Laura Zinzow Attended the American Jail Association Conference for her Honors Research into Incarcerated Women, Mental Health and Community Reentry Programs

Russell Sage College Sociology major Laura Zinzow was able to attend the American Jail Association conference in Los Angeles in May, thanks to Sage’s Doris Adams Ferguson ’53 Memorial Fellowship for Sociology and its Nancy Parker Neumann Memorial Travel Award. These awards support student travel related to research and social justice, respectively. 

It was Zinzow’s first time traveling across the country alone, and she met dozens of potential mentors willing to share advice and connections for her Honors research project and for starting her career. 

Zinzow’s capstone research project will explore incarcerated women, their mental health and their reentry into the community, with a focus on women who have spent time in solitary confinement. 

“I made sure to get all the business cards,” she said. “I was like, this is amazing. Not only am I networking for my project, I’m also networking for when I graduate.”

Sociology Professor Michelle Napierski-Prancl encouraged Zinzow to apply for the fellowships.

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Law & Behavioral Science Jeff Golden helped her polish her research proposal. He also connected her with people in his network who have been published by the Vera Institute of Justice, who offered additional guidance to help Zinzow shape her project.

“I asked a bunch of questions and they pointed me in the directions of where to go and who to talk to,” Zinzow said. “Now it’s a matter of connecting all the dots.” 

She’ll do that this fall, when she takes Honors Research in Sociology, an independent study with Professor Ali Schaeffing. 

Zinzow will present her final paper in spring 2023. She’ll also have the opportunity to submit it to professional conferences or publications. 

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