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Doctoral Students

Doctoral students in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology (JLC) conduct research on a variety of subjects across the department's three primary concentrations: criminal justice and criminology, terrorism and security policy, and legal studies. The nature of study at JLC is interdisciplinary and provides a balanced approach to the field, thus preparing PhD graduates for roles in academia, government, consulting, and more. These students benefit from working with faculty on the most pressing issues in the field and have contributed to key studies both here and abroad. These profiles highlight some of their accomplishments at American University.

Erik Alda

Erik Alda

Erik Alda is a PhD student in Justice, Law and Criminology at American University. From 2001 to 2003, he lived in the slums of Fortaleza (Ceará), Brazil where he worked with an NGO on issues related to crime, violence and safety. In the past ten year... [More]



Maya Barak

Maya Barak

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Adjunct Instructor

Maya Barak is a PhD candidate in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology, with a dual concentration in the sociology of the law and criminology and an emphasis on qualitative methods. Her research brings together the topics of law, deviance, ... [More]









Suat Cubukcu

Suat Cubukcu

Suat Cubukcu is a PhD student in Justice, Law & Society. His research interests include terrorism, social capital, and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED).





Joel Hunt

Joel Hunt

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Adjunct Instructor

Currently a Ph.D. candidate in Justice, Law and Society at American University. Also works as a social science (geospatial) analyst at the National Institute of Justice. Background in statistics/econometrics, methodology, and policing.





Katherine Jares

Katherine Jares

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Adjunct Instructor

Katie Hail-Jares is a research associate at Georgetown University and a PhD candidate in Justice, Law & Criminology at American University. Her research centers on the intersection of criminal, or otherwise socially deviant, behavior and public healt... [More]



Erin Kearns

Erin Kearns

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Adjunct Instructor

Erin Kearns is a PhD student in Justice, Law and Criminology at American University, with a minor in Public Policy. Her primary research seeks to understand the relationship among terrorism, counterterrorism and security policy, and human rights. Eri... [More]



Kenneth Leon

Kenneth Leon

Kenneth Sebastian Leon is a PhD student in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology with a dual emphasis in sociolegal studies and criminology. His primary research interests include drug policy, deviance, state power and control, classical so... [More]



Belen Lowrey

Belen Lowrey

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Adjunct Instructor

Belén Lowrey is a PhD student in Justice, Law and Criminology with a minor in Public Policy. Her research lies at the intersection of language and the law, including police-citizen interactions, procedural justice, wrongful convictions, and false con... [More]













Keith Williams

Keith Williams

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Adjunct Instructor

Keith L. Williams has over 20 years of experience in private security and municipal law enforcement. His policing career has included stints in patrol operations, recruiting, homicide investigations, and at the executive level focusing on risk manage... [More]