Colleen Berryessa, Class of 2011
I have always had a passion for criminal justice and policy, as well as the inner-workings of the legal system. All of these things were fostered during my career in Government at Harvard, especially my love of research on these issues and the writing of my senior thesis. After graduating with a concentration in Government, I worked as a research assistant at the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington D.C., where I researched, authored, and aided in the production of publications and research projects funded by the Department of Justice, law enforcement agencies, and private entities on issues in criminal justice, policing, and law enforcement. I then became a research fellow and program manager for the Center for Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics, a National Institute of Health Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genetic Research, at the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. There, I solidified my love of research, especially on the intersection of criminal justice policy and mental health issues. There I conducted my own mixed-methods empirical research on how the criminal justice system processes offenders with different psychiatric disorders. All these experiences helped to prepare me for my Ph.D. in Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania. My research examines discretion in the criminal justice system, focusing on social contexts and societal attitudes toward mental disorders and biological research on behavior, and how they may affect the legal process, legal decision-making, and the criminal justice system. I will be joining the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2018.
Sara Plana, Class of 2012
Sara Plana is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at MIT, focusing on the balancing act between military effectiveness and abuse of power. Her academic interests include structures of armed groups, civil-military relations, civil wars, and political violence. Prior to MIT, Sara worked as a country analyst for the Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She graduated magna cum laude with an AB in Government and a secondary in English from Harvard University in 2012.