2020 Election Candidates

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Second Vice-President

Veronyka James
Shenandoah University

Bio Veronyka James is an Associate Professor of Criminology/Criminal Justice at Shenandoah University. She received her Ph.D. in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests are sexual assault victimization and reporting, stigma management, police-victim relationships, and “senseless” violence (e.g., serial killers and mass school shooters). She has presented research at several international, national, and regional conferences, and has a variety of publications in the areas of policing, victimology, and serial murder.

Personal Statement My fellow SCJA members, I am honored to be placed on the ballot for the position of 2nd Vice-President. Since 2014, I have been an active member of SCJA and am currently a lifetime member. During this time, I served SCJA as a member of the Undergraduate Student Awards Committee in 2015-2016. Additionally, I have attended and presented several times at the SCJA conference, as well as served as panel chair. On the national level I have served as Secretary of the ACJS Police Section and was recently elected Vice-Chair for this section. I have also served as Executive Counselor of both the ACJS Victimology Section, and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Section, as well as served on numerous committees, most recently on the Ken Peak Innovations in Teaching Award Committee and the 2020 ACJS Program Committee, even though sadly this conference was cancelled. I am committed to both professional organizations and the discipline. If elected, I look forward to serving as part of the SCJA Executive Board to work on behalf of SCJA and its members. Thank you for your consideration.

Kent Ryan Kerley
University of Texas at Arlington

Bio Kent Ryan Kerley, PhD, is Professor and Chair in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). He received a BA in Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University and MS and PhD in Sociology/Criminology from the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining UTA, Dr. Kerley served as a faculty member at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2005-2015) and Mississippi State University (2001-2005). Dr. Kerley’s research has appeared in top journals such as American Journal of Criminal Justice, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Justice Quarterly, Police Quarterly, Social Forces, and Social Problems. He was Principal Investigator for two Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grants from the National Science Foundation.

Personal Statement I first attended the Southern Criminal Justice Association’s (SCJA) annual conference in 1999 when I was a second-year PhD student at UT. The conference was held in Chattanooga, which is just 80 miles from my hometown. I presented a paper and served on a roundtable, and noted that there did not appear to be an informal system for separating graduate students from established PhDs. In fact, President John Smykla treated me with the same level of respect and kindness as the other, more senior, panelists. I also noted that many practitioners attended the meetings and were treated as true peers. I had the opportunity to meet top scholars in the field at the various panels and special events, and this proved incredibly helpful in my career. For example, I sat next to John Sloan at my roundtable, and he would later be my Department Chair at UAB for ten years. In all, I found the SCJA meetings to be especially collegial and welcoming.

Having attended these same meetings for the last 20+ years, including regularly bringing my REU students, I am proud to say that the atmosphere has not changed. My interest in serving the organization led me to run for Treasurer in 2014. I was pleased to be elected and to serve a three-year term. I now welcome the opportunity to serve SCJA again, this time as Second Vice President. I am committed to doing all that I can to promote and advance my home organization. Thank you for considering me with your vote.


Molly Buchanan
Marist College

Bio Molly Buchanan earned her Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of Florida; she is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Marist College. In both her teaching and research, Molly applies multidisciplinary perspectives to criminal justice realities with the goal of informing system policies and practices. Compelled by former practitioner experiences, her scholarship focuses on developmental, life-course topics particularly related to youth development and the different contexts that influence life outcomes. Her work has been published in refereed outlets such as Criminology and Criminology & Public Policy.

Personal Statement In 2012, I attended my first SCJA conference and delivered my first ever academic presentation; I was still relatively new to Florida and getting accustomed to a doctoral program. The bar was set high by that and each subsequent SCJA meeting. The current Treasurer vacancy provides an opportunity for me to begin to pay it forward (pun slightly intended) to an Association and membership whose genuine hospitality and friendliness remain unsurpassed. As a student and now as an Assistant Professor, I have served in other capacities for regional and national associations, including volunteering for the SCJA Audit committee and the Tom Barker Outstanding Undergraduate Award for Service subcommittee. Through the current Treasurer role, I can meaningfully contribute to the SCJA’s continued growth and facilitation of professional development, interaction, and fellowship. I also dig all things quantitative and can be agonizingly detail-oriented, all seemingly positive qualities for a Treasurer. Thank you for considering my candidacy for SCJA Treasurer; it would be my honor to serve the Association and its membership in this capacity.

Chad Posick
Georgia Southern University

Bio Chad Posick is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia Southern University. He received his doctorate in criminal justice and criminology from Northeastern University in 2012. While there, he worked on a project investigating the reporting of hate crime by victims which was funded by the National Institute of Justice, a nation-wide police-community interaction survey project also funded by the National Institute of Justice, and a local anti-gang initiative funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Prior to his experience at Northeastern University, he obtained a Master’s degree in Public Policy and a Bachelors of Criminal Justice from the Rochester Institute of Technology where he was funded as a research assistant on Project Safe Neighborhoods. This project implemented the Ceasefire model in Rochester, New York. Currently, as a professor in the department of criminology and criminal justice at Georgia Southern University, he continues to work on similar projects in Savannah including the Bureau of Justice Assistance funded SMART Prosecution Project. He teaches in the areas of victimology, criminal behavior, and statistics. He has published over 35 articles and was recently given the New Scholar Award by the division of Victimology of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Personal Statement My name is Chad Posick and I am an associate professor of criminal justice and criminology at Georgia Southern University. I am also a lifetime member of the Southern Criminal Justice Association. I am honored to be considered for the position of treasurer for the SCJA. For the past 3 years, I have served in this capacity and would like to continue my work for SCJA for a second term. Over the past 3 years, our organization has grown - there are more members, the conferences are larger, and the journal is growing in prominence. I believe my knowledge of the organization's financials uniquely positions me to continue as treasurer to maintain consistency and navigate new complexities as we grow even more in the future. Thank you for considering me for this position and I hope all our members are doing very well.


Lisa M. Carter
Florida Southern College

Bio Dr. Lisa Carter completed her Ph.D. in Criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is an associate professor of Criminology and department chair at Florida Southern College. She also teaches courses for the Women and Gender Studies program. Her research interests include: female criminality, corrections, and reintegration. She is the co-editor of Female Offenders and Reentry: Pathways and Barriers to Returning to Society and co-authored the second edition of The Decision Making Network. She is an advocate for victims and survivors of violence. She is a board member for Heather’s Hope, and organization that supports programs to inform teens about the dangers of dating and domestic violence. She also holds a positon on the executive board of Bicycling in Lakeland, an advocacy group for cycling safety, awareness, and community education.

Personal Statement My desire for serving on the Board of Directors for the Southern Criminal Justice Association (SCJA) stems from my long interest and passion for the discipline of Criminology and a career of teaching in higher education. I view further involvement in the association as a way to expand my professional networks and research opportunities, and as a means to offer my time and efforts to the association for service related endeavors. I have been a member of SCJA since 2012 and I am greatly interested in becoming more active with the association.
I am currently the chair and Associate Professor of Criminology at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Some of my most memorable and rewarding teaching experiences has been assisting students to prepare and present their coursework and research projects at annual SCJA meetings. Since my time in a tenure track position (2012-present), I have travelled to five SCJA annual meetings with students (all undergraduates). I am thrilled to be a part of these kinds of learning experiences for my students and to hear compliments on their work from my peers. Further details can be found on my curriculum vita under the section titled “Conference Presentations.”
I believe I can contribute to the organization based on my experiences as a member of three organizations in my local community.

  • I have experience in advocacy and fundraising though my current position on the Board of Directors for Heather’s Hope. This agency advocates for educating the community on the dangers of dating and domestic violence. I have assisted in organizing the organization’s annual 5K run for the past three years. Proceeds from this event benefit Heather’s Hope scholarships and other educational programs to alleviate violence.
  • I am a member my local League of Women Voters chapter. Additionally, I have been involved in the Gun Safety and Juvenile Justice committees associated with the state league. I have experience working at community events to engage the public in voter registration drives and collecting petitions for the restoration of voting rights for people with felony convictions.
  • I am a founding and board member of Bicycling in Lakeland, a non-profit that promote programs to support cycling safety and awareness. We coordinate events to inform the public of the laws that apply to motorists and cyclists. Our “Light the Lake” event is an occasion that our members distribute cycling equipment such as: helmets, bike lights, and reflective gear to the community to promote the visibility of road cyclists. The group has raised funds to assist a local organization that operates to repair and distribute bicycles for those with transportation needs. Our most recent fundraiser supported the Lakeland Police Department’s bicycle patrol unit.

I would be proud and enthusiastic to serve in the Director-at-Large position for the Southern Criminal Justice Association. Thank you for taking the time to learn a little about me and for considering my candidacy. I am very appreciative for of the opportunity to be nominated.

Ben Stickle
Middle Tennessee State University

Bio Ben Stickle earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State University, where he teaches and researches in the areas of policing, qualitative methods, and property crime. Ben has been heavily involved in a wide range of discipline activities, including service as Associate Editor for Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, Alpha Phi Sigma Chapter Advisor, and manuscript reviewer for multiple CCJ journals. A former police officer in Bowling Green, he is also a past president of the Kentucky Peace Officers' Association and heavily involved in research practitioner partnerships with police and correction agencies in Kentucky and Tennessee promoting police-lead mental health diversion programs. Ben's scholarship includes two books and numerous journal articles, including contributions to the American Journal of Criminal Justice. His work has been recognized through the McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award at the Ethnographic & Qualitative Research Conference (2020) and the Stanford M. Lyman Distinguished Book Award for Metal Scrappers and Thieves: Scavenging for Survival and Profit by the Mid-South Sociological Association (2019). He has been involved with SCJA since a graduate student at the University of Louisville and is an SCJA Lifetime member.

Personal Statement SCJA has been a major component of my professional life and I always look forward to the annual conference and the opportunity to interact with fellow members. As you well know, SCJA conferences are a tremendous opportunity to collaborate, learn, and meet new colleagues in a unique and welcoming atmosphere that has become the SCJA trademark.
To continue the traditions of professional development opportunities and offering the discipline's most enjoyable conference, I am standing for election to the SCJA board. I will work to maintain and foster an atmosphere of openness, cooperation, and support among our members. I will seek to continue the strong tradition of engagement with students, new scholars, and practitioners. The SCJA conference provides a unique experience and is clearly the best of discipline conferences. As a past and current beneficiary of these traditions, I will work to encourage collaboration and engage members to strengthen the association, our rising journal, and professionalism in the CCJ discipline.
I'm proud to be a Lifetime Member of the Southern Criminal Justice Association and eager to enhance the excellence we are known for throughout the region and beyond. I look forward to serving you and respectfully request your support.

Shaun A. Thomas
University of Arkansas

Bio Shaun A. Thomas earned his M.A. and Ph.D in Sociology from Louisiana State University. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology & Criminology and Co-Director of the Center for Social Research at the University of Arkansas. His teaching and research is oriented around the epidemiology and etiology of violence, inequality, and civic engagement. His research examines how neighborhood dynamics and physical environment influence spatial and temporal patterns in crime. Shaun has been a very active member of SCJA for the last five years and has contributed to the Association through committee work, editorial board service, presentations and panel chairing at our conferences, SCJA promotion to graduate students, and filling conference bags with coffee cups, beach towels, and harmonicas for SCJA meeting attendees!

Personal Statement I am running for the Director at Large position in 2020 not only because of my love for SCJA as a professional association, but also because SCJA continues to be an organization that brings together students, academics, researchers, practitioners, and even significant others in a friendly and supportive environment that facilitates professional networking and collaboration for the advancement of evidence-based criminal justice.

In 2016, I attended my first SCJA meeting in Savannah and realized that I had been missing out on the more intimate setting and opportunities the Association offers. I was able to really get to know the people behind research that I had admired. I, like many others in academia, had been convinced that national associations and conference were how I needed to focus my time and service efforts not realizing how misleading and isolating this approach can be. Since that first conference, I have consistently and enthusiastically devoted most of my professional service time to SCJA. I am a strong believer that the people who support and contribute to an organization make it what it is, and the larger SCJA family is what sets our Association apart. Because of this, I am running for SCJA Director at Large so that I can do my part to help our organization continue the values and traditions in place and contribute to our future development and success.

Since becoming a member at our 2016 conference, I have not missed a conference and I have formally served our association in several capacities, including as a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Criminal Justice and as Chair of the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award committee in 2017 and 2019. I have also successfully promoted our association to students and faculty, which has resulted in a number of new members. If elected, I will promote continued inclusivity, diversity, and equality among our membership in general and those that provide service to the association. I will also promote and facilitate expanding opportunities for interaction, involvement, professional development, and recruitment among students, practitioners, junior faculty members, and the established scholars and professionals that built this organization. Thanks for your consideration.