Willamette students share research at national conferences

by University Communications,

Three Willamette students — Adrienne McCarthy ’13, Dina Saraí Rivas ’14 and Delia Olmos-Garcia ’14 — were recently chosen to present their research at national sociology conferences.

McCarthy, a native of Kirkland, Wash., attended the Western Society of Criminology conference in Berkeley, Calif. Feb. 7-9. A sociology and biochemistry double major, McCarthy was among about 200 people — and a handful of undergraduates — at the conference.

While there, she presented a paper on the theoretical development of the neutralization theory — a criminology theory that states people engage in criminal behavior by “neutralizing” it with rationalizations to make the behavior moral.

“Criminology and deviance is a specific area within sociology that I’m interested in, so it was good to see where people have taken their criminology degrees and applied them,” McCarthy says.

Rivas, a Woodburn, Ore. native, and Olmos-Garcia of Salem, Ore. are both attending the Pacific Sociological Association meeting in Reno, Nev. March 21-24. Both are sociology majors who will share the research they gathered through Willamette’s Liberal Arts Research Collaborative program.

At the conference, Rivas will share her research on Willamette Academy graduates, some of whom report having difficulty adjusting to college life.

“I am very interested in education, supporting students to go to college and helping them while they are in college,” she says. “I think this research has taught me some of the ways students can be supported.”

Olmos-Garcia’s research, on the other hand, focuses on the effects of immigration policy for mixed-status families in Oregon.

“Throughout the year, I have continued my research through independent studies in hopes of publishing an article and becoming a candidate for graduate school,” she says. “It will be great getting feedback from other sociologists, as this will make my article stronger.”