UTC Students’ Celebrate as Academic Journal Publishes Their Work

After nearly four years of working alongside professors within the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, two students were published in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education.

Chance Reasonover and Ellee Jackson graduated with their Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and now work toward their Master of Science in Criminal Justice (and were featured in months’ Journal of Criminal Justice Education.)

Professor Rick Dierenfeldt, the U.C. Foundation Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and internship coordinator, sought these two students out because of their writing ability and the potential he saw within them.

“We had both taken a couple of his classes. He got us on a Zoom call and told us we were strong writers, proposed the research project, and strongly encouraged us to apply to the master’s program.” Jackson mentioned in an interview.

The Journal of Criminal Justice Education published the article, titled Policy Preferences Related to Police Use of Deadly Force: Exploring the Impact of Social Media Consumption and College Major, online on Sept. 4, 2023.

“The article was about the influences of media consumption and individual characteristics on policy preferences related to police use of deadly force,” Jackson said. “It examines gaps between police and public perceptions in terms of when and why police officers should be allowed to use deadly force. The research was prompted by the recent wave of media attention and public outrage surrounding police brutality”

Alongside Dierenfeldt, Professor Tammy Garland, Professor Jared Rosenberger, and Professor Kyle Burgason, the students worked on summarizing articles for literature reviews, developing and distributing the survey and data entry.

“We found that students prefer highly restrictive use of deadly force policies, like requiring police to first shoot suspects in the leg even when the law would permit them to use deadly force,” Reasonover said.

This was Reasonover and Jackson’s first published work. Both students stated that they faced many obstacles throughout their academic research, but they acknowledged they felt supported along the way.

“Dr. Dierenfeldt provided plenty of resources for Chance and me when we started summarizing articles for the literature reviews,” Jackson explained. “He made sure we knew what we were doing and was always there to answer our questions. I don’t know if I was fully prepared for the work it took when we started, but I learned a lot during the process. More than anything, it prepared me for the work I have gotten to do on other research projects.”

Reasonover and Jackson explained that finding out that the article was published felt extremely exciting and gratifying, especially after years of research and hard work.

“When I found out the article got published in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, I absolutely freaked out! It’s been almost four years in the making, so it felt really good to see all of our hard work finally come to fruition.” Reasonover explained.

After graduate school, Reasonover hopes to work for a non-profit organization that focuses on ending generational cycles of violence and abuse. She hopes to someday start her own non-profit for disadvantaged youth.

“I would love to work with at-risk youth in some capacity, I want to make a difference in their lives and in their communities,” Reasonover said.

Jackson is applying to doctoral programs after graduate school and looking for job opportunities at research centers.

“My dream career would involve a lot of writing, research, and policy development. I’m hoping I get to do something that allows me to write about issues in the criminal justice system and evidence-based solutions.” Jackson said.

Jackson mentioned that both students met through the Department of Criminal Justice and grew as friends throughout their academic careers.

Both students explained how this research project helped them grow as professionals and students. After many years of work and research, they accomplished something that most undergraduate students and graduate students don’t get to do.

“A lot of people have helped and supported me throughout this academic endeavor. My parents, my friends, and most of all, the professors in the Criminal Justice Department at UTC like Dr. Dierenfeldt, Dr. Garland, and Dr. Hancock.” Reasonover said.

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