PhD Student Kelly Socia Receives Teaching Award
SCJ student Kelly Socia was selected to receive the 2010 University at Albany Excellence Award for Teaching by a Teaching Assistant. Socia entered the Criminal Justice doctoral program in fall 2006. He has regularly taught discussion sections for the School's undergraduate gateway course in Criminology and more recently has served as the instructor for the upper-division American Criminal Courts class.
Socia consistently receives outstanding student evaluations - particularly as related to his ability to communicate course content and his oppenness to student feedback. His students frequently comment on the way he uses everyday experiences to explain seemingly intangible concepts. And they almost always mention his skillful use of humor in the classroom. Socia has an open door policy for his students, always willing to meet with them to discuss a wide-range of questions and concerns, not at all limited by the topics being taught in class.
Outside of the classroom Socia is active in the School and the discipline. He has served as president of the SCJ Graduate Student Association and has coordinated a number of student events and brown bag sessions. He is a perennial participant in graduate student orientation and Ph.D. recruitment weekend. He presents annually at meetings of the American Society of Criminology and was recently invited to present at the Crime Mapping Research Conference run by the National Institute of Justice for which he was awarded a NIJ travel grant.
Socia's dissertation is a cutting-edge project that looks at the potential for clusters of sex offenders in a selection of New York towns given the structure of laws limiting where sex offenders can reside after release from prison. Because he has made a point of taking coursework in mapping technologies and spatial analysis – relatively new tools in the field – he is uniquely positioned to conduct a truly progressive research project that will have far-reaching policy implications.