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Published October 12, 2018
Jamie Snyder, Clair White and Katelyn Golladay are all new hires this fall in the University of Wyoming’s Criminal Justice Program. The three professors reflect a trend of growing female representation in the criminal justice field -- but, more so, they are three highly qualified individuals with a passion for their area of study.
The field of criminal justice is historically male dominated, from judges to police officers to social workers to investigators. Over the last 20 years, the number of women in those roles has begun to climb, though, as the academic world sees more females interested in the area.
“When I came to UW almost 20 years ago, the department was mostly male and, at points, I have been one of only several women, so it is exciting to see our academic program starting to mirror the field as a whole,” says Adrienne Freng, head of the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology.
Snyder finished her doctoral degree in criminal justice in 2011 from the University of Cincinnati, one of the top schools in the nation in the field, and has spent the last seven years teaching at the University of West Florida. As an associate professor, she is teaching a wide range of subjects this fall to freshmen and graduate students, while her research interests include victimology and workplace violence. She says a good balance between teaching and research attracted her to UW.
“I really value that, because I love being in the classroom and love doing my research,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to have avenues for both of those. The overall culture and climate of this university were a big draw for me. When I came for my interview, it felt right. There was a connection that I could see to grow in my career here.”
In her previous schooling and teaching, Snyder has worked and taught many other women.
“It’s nice to see women teaching in this field, because we see that the women are highly represented in other academic fields,” she says. “Something that was historically a lot more male dominated is definitely seeing a turn. It’s something that I’m proud to be a part of. I just think of it as I really like my job, and it’s nice to see other women doing it, too.”
That professional enthusiasm is evident with White as well. She earned her doctoral degree in criminology and criminal justice from Arizona State University (ASU) in 2015, before taking a postdoctoral position at George Mason University. Her research has focused on policing and mental health. A strong faculty base drew her to Wyoming, as did the cooperation of the criminal justice and sociology disciplines. Now, she feels supported and pushed to continue her research, expand her teaching skills and have a work-life balance.
“Being able to be one of those female scholars that’s having a family and being successful is important to me,” she says. “I think it’s important to show there are various ways to be a good academic.”
In her first academic position, Golladay has seen the female trend firsthand. She graduated from ASU with the same doctoral degree as White. As with Snyder and White, Golladay notes that UW’s balance of teaching and research attracted her to Laramie. She is continuing her dissertation research, which focuses on criminological theory and applying it to victims. Throughout her schooling, her criminal justice mentors have all been women.
“Having females be present and their voices and opinions heard are important because I think, as a female, that’s a unique perspective,” she says. “It’s a step in the right direction in terms of diversifying research and higher education. We are seeing more women in this field, and that’s creating these good candidates for these positions. We are producing really qualified scholars who happen to be women.”
Freng echoed the department’s excitement to have such accomplished scholars join the Criminal Justice Program.
“The experience of these new faculty will serve all of our students well, but also will increase the opportunities of mentoring women into the broader field of criminal justice, including academics,” she says.