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TAMIU Student, Grad Have Work Published
Posted: 8/21/14

TAMIU Student, Grad
Have Work Published

Students at Texas A&M International University continue to create top-level research at the undergraduate level. Mary Lisa McKinnon, a senior sociology major, spent a month-long Fellowship with the Population Association of America and Stephanie Diaz (TAMIU ’13, BSCJ) had her honors thesis accepted for publication by “The Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice.”

“I’m trilled to see that TAMIU has prepared these students to participate in such prestigious scholarly activities,” said Dr. John C. Kulburn, associate dean of Research and director, Extramural Associates Research Development Award, Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.

McKinnon was one of seven students from Texas who participated in a month-long series of workshops held by the Population Association of America Summer Demographic Program at the University of Texas – San Antonio.

Mary Lisa McKinnon

Mary Lisa McKinnon

“Talented undergraduate students were given Ph.D.-level work and were expected to develop a research project during their time there. This Fall, she will present her work, ‘Characteristics Associated With Sexual Assault Among Women in Two Different Age Groups,” at the Southern Demographic Association Conference in Memphis, Tenn.,” said Dr. Kilburn, who also serves as McKinnon’s mentor.

Kilburn also encouraged Diaz to submit her Honors thesis for publication after noting that it was quality work and should be published.

Stephanie Diaz

Stephanie Diaz

Diaz consulted with Ray Garza, TAMIU instructor of psychology, to assist with advanced statistical analysis and co-authoring a revised version of the thesis.

“It was amazing to work on this research for I knew I was adding new information to death penalty research by using a predominantly Hispanic population. It was also exciting to see the change in opinions after the groups were exposed to stories about wrongful convictions,” said Diaz.

“Working on this research was difficult at times—setting up the experiment, figuring out what treatments to use, wording questions in the surveys—but thankfully I had great advisors at TAMIU. Dr. Amy Poland and Dr. Kilburn were always there every step of the way to offer their advice and insight,” Diaz added.

Diaz’s interest in doing her Honors thesis on wrongful convictions came to her as she was watching news coverage regarding the execution of Troy Davis and what many believe his wrongful conviction.

“I am extremely glad I was able to publish as a recent graduate of TAMIU because many students don’t get to experience working on their own project and publishing until they’re working on their master’s degree,” said Diaz.

“More students should be a part of the University Honors Program. It may be challenging, but I ended up gaining so much as a student and as a person. Dr. Deborah Blackwell (director, University Honors Program) is a great ally to have. When Dr. Poland left, Dr. Blackwell suggested Dr. Kilburn as an advisor. In a sense, I would not be where I am if it was not for Dr. Blackwell and the University Honors Program,” said Diaz.

She is currently a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati and plans to pursue a Ph.D. and help students the way Poland and Kilburn helped her.

For more information, contact Kilburn at 326.3221 or jckilburn@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 326C.

University office hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu