Dr. Mary Atwell

Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice

Ph.D., Saint Louis University
  • M.A., Saint Louis University

  • B.A., Webster College

Dr. Atwell came to Radford University in 1988 as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Atwell joined the Criminal Justice Department in 1993 and retired in December of 2013.


Dr. Atwell's research interests include gender and legal issues and capital punishment.  Her personal interests include dogs, Jane Austen, yoga, and other escapist entertainment, and her personal goal is to live at the beach.

Recent Professional Activities

  • Dr. Atwell received the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Teaching Award in 2013.
  • Dr. Atwell is working on a chapter for a volume on federalism.
  • Dr. Atwell published the second edition of Wretched Sisters in 2014.
  • Dr. Atwell published An American Dilemma: International Law, Capital Punishment, and Federalism in 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dr. Atwell has published a book chapter titled, "Performing Monstrous Violence: Aileen Wuornos, Murder, Abuse, and Exploitation," in Performances of Violence, edited by Austin Sarat (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011).
  • Dr. Atwell's previous books include Wretched Sisters: Gender and Capital Punishment (2007: Peter Lang Publishing), Equal Protection of the Law? Gender and Justice in the United States (2002: Peter Lang Publishing) and Evolving Standards of Decency: Popular Culture and Capital Punishment (2004: Peter Lang Publishing).
  • Dr. Atwell was selected for the 2002 Supreme Court Historical Society Seminar and received the 2004 Radford University Foundation Creative Scholarship Award.