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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘It was invaluable’: Senior participates in criminal justice summer research program

Photo courtesy of Jordan Cline

This spring, roughly 300 students applied to be part of a 10-week undergraduate research program in criminal justice at the University of South Carolina over the summer. Senior Jordan Cline was one of nine to be accepted.

Cline’s experience was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), as part of their Research Experiences for Undergraduate program, which is designed to model graduate research.

Cline, who is majoring in criminal justice and minoring in philosophy and political science, spent at least 40 hours each week on his research. Cline explained that the experience helped him gain more knowledge about statistics and how race can affect his field of study.

“We were basically doing a statistical analysis of the sentiments regarding reallocation of police funding after the death of George Floyd, and how sentiments about race and racial resentment informed those feelings,” Cline said.

Cline, who hopes to attend graduate school in the future, said that the program will help him gain an edge over other applicants.

“It was invaluable,” Cline said. “The experience of actually getting to work closely with faculty and graduate students and just other students, you don’t get to do that often in your undergraduate experience.”

Cline first found out about the program when the School of Criminal Justice sent him the application.

“I was looking at (the application), and I was like, ‘Okay, this would be a really beneficial opportunity,’” Cline said. “It’s designed to model graduate school, and it’s in my field and everything. I’m going to take the chance and apply to this.”

The application included two letters of recommendation, one of which was written by associate professor Yumi Suzuki. Suzuki, who taught Cline in her Multiculturalism as well as Criminal Mind and Behavior classes, explained that Cline’s curiosity and initiative made him a good candidate for the program.

“He actually stopped by my office during my office hours,” Suzuki said. “He asked a lot of questions to other faculty members as well, regarding career choices or any criminal justice field issues.”

At the end of the program, Cline and his fellow researchers had to present their work at a symposium, along with other research teams funded by the NSF. Currently, the team is trying to get their presented research published.

“We’re working on finalizing the paper,” Cline said. “The graduate mentor and the faculty mentor who work at the University of South Carolina are in the process of basically melding together all of our individual drafts of the paper. Then we’re going to finalize what that will look like.”

Suzuki said that Cline’s 10-week research experience can help any student land a “great job” in the criminal justice field and have a bright future.

“I think anybody should … have real-life experience about how they can use research skills and knowledge in real life issues, especially in the criminal justice field,” Suzuki said. “We need new leaders, new generations, to tackle many issues that we couldn’t really do at this point.”

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About the Contributor
Avery Gathright
Avery Gathright, Reporter
Avery Gathright is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. Gathright is a secondary education major with an emphasis in English. She hopes to eventually teach AP Literature. Gathright uses she/her pronouns.

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