MA in Criminology, Law and Society

Arden Richards-Karamarkovich, 2021

Arden Richards-Karamarkovich

Describe your dissertation or thesis (if you completed one):

My thesis, "Hope in the Darkness: How Women Navigate and Perceive Employment After Incarceration," examines the reentry experiences of formerly incarcerated women, specifically looking at how their gender and criminal legal contact impact perceived opportunities for employment.

How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you? 

I have had wonderful opportunities in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Coming into graduate school I had limited experience with research, and did not have a clear picture of my research interests. Through engaging coursework and conversations with peers and faculty, I have become passionate about researching the experiences of women in the criminal legal system. I have had more exposure and practice with research, and I look forward to continuing theses projects in the future!

What accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my thesis research project. It was challenging to navigate data collection during the pandemic, but I am proud of how I persevered and adapted to unusual circumstances. Defending my thesis was a milestone in my academic career that I have thought so much about over the past two years, so finally completing this step has been so exciting.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career? Please give an example of this impact if possible. 

There are so many faculty members who have impacted my time at Mason, I could go on and on about the CLS faculty and staff! One particular example that comes to mind is how the department as a whole supported students during the pandemic. Department leadership, my professors, mentors, and other students made a challenging time feel less distanced. Through emails checking in, taking the time to ask how students are, and more, I have managed to feel connected to George Mason, even from home.

What advice would you give to an incoming cohort of graduate students?

Absolutely use your cohort as resources, both in terms of scholarship and as a support system. Grad school will be stressful at times, and it can be a big adjustment, so having friendships with others who are going through similar experiences is wonderful!

What are your current career plans following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?

I will be staying at George Mason for a PhD in Criminology, Law and Society. One day I hope to be a professor at a college or university, where I can teach and research the criminal legal system.