MS in Criminal Justice

Kitty Piccione, 2022

Kitty Piccione

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

For my capstone, I worked with the George Mason University Police Department on a project looking into burnout. I created an online survey and asked both sworn and civilian staff at GMUPD about their perspectives on burnout in law enforcement.

How did you choose your specific area of study?

I received my BA in criminology with a minor in Psychology. Since I was little, I have always loved helping people in whatever way I could. Naturally, I was drawn to the forensic side of the social sciences. With my experience as a police dispatcher at GMUPD, I felt compelled to continue my educational journey through criminal justice.

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

The opportunities I was able to experience thanks to my program have greatly expanded my interests. I have learned so much from being able to work with law enforcement agencies like Fairfax City Police Department and the George Mason Police Department. I never realized how much I would like predictive data analysis until I entered this program. I feel as if my academic experiences have helped expand my repertoire of skills.

Of which accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud?

I am proudest of the collaborative projects I have been able to do with local law enforcement agencies.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career?

I would not have realized my love for predictive data analysis without the help of one of my professors, Matthew D'anna. He helped me so much with learning how to handle coding with R and his classes really opened my eyes to data analysis. Another professor who helped me through my graduate career was my capstone professor, Charlotte Gill. Dr. Gill helped me realize that creating a study or project is not as intimidating as you would think. She was always there for me and any questions I had while creating my project. Finally, my supervisor Beverley Jackson at George Mason University Police has been one of my greatest supporters during my Mason career. She was the one who pushed me to apply to the master's program and made it possible with scheduling so I could make it to my classes.

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

Make sure to leave some time for yourself. Graduate-level classes are more intense and time-consuming; so leaving time for self-care is vital for achieving your best performance.

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

Currently, I am planning on staying at George Mason University Police as a Senior Communications Officer and possibly continuing my education through George Mason University. In the long term, I aim to move on and into federal law enforcement. I am particularly looking into data analysis or forensic psychology at the federal level.