Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Project Title: Juvenile Risk Assessment Study
Primary Faculty Member: Dr. Caitlin Cavanagh
Application Deadline: March 19, 2021
Start Date: Summer 2021
End Date: Spring Semester 2022
Time Commitment: 8-10 hours per week
Able to Apply Work Hours For: Course Credit
Contact: Erica Dalzell (dalzelle@msu.edu)

Description of Project

This project involves a partnership between MSU (under leadership of Dr. Caitlin Cavanagh) and a local juvenile court. At the court, each youth who is charged with a crime is administered a risk assessment, which identifies areas of unmet need and how likely the youth is to offend again. The project has expanded to include assessments for juvenile sex offenders, families involved in the abuse/neglect division of the court, youth with mental health needs, and potential victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

  • Great behind the scenes experience into juvenile court and case processing of juvenile delinquents (please note: no contact with you, but continuous networking with court staff).
  • Create an individual research project to present at a national academic conference - FANTASTIC opportunity for those interested in graduate school!
  • May be opportunities for students to become involved in publications.
  • Receive a personalized letter of recommendation based on the quality of the work.
  • Excellent community-based opportunity for those who are interested in applying to graduate school in psychology, social work, criminal justice, or related fields.
  • Opportunity for independent study or experiential learning credit.

Description of Duties

  • Basic data entry in a juvenile court setting
  • Communicating with probation officers and some data management
  • Attending a mandatory bi-weekly meeting with court and research staff
  • Working with your supervisor to create an independent research study

Minimum Qualifications

  • Available for one calendar year (summer, fall, & spring semesters, 2021-2022)
  • Minimum GPA: 2.8
  • Have taken a research methods or statistics course


Project Title: Communities, Crime, & Criminal Justice in Detroit (C3JD)
Primary Faculty Member: Bradley Smith & Matthew Larson (Wayne State University) 
Start Date: June 7, 2021
End Date: August 2, 2021
Contact: C3JDREU@wayne.edu

Description of Project

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in the study of Communities, Crime, & Criminal Justice in Detroit (C3JD hereafter) is an intensive 8-week online (via Zoom) summer research program (June 7, 2021 to August 2, 2021) that will connect 9 undergraduate students with faculty and graduate students from the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Wayne State University in research examining crime and justice in Detroit, Michigan.

The C3JD-REU site will be funded (currently pending final notice) by the National Science Foundation with the mission of promoting undergraduate student interest in and preparation for academic research and/or as policymakers and practitioners who are well equipped to prioritize evidence-based practices throughout their careers.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Currently a Sophomore or Junior
  • Have a goal of attending graduate school