2024 Executive Board Candidates

Jump to Candidate

Second Vice President
Ben Stickle

Director at Large (Alphabetical)
Kevin Buckler
Hasan Buker
Andrew Denney
Sarah Harper
McKenzie Jossie

Second Vice President

Ben Stickle
Middle Tennessee State University

Personal Statement The Southern Criminal Justice Association is a leading force in Criminal Justice and Criminology, evident in its exceptional conferences and the highly regarded American Journal of Criminal Justice. These achievements reflect over half a century of dedication by SCJA’s members and leaders, who have promoted high standards in education and research while maintaining strong connections with practitioners. Having served on the Executive Board for three years, I have seen the outstanding contributions of our members and leaders. I am honored to be nominated for Second Vice-President and am committed to continuing SCJA’s legacy of academic excellence, impactful research, and fostering a collegial atmosphere.

I have been an active SCJA member since graduate school, chairing panels and committees. Recently, I led the fundraising committee, raising thousands for charities. My leadership experience extends to other boards, including the Tennessee Human Trafficking Task Force, Reentry Councils, and the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council. Additionally, I have served as a two-time president of the Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association and Chair of the University Council on Sponsored Scholarship at MTSU. With my deep commitment and extensive experience, I kindly ask for your support and vote for me as Second Vice-President so we can continue advancing SCJA’s mission together.

Biographical Sketch Dr. Ben Stickle is a Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State University. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Cedarville University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville. His research interests include policing, property crime, corrections, and emergent crimes (e.g., package theft and crime in the sharing economy). His research has appeared in the American Journal of Criminal Justice, Victims and Offenders, European Journal of Criminology, and Policing. He is the author of Metal Scrappers and Thieves (Springer, 2017), two co-edited books, and dozens of technical reports, book chapters, and other works. His research has garnered national attention, including hundreds of media interviews (e.g., New York Times, Good Morning America, NBC Investigative Reporting) and invited presentations with practitioners. Prior to academics, he served as a Police Officer and is a two-time Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association President and a Kentucky Law Enforcement Council member. Ben frequently engages in practitioner partnerships resulting in federal, state, and private funding with BJA, BJS, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and local agencies, often focusing on justice mental health, offender reentry, human trafficking, and crime analysis.

Director at Large

Kevin Buckler
University of Houston-Downtown

Personal Statement I am running for the Director-at-Large position and look forward to serving the SCJA membership if I am fortunate enough to be elected. The Director-at-Large attends mid-year and annual SCJA meetings to participate in decision-making and to provide general policy direction for the Association and will chair one of SCJA's standing committees. My experiences as department chair at several institutions and serving on policy-making committees in academia are important anchors that would inform my service in this position. In my diverse academic experiences, I have come to appreciate the significance of understanding and respecting an organization's culture and aligning my actions with its mission and values. I hold transparency, collaboration, cooperation, and timeliness of work in high regard in all my service obligations.

Despite my professional ventures outside the SCJA Region, my roots as a native Kentuckian and my education at Eastern Kentucky University have kept my heart and soul firmly within the SCJA region. My first experience at a late 1990s SCJA conference in Chattanooga was a pivotal moment that influenced my decision to pursue a doctoral degree. In recent years, I've returned to the SCJA, attending conferences and serving the organization in serval ways. I served on the SCJA Teller's Committee and Student Awards Committee. I hope to have this opportunity to further serve the SCJA.  

Biographical Sketch Kevin Buckler is a Professor of Criminal Justice and Department Chair of Criminal Justice and Social Work at the University of Houston-Downtown. He earned his PhD in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati and his MS from Eastern Kentucky University. Kevin served as Department Chair (or Head) at the University of Texas-Brownsville (now UT-RGV), Prairie View A&M University, and the University of Houston-Downtown. He served on multiple policy writing committees (faculty affairs, academic policy, and curriculum-related) in shared governance structures in academia. Kevin served several terms on University Faculty Senates as a Senator or Vice-President at multiple institutions. He is currently SWACJ's Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology (JQCJC) editor. Additionally, he recently served the SCJA as a member of the Teller's Committee (relating to elections) and the Student Awards Committee.

Hasan Buker
University of West Florida

Personal Statement As a candidate for the Director At Large position of the Southern Criminal Justice Association (SCJA), I am deeply committed to fostering a culture of servant leadership and collaboration within our esteemed organization. With a passion for advancing criminal justice science and practice, I firmly believe our collective efforts can drive meaningful progress in our field.

My vision for SCJA revolves around harnessing the diverse talents and expertise of our members to tackle the complex challenges facing the criminal justice profession and discipline. I am dedicated to working closely with the President and other members of the Executive Board, adopting a teamwork perspective that values input from all stakeholders. Together, we can cultivate an environment where innovation thrives, knowledge is shared, and professional development opportunities abound. If elected Director At Large, I pledge to serve with integrity, humility, and a steadfast commitment to the betterment of SCJA and its members. Thank you for considering me for this important role.

Biographical Sketch Dr. Nicholas Hasan Buker's academic journey has taken him from Turkiye, ultimately leading him to the University of West Florida (UWF) in 2019. Before his tenure at UWF, Dr. Buker held faculty positions at Minot State University, Washington State University, and various institutions in Turkiye. Notably, his professional journey began as a law enforcement officer, where he served in diverse roles and ranks before transitioning into academia. Currently, he is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies.

His academic journey includes a Ph.D. from Washington State University, a master's degree from Ankara University, and a bachelor's degree from the Turkish National Police Academy. He further honed his expertise through criminal justice master's programs at the University of North Texas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

His primary research interests encompass juvenile delinquency/justice, criminological theory, crimes against children, law enforcement, and the administration of criminal justice organizations. Dr. Buker has made substantial contributions to research endeavors, collaborating with students, fellow researchers, and practitioners from across the globe, including international organizations like UNICEF, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and various academic disciplines.

Dr. Buker feels every day is another day in paradise in Pensacola as he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.   

Andrew S. Denney
University of Tennessee Chattanooga

Personal Statement In 2011, I was nervous about attending my first academic conference in the second year of my master’s program. That year, the SCJA meeting was in my hometown, Nashville, TN. Based on stories I had heard about academic conferences, I remember expecting a high-pressure environment that was not welcoming to students. However, I could not have experienced something further from my initial expectations. SCJA was beyond welcoming to me and my cohort. I keenly remember Dave May spending his whole panel talking to the graduate students and answering our questions about being a professor. To me, this embodies the nature of SCJA, a welcoming, collegial environment with a student focus. My initial experience at SCJA and great interactions with faculty throughout the region ultimately encouraged me to pursue my doctorate soon after. I have been fortunate to stay in the region with each career move, which has resulted in 13 years of involvement with SCJA.

Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to serve SCJA in several ways. In 2019, I served as the Tom Barker Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award Committee Chair. In 2021, I served on the Outstanding Professional Award Committee. In 2023, I served on the Outstanding Graduate Student Award Committee and joined the Bylaws Committee this past September. It would be my honor to continue my service to this great organization by serving as a Director-at-Large. My goal in all actions would be to uphold the mission of SCJA and to continue to promote this organization as a collegial and student-friendly academic conference.   

Biographical Sketch Dr. Denney is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He graduated with his Ph.D. in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville in 2015.  Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of West Florida (2015-2018) and a tenured Associate Professor at Loyola University New Orleans (2018-2024). Dr. Denney’s primary research focuses on institutional corrections, community re-entry, faith-based programming, and sexual deviance utilizing qualitative and quantitative methodologies. His corrections research has included the examination of correctional officer stress, backgrounds and motivations of prison chaplains, experiences of halfway house volunteers, and client experiences of a Veteran Treatment Court. He also served as an Executive Committee member of the Circuit 1 Human Trafficking Task Force for the state of Florida (2016-2018) and as a human subject research consultant with the U.S. Department of Defense. He has published in various journal outlets such as the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, Criminal Justice Review, Criminal Justice Studies, and Corrections: Policy, Practice and Research.

Sarah Harper
Texas A&M San Antonio

Personal Statement I attended my first SCJA conference in New Orleans in 2016, and it set a tone I could never forget: one of acceptance. I was not dismissed as “just a graduate student,” and the members—both senior and early career alike—were generous with their time and advice. For the first time, academia felt accessible to me. Having transitioned graduate school to the tenure-track over the past year, I believe I am well-suited to offer a perspective on behalf of current or prospective student members while they navigate the "hidden curriculum" of the academy. Serving as Director-at-Large would allow me to expand the work I have done at my home institutions in this area by joining SCJA's current efforts to grow the organization while maintaining the warm collegiality that originally drew me to the organization. In understanding the diverse needs of both students and new members, I would like to connect them to motivated mentors inside the SCJA membership. Through its expansive network of uniquely collegial scholars and professionals, SCJA can leverage a resource pool and empower student members in a way that few other organizations could foster.

SCJA has been a cornerstone of my academic journey for eight years, and our conferences will always feel like coming home. I have been increasingly involved in each meeting because I want to invest in this home. Its members bring out the strongest parts of one another as researchers, educators, and changemakers with a congenial spirit for service. The environment they create has fostered a place to grow my work and identity in this field because I was never cast aside as insignificant or in the shadows of those with more substantial bona fides and titles. My professional network and mentors in SCJA guided and encouraged me to pursue my goals, first as a graduate student and now as faculty. This consistently supportive environment fuels my enthusiasm for SCJA and how I can contribute to its future as Director-at-Large.

SCJA’s goal of continued expansion as an organization is aligned with my core value of promoting accessibility. I have been glad to serve on the Membership Committee and assist with social media for the past term, helping to explore new avenues for growing the organization and promoting the impressive work its members put forth. Outside of this formal role, I extend invitations to make the trip in September or to attend events we host at other conferences. Our conferences are known for being a down-to-earth atmosphere for new people, regardless of where they are on their professional journey, so I am confident that they will find a place to belong in SCJA—and have a really good time along the way. In my service to the organization, I strive to understand the experiences and aspirations of other people, especially those who would like to be involved but may face barriers accessing the experience that I have.

My passion lies in supporting SCJA's mission to be a welcoming and dynamic community for all scholars and professionals. Finding this supportive network has been a privilege, and I'm eager to help others discover the same sense of belonging. As an early-career member, I believe my presence on the board would demonstrate SCJA's commitment to inclusivity across all career stages. I'm excited to collaborate with the Board and members to shape SCJA's future, building on its impressive legacy.

Biographical Sketch Dr. Sarah Harper earned her Ph.D. in Criminology at the University of South Florida in 2023. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology and Political Science at Texas A&M--San Antonio. Her research interests include understanding non-attorney interactions with courts (e.g. litigants, jurors, and witnesses) and deviance in online-based communities. Her current project involves collaboration with the National Counterterrorism Intelligence, Technology, and Education center (NCITE) examining police and judicial interactions with people who subscribe to anti-government belief systems.

Beyond her academic pursuits, Dr. Harper is a dedicated advocate for access to justice, as well as civic and information literacy. She collaborates with policymakers and court officials to advance meaningful change in these areas.  Drawing on her prior experience as internship coordinator at the University of West Florida, she has facilitated relationships between her departments and practitioners to support students pursuing valuable research and professional opportunities. Her time in graduate school was preceded by work in K-12 special education, where she witnessed firsthand the importance of accessibility in education and fostering civic engagement. Her work and lived experience with disabilities fuel her commitment to promoting inclusivity and empowerment within the educational and legal spheres.

McKenzie Jossie
Louisiana State University

Personal Statement Since I started attending academic conferences as a graduate student, I have developed a deep appreciation for SCJA and the support this association provides students, practitioners, faculty, and communities. I am running for Director-at-Large to give back to an organization that has afforded me countless opportunities related to research, professional development, networking, and mentorship. If elected, I will help grow the association’s regional and national presence by collaborating with existing members, recruiting new members, and facilitating professional growth opportunities for students, practitioners, and junior scholars. My involvement in SCJA has greatly enriched my career and I am eager to continue the great work of this storied association. I humbly request your vote for Director-at-Large and look forward to seeing you in Greenville.

Biographical Sketch McKenzie L. Jossie earned her B.S. in Psychology, Spanish, and Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of North Florida, and Ph.D. in Criminology, Law, and Society from the University of Florida. She resides in Louisiana and is an incoming Assistant Professor at LSU. Her primary research areas include corrections, collateral consequences of justice system involvement, program evaluation, and criminal justice policy. Her recent works have been published in American Journal of Criminal Justice, Victims & Offenders, and Journal of Criminal Justice Education. McKenzie has been an active member in SCJA since graduate school (2018) and she supports the American Journal of Criminal Justice as a reviewer. She is the former recipient of SCJA’s Outstanding Student Poster Award (2019), Outstanding Doctoral Student Award (2023), and Student Travel Award (2021, 2022, 2023).