Megan McConaghy, a second-year student in the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Program, presented at the 69th Annual American Society of Criminology Conference held in Atlanta, GA in November.
McConaghy presented her research which examines the life history of repeat offenders. The research included interviews of 20 men and women currently incarcerated in a county jail. McConaghy surveyed common themes that may lead to criminal behavior such as employment history, education, family background, neighborhoods, and drug and alcohol use. She found most offenders have low education, are high school dropouts and have low job stability. All participants in the study are from high-crime areas, and most of the men have violent victimizations – having been shot at or stabbed.
“I am also looking more deeply into the family life of the offenders. Most have young children and I want to examine how incarceration affects the bonds they have with their children,” McConaghy said.
The research stemmed from a larger project McConaghy is currently working on with Dr. Marissa Levy, associate professor of Criminal Justice. McConaghy and Dr. Levy are both members of the Pleasantville/Atlantic City Municipal Planning Board, which is aimed at crime prevention methods and decreasing crime and violence in Atlantic City and Pleasantville neighborhoods. The board is part of a state initiative to strengthen information sharing and enhance partnerships among community groups, social services, law enforcement, and government agencies.
In addition to her research at Stockton, McConaghy works at Temple University as part of a continuing research project in which she interviews first-time juvenile offenders. Her primary research interest is how juvenile delinquency affects educational attainment. She is using data from Temple’s study for her graduate thesis and will present her findings at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Conference in Philadelphia in February 2014.
This year McConaghy also serves as president of the Graduate Student Council.
McConaghy is originally from Langhorne, PA and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Temple University in 2011. She is currently applying for Ph.D. programs and hopes to one day work as a professor.
“Hobbies?” laughed McConaghy, “Other than school? I like to snowboard and stand-up paddle if I have any free time.”