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WVU Student Spotlight


Katie Burnham

Kathryn Burnham, M.A. 
PhD Student in Sociology - Crime 
Graduate Research Assistant 
A Little About Katie: I have my BA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology. I received my MA at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Criminology. My research interests include intimate partner violence and sexual assault on college campuses. I am an applied researcher, hoping to one day use my research to inform prevention programming. After my advanced education is complete, I plan to teach at the university level, as I have a passion for both teaching and my research. More personally, I love to travel and my two rescue cats, Pearl and Sassafras. 

How did you end up in Sociology? 
I have had a passion for social justice since I was young, but I really started to use my voice to bring awareness to domestic violence while in undergrad. I grew up with a father who was abusive and I had never actually known that other children had experienced what I had experienced until I went to college. Since realizing intimate partner violence is a severe and damaging social problem, I have spent my time and energy advocating for efforts to end violence against women. 

RobRobert Nicewarner, B.A. 
PhD Student in Sociology - Crime 
Graduate Research Assistant
A Little About Rob: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Howard County Maryland, a short 10 minute from Baltimore City (Go O’s and Ravens!). Prior to attending West Virginia University I had been taking courses at my local community college where I was studying Criminal Justice. The idea back then was that one day I might become a police officer. I quickly realized that was not the job for me and decided to look towards more of a criminological focus. One thing most people don’t know about me is I am a huge Game of Thrones fan and am eagerly awaiting George R. R. Martin’s release of the seventh book of the series. 
How did you end up in Sociology?  
I came to West Virginia University in 2012 and obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Criminology in 2016. It was here that I began cultivating an interest in the area of violence which has now developed in to me studying police and community relationships. Prior to being accepted in to the Ph.D. program I was an intern for the Research Center on Violence since 2014. I heard about the Center from Dr. Amanda Hall-Sanchez and am very grateful for her giving me this great opportunity to get involved. I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant working on the first ever West Virginia Quality of Life Survey, and am enjoying the chance to help this great state I have come to love. 


CarringtonCarrington Riggs 

I am a Secondary Social Studies Education Major from Bridgeport, West Virginia. I became involved with the Research Center on Violence my sophomore year at WVU because at the age of ten I became a victim of a violent physical assault and attempted abduction.  Since then, I have been extremely interested and involved in organizations that promote victim’s rights and explore the reasons behind crime and violence, as well as prevention. Being involved in the Center led me to also becoming a Peer Advocate for campus sexual assault victims and working towards awareness prevention on campus. 

JackieJacqueline Zugschwert

I am a senior at WVU and will graduate in May 2017 with a degree in Criminology with a minor in Forensic Science. When I came to WVU as a freshman, I originally wanted to study Forensics only. I quickly became increasingly interested in my sociology classes and decided to study Criminology. I have always been interested in helping people, and I have found my criminology classes very exciting and worthwhile. I became involved with the Research Center on Violence in the summer of 2016, and am looking forward to the growth and development of the center in the future. I enjoy being involved with the university, and I have been the president of the WVU Figure Skating club since Spring 2016. After graduation, I plan to continue my education by attending graduate school.