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Women to Watch at UA Little Rock 2023: Tara Martin

Tara Martin
Tara Martin

​​In celebration of Women’s History Month, UA Little Rock is profiling women in leadership positions who are making a difference at the university and in the community.

The next Woman to Watch at UA Little Rock of 2023 is Dr. Tara Martin, assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Tell us about yourself and your background.

I was raised in a factory town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. I received my B.S. in Psychology from the College of William & Mary and my M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina. Like a lot of criminal justice students, I was planning to work for the FBI, but after an internship with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, I decided on a more research-oriented career. I continued my education at the University of South Carolina, earning a Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Before coming to UA Little Rock, I worked as a statistician with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office in the Crime Victim Services Division.

What is your current position and professional duties at UA Little Rock?

I teach classes in all of our SCJC programs. One of my favorite classes to teach is Research Methods because I love teaching skills that can be applied in many different situations.

My responsibilities also include conducting research in the field of criminal justice and criminology. My research focuses primarily on intimate partner violence and crime measurement, and I have published articles in Justice Quarterly, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and Criminal Justice Policy Review.

I also get to mentor graduate students by working with them on research projects and serving on thesis and dissertation committees.

What brought you to UA Little Rock?

SCJC at UA Little Rock had everything I was looking for in a professor position! I liked that I could teach at every level from associate to Ph.D. I was excited to work with graduate students, and I liked that the smaller class sizes would allow for more interactive learning activities.

I would also have the opportunity to continue doing high-quality research, and SCJC has great relationships with local criminal justice agencies, which meant I would have the ability to work on applied research that directly benefited the field. Finally, the people I met during my interview really solidified my desire to come to UA Little Rock. Our School has a wonderful team of people!

What are some of the exciting projects that you are working on at UA Little Rock?

I am working on several exciting projects with graduate students at the moment. I am conducting a content analysis about how female victims of intimate partner homicide are portrayed in the news media with one of our M.A. students, ChristiAnna Page. Darlynton Adegor, a Ph.D. student, and I are finalizing a paper examining the relationship between citizenship status and willingness to report crime to the police. Additionally, Lacey Roughton, a Ph.D. candidate, Dr. Kilby Raptopoulos, and I have a paper under review that examines the relationship between social altruism and crime.

Another project I am excited to be working on is an evaluation of the Little Rock Police Department’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center Initiative. I enjoy this project because I get to work with practitioners in the field, and the research helps the City of Little Rock!

What woman has inspired you the most and why?

All of the women in my family have inspired me and taught me different lessons that have shaped who I am. My mom raised me and my brother as a single mother, and she taught us how to be kind and hard-working. My nana taught me perseverance and generosity, while my aunts taught me how to have fun and instilled a love of learning. Most importantly, though, they all modeled strength and independence, which gave me the confidence I needed to get where I am today.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

Advocate for yourself in all spaces.

Name something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.

All five of my top songs from 2022 were from “Encanto.”

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” – Lorraine Hansberry, “A Raisin in the Sun”

We are always running from one activity to the next, and sometimes it’s good to just sit and think.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Introduction to Criminal Justice is a Core class, and we would love to see you in Ross Hall!