Rebecca studied psychology with a focus on forensic psychology for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Rebecca is pursuing a PhD in Criminology and Justice Policy through the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Before beginning her doctoral studies, she worked as a clinician in a prison for sexual offenders in Massachusetts.
Here is Rebecca’s story…
“When I made the decision to go back to school for my PhD, I specifically looked for programs that would merge my background in forensic psychology with my interest in engaging in criminal justice research and policy work. I ultimately made the decision to attend the doctoral program in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern because of the faculty. There were a number of faculty conducting research I was drawn towards. I was primarily interested in working with Dr. Carlos Cuevas—his work, like mine, is multidisciplinary and focuses on the link between victimology and criminal justice.”
Rebecca has worked closely with Dr. Cuevas as a research assistant on the National Institute of Justice’s funded Dating Violence Among Latino Adolescents (DAVILA)-II Study. Dr Cuevas and Rebecca have two manuscripts in preparation from this study:
“The first deals with the impact of cultural variables and dating violence on mental health; the second examines the victimization-delinquency overlap among Latino adolescents.”
Rebecca’s dissertation explores data collected from the DAVILA Study and examines the relationship between victimization and subsequent delinquency among Latino youth.
“My research seeks to determine whether certain cultural variables such as acculturation, enculturation, and familism, which are relevant to Latinos, are protective factors against adverse mental health outcomes and delinquent means of coping.”
Rebecca was awarded a graduate fellowship from the Rappaport Institute at Harvard University. In the summer of 2014, Rebecca worked in City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, which promotes equal rights and opportunities for women and girls in Boston. Her work in the office focused on examining how the hotel industry comes into contact with victims of sexual exploitation and the training that can be provided to hotel staff to help them recognize and respond to possible sexual exploitation.
“I conducted focus groups with law enforcement, hotel security and management personnel, and survivors of sexual exploitation. The final project consisted of a report to Mayor Walsh with concrete recommendations for how the city can work to end sexual exploitation in Boston hotels.”
In 2014, Dr. Cuevas nominated Rebecca for a National Institute of Justice/National Science Foundation (NIJ/NSF) scholarship. Together they attended the Intimate Partner Violence Prevention workshop in Washington, DC in May 2014. Following the workshop, they were asked to co-author a book chapter on intimate partner violence prevention among underserved groups. The manuscript is in preparation.
In the summer of 2016, Rebecca worked on two grants funded by the National Institute of Justice with Dr. Andrew Harris, at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, on law enforcement perceptions of sex offender management. The collaboration resulted in the publication of “Community Experience With Public Sex Offender Registries in the United States” in the Criminal Justice Policy Review.
Rebecca will be defending her dissertation, “the role of cultural variables in the victimization-delinquency overlap among latino youth: a general strain theory perspective,” in Spring 2017. After receiving her PhD, Rebecca hopes to continue teaching in academia in a criminology, sociology, psychology, or public health department.
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