Sara R. Jefferies is a Criminal Justice Ph.D student who is expected to graduate in the year 2020. Sara has been a part of TOW for four years, she I started as a volunteer and developed the first webpage for TYJI at the University of New Haven, and then moved into a Fellowship/Student Research position. TYJI has enabled Sara the ability to build research, writing and policy skills in juvenile justice to aid in her future career plans. After graduating from the University of New Haven, she plans to research, become a professor and obtain a position in policy reforming.
Sara Jeffries, third-year Ph.D. Fellow at the University of New Haven, joined the Tow Youth Justice Institute (TYJI) in January 2015 as part of the research staff for projects pertaining to Connecticut’s juvenile justice system. Her work with TYJI includes evaluating conditions of confinement in secure juvenile facilities in Connecticut, student men-torship, development of a Capstone Proposal for Diversion in the State of Connecticut, and being a team member on the Restorative Justice Practices Project in collaboration with Suffolk University and CHDI. Before joining the TYJI, Sara decided to make some changes in her life. After working for several years in the legal field, she decided she wanted to make a career change. She received her bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2001 and worked as a legal secretary/paralegal after graduation. While she liked her job, she realized she didn’t want to go to law school.
“I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I went for my Masters in Criminology, and wanted to take that further and get my doctorate and hopefully get hired as a professor and researcher.”
As part of her Graduate Fellowship, Sara was asked to teach the Juvenile Justice System course. She found that teaching a class while working on her doctorate is actually beneficial: “I’m learning from students. When I’m coming up with exercises, it helps me review what I’ve already learned. It’s helped me become more well-rounded.”Sara recently finished working with Dr. Tracy Tamborra and Dr. Richard Spano on manuscripts in progress for publication. These areas of interest include: victimization while studying abroad and child abuse and neglect in the household. On top of teaching, research and course-work, Sara is aiming to make an impact on the juvenile justice system during her time with the TYJI.