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Alumni Awards and Achievements

Alumni Awards and Achievements

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice proudly highlights our alumni award winners since 2019.

Dr. Marie Griffin Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award 

This award is bestowed for having made significant contributions to the advancement of criminology and criminal justice through distinguished leadership achievements as a practitioner in one of the justice professions.

Spring 2019

Randall Snyder (M.A., 2014), at the time of the award Detective in the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Internet Crimes Against Children unit, was recognized for his significant contributions to the advancement of criminology and criminal justice through distinguished leadership achievements.  Among other awards, Detective Snyder has received a Special Commendation from the US Attorney General’s Office.  He has been directly responsible for the capture of domestic and international child exploitation offenders, rescuing many children from the hands of abusers. As noted by one of his former supervisors, “but for Snyder’s efforts these children would still be in the hands of their abusers.” 

Spring 2020

Ben Henry, Deputy Director, Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). Ben is an alum who has had a major impact on public safety, and throughout his time in law enforcement, he has been a strong advocate for research and has looked for ways to partner with ASU students and faculty. Local law enforcement benefited from Ben’s 26 years of experience in almost every Phoenix Police Department division and bureau, during which time he has received numerous honors including the Distinguished Service Award and the Chief’s Unit Award. He also served as Chief Deputy of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office before transitioning into his current role of Deputy Director at AZPOST. Ben was nominated by Dr. Cody Telep who noted, “much of the success of several research grants can be attributed to Ben laying the groundwork, and the ongoing partnership with ASU is a testament to Ben’s belief in the value of research for police agencies.”

Spring 2021

Rodger Benefiel, Ph.D. (2015) Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice at Bloomsburg University, has 24 years experience working in federal corrections. He has worked at nine different federal prisons, including being one of the first officers at the U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum (ADX) in Florence, Colorado, and serving as a lieutenant at three different prisons, including the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was also a chief correctional supervisor (captain) at the federal prisons in El Reno, OK, and Phoenix prior to becoming an associate warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego and at the Federal Correctional Complex in Tucson. His award was presented by Regents Professor Cassia Spohn, who said, “Dr. Benefiel’s long and distinguished career in corrections makes him an ideal candidate for this award.” On receiving news of the award, Professor Benefiel said, “I am honored to receive this award. Arizona State took a chance on a practitioner who wanted to contribute to the body of knowledge in corrections and helped transform me into an academic with expanding interests in punishment, the courts, and social justice issues. I cannot thank the faculty at ASU enough - I have a fulfilling career and am impacting lives, including going back to prison as an educator. Thank you very, very much.”

Dr. John R. Hepburn Alumni Scholar Award

This award is bestowed for outstanding scholarly contributions to the discipline of criminology and criminal justice by a person who has received the M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at ASU.

Spring 2019

Scott Wolfe, Ph.D. (2012) Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, (is heavily engaged in research with state and federal agencies associated with police reform.  Honing his research chops at ASU, Scott moved quickly to produce useful research evidence around the “Ferguson Effect.” This work figured prominently in public policy debates relating to policing and crime. As noted by his nominator Ed Maguire, “To help inform policy is the mark of a genuine public scholar. Wolfe is a public scholar who is engaged with the community at multiple levels. I see in him a bright, industrious and very promising young scholar.” 

Spring 2020

Eryn Nicole O’Neal, Ph.D. (2016) has compiled an outstanding record of research and scholarship. Eryn’s research and scholarship focuses on issues related to sexual assault and sexual assault victimization—especially sexual assault case processing decisions, intimate partner sexual assault, resistance strategies, help-seeking behavior, and motivations for false reports. In all of her work she adopts a feminist perspective using state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative methods to answer theoretically informed research questions. She interprets her findings using a trans-disciplinary lens that reflects her grounding in theoretical criminology, women’s and feminist studies, criminal justice policies and practices, political science and psychology. Eryn was nominated by Regents Professor Cassia Spohn, who said, “this body of work points to a rising star in our profession and I look forward to watching Eryn’s career progress.”

Spring 2021

Dr. David Pyrooz, Ph.D. (2012), Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder, was nominated by Foundation Professor Emeritus Scott Decker. Decker noted that Pyrooz’s accomplishments span scholarship, teaching and the practice of criminal justice. He has written in public forums including the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. His research has been recognized by the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and he is successful in external funding. “David is clearly already an outstanding scholar and has made foundational contributions in our understanding of prisons, gangs, youth and families at risk, and extremists. A hallmark throughout his career has been to expand and diversify the pool of new Ph.D. candidates in an area that is growing rapidly. For all of these accomplishments, he is most deserving of this award,” said Decker. In response to receiving the award, Professor Pyrooz noted, “This award means a lot to me because the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has meant so much to me. When I think about my four years at ASU, I think about a commitment to excellence. That not only applies to research, teaching, and service, but most importantly to being a good colleague who is committed to mentoring the next generation of scholars”.

Dr. Jillian Turanovic, Ph.D. (2015) was nominated by Professor Kristy Holtfreter, focusing on Turanovic’s established national reputation as a respected scholar doing cutting-edge research on the causes and consequences of victimization, tests of criminological theory, and the effects of incarceration. Publishing in top-tier scholarly journals and securing competitive grant funding for her research, Dr. Turanovic's record of accomplishments is truly impressive. Holtfreter also noted that Turanovic received early tenure and promotion in a program that is consistently ranked among the best doctoral-granting programs in the United States. “Jill’s reputation and dedication as an outstanding mentor is what really impresses me. She creates supporting environments that actively engage students and encourages critical thinking. I believe she is among the most impressive scholars of her generation.” Turanovic, an Associate Professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University said, “I am incredibly honored to receive the Alumni Scholar Award. I received such high-quality education and mentorship during my time at ASU for which I am forever grateful. The opportunities to participate in research, teach classes, and collaborate with faculty on publications helped to put me on a successful career path. I am especially thankful to Kristy
Holtfreter for nominating me, as well as to Mike Reisig, Kevin Wright, and Jacob Young for their support. I hope to continue making ASU CCJ proud, and sincerely thank the faculty and fellow students who helped me along the way.”

Spring 2022

Janne Gaub, Ph.D. (2015) was nominated by Dr. Michael White and Dr. Danielle Wallace. Dr. Gaub is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. As an Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, she won the Faculty Excellence Award in 2018. She is an expert on police body-worn cameras and specialty units, publishing in both academic and practitioner-focused outlets. Dr. Gaub engages in student mentoring at multiple levels, and currently serves as Vice Chair for the American Society of Criminology Division of Policing and an editorial board member for Police Practice & Research. Dr. White said, “Janne has far extended her expertise and research beyond the initial mentorship she received at ASU. She is an accomplished scholar, and she is a tremendous asset to my body-worn camera training and technical assistance team that works with the Bureau of Justice Assistance.”  Professor Gaub commended, “It is an honor and a privilege to receive this award. The experience and training I received at ASU, first as a master’s student and then as a doctoral student, set me on a course for success.”