Criminal Justice students and faculty participate in 2016 Student Engagement Forum


The 2016 Student Engagement Forum at Radford University was held April 19-21.  The Student Engagement Forum highlights the accomplishments of students and allows them to share their research, performances, or abilities with others.  Several members of the Department of Criminal Justice participated in the Forum.

Helen Currant, a senior Criminal Justice student, presented research she collected with her faculty mentors, Dr. Tod Burke and Dr. Stephen Owen, on touch DNA.  The presentation emphasized the growing reliance on DNA in criminal cases and explained the concept of touch DNA, where an individual’s DNA can be collected from an item the touch or handle.  She also explored the concept of secondary DNA transfer, where an individual’s DNA can be transferred from one individual to another individual to an item, which allows a person’s DNA to be on an object they never directly handled.

Criminal Justice students, Hayleigh Bostic, Jennifer Hurley, Anne Brinkley, John Burke, Jenna McClintock, and Parker Stinnett collaborated with faculty mentors, Dr. Margaret Pate and Dr. Shelly Wagers, to research Batterer Intervention Programs.  Their research and presentation compared the current academic literature on BIPs to the programs in place in Virginia.  This team previously presented their findings and suggestions to the Virginia Batter Intervention Program Certification Board and current practitioners in December.  Olivia Adams, a Biology major, worked with Dr. Pate and Dr. Wagers on the BIP project as well.  Her role within the team was to research grant opportunities and determine which are the most appropriate for application.

A study conducted this past year by undergraduate Jenna McClintock and Drs. Riane Bolin and Maggie Pate of the Criminal Justice Department was presented by McClintock. The study examined the effect that substance abuse has on the academic achievement of college students. The study was undertaken due to the minimal amount of prior research on the impact of substance use on college students.

McClintock, Bolin, and Pate administered a survey to college students that asked about their personal substance use, specifically focusing on alcohol and marijuana, as well as a number of other factors including academic achievement. They found that “there was a fairly clear relationship between substance use and a declining GPA, as well as the tendency to skip class.”  Specifically, it was found that individuals who indicated using marijuana or alcohol more frequently had lower GPAs and indicated skipping class more frequently.

Dr. Shelly Wagers served as the keynote speaker for the Gender Center Symposium, held in concurrently with the Student Engagement Forum.  Dr. Wagers discussed Internal Power, a theoretical construct she developed, when evaluating violence.


Contribution to this article made by: Jordan Poff, Journalism student in the School of Communication,


Helen Currant's presentation on Touch DNA


Presenter Helen Currant used audience volunteers, Dr. Niels Christensen and English major and fellow presenter Jenna Roark, to illustrate secondary transfer of DNA.

Jenna McClintock SEF

Criminal Justice student Jenna McClintock presented findings on student substance abuse research.

Olivia Adams_SEF

Biology student Olivia Adams assisted with the Batterer Intervention Program research and presented their findings.

Apr 27, 2016
Eric Snow