Outstanding CHSS Scholars
Please join us in congratulating our outstanding CHSS Scholars for 2018! These students and their achievements represent the best of the best for their respective disciplines.
Kelly Neal - 2018 Outstanding Senior in Criminal Justice
Kelly Neal graduated Summa Cum Laude from Kennesaw State University in December 2017 and received a B.S. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology. Kelly was accepted into the Accelerated Bachelor's-Master’s (ABM) Degree Program for Fall 2017 and was able to earn credit toward a master’s degree. She is currently pursuing a M.S. in Criminal Justice at Kennesaw State University.
While attending Kennesaw State University, Kelly became a member of the Kennesaw State University Police Explorer Post 578. She joined Post 578 in January 2016 as an Explorer Recruit, and since then has been promoted through the ranks to her current position as Post Major. In Fall 2017, she was recognized as the 2017 Explorer of the Year. As Post Major, Kelly was responsible for guiding, maintaining, and leading the entire Post, as well as acting as a liaison between Explorers, Post Advisors, and the Explorer Advisory Committee. However, due to the demands of graduate school she has decided to resign her position and focus on academics.
Kelly was inducted into Alpha Phi Sigma (APS), the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, in April 2016. She is currently the President of the Kappa Upsilon Chapter of APS at Kennesaw State University. As President, she is responsible for preparing agendas for meetings, presiding over meetings, appointing members of committees, voting in a tie, and assisting the APS faculty advisors. Her dedication to APS has resulted in a significant increase in both active and new members. Kelly received the 2018 Student Member Achievement Award for her leadership, community service, and commitment to upholding the ideals of Alpha Phi Sigma. This award is granted to only 5 APS members nationwide each year.
Kelly decided to pursue a M.S. in Criminal Justice to enhance her knowledge and obtain the skills necessary to become an effective leader in the always advancing field of criminal justice. She wants to have the ability to be proactive, as opposed to being reactive, and to gain the necessary qualifications and expertise to make meaningful contributions within the field of criminal justice. Kelly aspires to have an impact on the criminal justice system and influence changes that will improve our society.
For her undergraduate internship, Kelly assisted Dr. Crowder and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to review, organize, and index four cold homicide cases. As part of her responsibilities, she had to prepare duplicates and redact each case file to use in Dr. Crowder’s Criminal Profiling and Analysis class. Kelly has worked tirelessly on this project and is still conducting research on possible leads for these cold cases. Presently, Kelly is a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Beverly Crank. She is assisting Dr. Crank with research to develop a paper on the effects of exposure to violence in regards to criminal offending. These unique experiences have vastly improved her critical thinking skills and research abilities; two attributes that will enrich her graduate studies and assist her in achieving future goals.
In July 2018 Kelly will participate in the study abroad program “Germany and the Netherlands: International Crime, Justice, and Peace”, under the direction and guidance of Dr. Tanja Link and Dr. Heather Pincock. She is looking forward to this amazing opportunity to further her education and to strengthen her understanding of human rights and global issues in criminal justice and peace.
Benito Caraballo - 2018 Outstanding Senior in Sociology
Building upon a previously earned Associates Degree in Criminal Justice after an educational hiatus that was far too long, I found myself facing the demands of full-time employment and my studies, as well as being a husband and father to a son with autism, along with all of the associated responsibilities. As a non-traditional student, my initial concern was that I would look odd as an older person in a class of young students. To my comfort, I found that many of my fellow students were just like me, older students who - for whatever reason - took the initiative to better themselves academically. Motivated by a desire to do better for myself, along with the help and inspiration of my family, friends, instructors and fellow classmates, I was able to complete my coursework at a level that exceeded my own expectations.
It is never too late to better oneself academically, pursue passions, or fulfill dreams. Sociology interests me greatly because it is such a broad topic that covers, among other things, history; politics; interactions among and between populations both nationally and internationally; why some populations are advantaged/disadvantaged over others; social theories; and, criminal justice. While I am already employed full-time, my post-graduation plans are open. Now that I am armed with a Bachelor degree, and as a graduate with honors, I stand ready to see what contribution I can make to society and earn the pride of my community, my university, my family and myself.