparing to publish a related paper. This is far from the only success she has had with work presented at the expo.

At the 2014 expo, Paez presented research from her master’s thesis, “Hispanic Perceptions of Police in the Southwest United States.” This paper was published in the American Journal of Criminal Justice in 2016.

Paez came to UA Little Rock in 2009 from Monterrery, Mexico, because she was impressed by the UA Little Rock Criminal Justice program. After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2012 and master’s degree in 2014, Paez is set to complete her doctorate this summer.

Paez serves as a visiting assistant professor in the UA Little Rock Department of Criminal Justice for the 2016-17 school year while finishing her final year for her doctorate. In August, she will begin work as an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

“I know Ball State was impressed with the fact that I had presented my work at the university level. It showed that I was involved at the university, and that I was interested in showcasing my work at the local level, which I believe is just as important as presenting it at national and international conferences,” she said.

As a faculty member, Paez cannot enter this year’s expo, but she encourages all students, especially those in the job market, to enter their research and creative works.

“Getting the exposure of presenting your work at the expo is very important as it opens the doors of academic opportunity. Students can gain experience and build self confidence by sharing and talking to others about their research and work,” she said.

“It is also a great opportunity to present at the expo once you start looking for jobs. It sets you apart from other applicants as it not only shows that you have been doing research, but that you have been making the point of showcasing it and making others in your field and your community aware of your work.”

For more information and to register, visit the  expo website or contact Dr. Jeremy Ecke, expo committee chair, at, or Kristi Wright, committee assistant, at

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