I received my PhD in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1993. Since then, I have taught a wide range of classes including White-collar Crime, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Cybercrime and Cybersecurity, Family Violence, and Entrepreneurship in Cybersecurity. As the first in my family to go to college, I understand the challenges that first-gen students face when attending college. At ODU we have developed a number of initiatives to help first-gen college students succeed. One of the programs I am most proud of is our First-Gen to Faculty Program, a mentoring program connecting our first-gen students with first-gen faculty. What has been especially remarkable about this initiative is the fact that faculty seem to get as much out of it as students do.
My academic experiences as a first-gen student have shaped my experiences as a professional. While I worked long hours in a summer job in the local factory to pay my college tuition, today I am fortunate to work those same long hours in a university setting. Though the location of my work day has changed, to this day, I still have many of the same experiences and emotions that I had as a first-gen student. After all, once a first-gen student, always a first-gen student!