My name is Busola Olanrewaju, I am a graduating senior majoring in Criminology Law & Society, with double minors in English and Philosophy & Law. I have been an undergraduate research assistant with ACE! (Advancing Correctional Excellence) since the summer of 2015. I am currently working on two projects, the Fairfax Juvenile Probation Project and the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation Project. My mentor on this project is Kimberly Kras, PhD.
I became interested in being an undergraduate research assistant after receiving emails from the Criminology department here at George Mason University. I thought to myself, that this would be the perfect opportunity to improve and expand my research skills, while gaining work experience in an environment that strives to conduct research that is aimed at improving our criminal justice system. I can say that while being at ACE! I realize there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to the criminal justice system here in the United States and it isn’t going to happen overnight.
As an undergraduate research assistant my job is to assist in any way I can with any current research my mentor is working on. With the research going on at ACE!, there are many different components that make up the end product we see in a scholarly article or publication, so every week when I come in I may be working on something different. This week I worked on transcribing taped interviews that were conducted by Dr. Danielle Rudes trying to see how Evidence Based Practices (EBP) are practically being used and whether the individuals that use it are understanding the purpose and goals of EBP. Last week I spent time in a program called ATLAS coding field notes from Fairfax Juvenile offices. Some work is more interesting to do than others but they all serve a purpose for the end goal.
Working at ACE! has made me more aware of the criminal justice field I am currently studying as a major. It is one thing to just read about certain things in a textbook but conducting research on specific problems on a county level or state level makes the reading more relatable and easier to grasp. I am able to focus on what’s important to note when reading things, because not everything is relevant to what I’m working on. I think this skill will be very beneficial to me in law school and just whatever I work on in general. I am grateful for having an awesome team to be a part of. ACE! has helped me recognize skills that I have had all only but didn’t realize. The things I’m learning at ACE! motivates me to do my best in whatever I end up doing relating to the criminal justice field in the near future.