Outstanding CHSS Scholars
Please join us in congratulating our outstanding CHSS Scholars for 2019! These students and their achievements represent the best of the best for their respective disciplines.
Alexis Lawrence - 2019 Outstanding Scholar in Criminal Justice
Alexis Lawrence will graduate Suma Cum Laude in the Spring of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. While attending Kennesaw State University, Alexis was the recipient of the ExpressJet scholarship for 2016 and 2017. She also was chosen to receive the George and Rosemary Beggs Scholarship through KSU in the Spring of 2017.
Alexis was a member of the AOII sorority and was nominated to serve as the social chair from 2017-2018. She was in charge of planning and organizing all social events and gatherings for the sorority. She also became a member of the Alpha Phi Sigma (APS), the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, in the Fall of 2017. Alexis served as the Public Relations chair from 2017-2018 and she is currently serving as the President of the Kappa Upsilon Chapter of APS at Kennesaw State University. She recently attended the National Criminal Justice Conference in Baltimore, Maryland where she learned about the latest topics in the criminal justice field.
She was also accepted into the Golden Key International Honor Society and she was inducted into The National Society of Collegiate Scholars for her scholarly achievements.
For her internship, Alexis was selected by the Cobb County District Attorney’s office to assist investigators and Assistant District Attorneys with ongoing investigations and court cases. This was a great opportunity to gain hands-on field experience while applying the knowledge she learned from her KSU criminal justice classes.
Throughout her time at KSU, Alexis also earned her private pilot’s license at Cobb County International airport while continuing to maintain a 4.0 GPA. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a career in aviation either with the airlines or with a law enforcement’s aviation division.
Imani Childs - 2019 Outstanding Scholar in Sociology
In December 2018, Imani Childs received a B.S. in Sociology from Kennesaw State University. As a Summa Cum Laude graduate, she completed her degree with the highest academic honor. Prior to graduating, Imani was accepted into the Accelerated Bachelor’s-Master’s Program, allowing her to begin working towards her master’s degree while simultaneously completing her undergraduate program. Seeking a career where she can impact legal policy, Imani enrolled in the criminal justice graduate program.
Imani entered Kennesaw State University as a non-traditional student. Following high school graduation, Imani was originally enrolled at Georgia State University. After her sophomore year of college, she gave birth to her only son, Ayden. She made the sacrifice of taking time off from school in order to focus on her new role of a young single mother. When she decided to return to college, Kennesaw State became her new academic home.
Imani began attending school full-time and working as a waitress part-time. Having so many roles and responsibilities was nothing short of challenging, yet adversity helped her develop some useful qualities for future success. Having someone who depends on her resulted in a level of determination where failure was not an option. She had a new sense of purpose, fostering resilience against inevitable obstacles and challenges. All things combined, Imani maintained a 4.0 GPA every semester following her return to college.
As an undergraduate at Kennesaw State, Imani assumed an intern position as a research assistant for Dr. Tanja Link and Dr. Beverly Crank. In this role, she collected data from Gwinnett County Jail inmates to help identify and target barriers to re-entry and trends in recidivism. Within the research, she worked with a new technology application that aimed to facilitate ex-offenders’ transitions back into society. Through involvement in this research, Imani expanded the knowledge she attained through courses in data analysis, while gaining real world experience in criminal justice research methods.
Also as an undergraduate, Imani participated in a study abroad program led by Dr. Tanja Link and Dr. Heather Pincock: “Germany and the Netherlands: International Crime, Justice, and Peace.” This experience enhanced her knowledge of international crime and global governance, while exposing her to harm-reduction strategies employed in other countries. Overall, Imani broadened her knowledge of the criminal justice field by examining it at an international level.
Ultimately, Imani is interested in a career within criminal justice, particularly related to how mass incarceration disproportionately affects the poor and other minority groups, the deprivation of basic human rights among incarcerated individuals, and the implementation of programs that adequately prepare ex-offenders for a successful, law-abiding life. Ideally, her goal is to use implications of research to develop new policy proposals. The subsequent goal is to create and enhance resources necessary for desistance and support offenders on their journey to becoming productive contributing members of society. As of Spring 2019, Imani remains in the graduate program, pursuing a M.S. in Criminal Justice. Through her current studies, Imani aims to enhance her knowledge of the systemic, ethical, and technological elements of the criminal justice system. She plans to use the interactive educational experience to prepare her for leadership positions in public service and becoming an overall more competitive professional.
Michael De Leo - Outstanding Scholar for Master's in Criminal Justice
Michael De Leo earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Kennesaw State University in 2013 and graduated with honors. As an undergraduate student, Michael completed his internship at a law firm and, upon graduation, accepted their offer of employment. A few years later, Michael decided to return to academia as a Master of Science in Criminal Justice student at KSU.
Michael will graduate in the Spring of 2019 with a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his graduate studies and will be graduating with honors again. As a graduate student, Michael earned several graduate research assistantships with Dr. Rebecca Petersen and Dr. Christopher Totten. He was also recognized with the 2018 Outstanding Student Award from the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.
As a master’s student, Michael has also presented original research papers at the American Society of Criminology Annual Conferences in New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, he also presented an original research paper at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Michael has co-authored two scholarly legal articles that have focused on Courts and Fourth Amendment law. Currently, Michael has at least two new scholarly articles to be published post-graduation.