Cultivating Peace: A Student Research Symposium, Virginia Tech, 4/20-21

By: David J. Smith, April 21, 2017

I have long believed it is important to support students in their pursuit of scholarship and research.  The last two days I have spent with students from Virginia Tech, Appalachian State University, Kean University, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham learning about their research interests.  I was honored to be the keynote presenter and offered a workshop on careers during Virginia Tech’s Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention “Cultivating Peace: A Student Research Symposium on Violence Prevention” held April 20-21 at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, VA.  Nearly 20 students presented their work.  I also had the chance to visit the center.

Stacey Clifton from Virginia Tech presented on “The Socialization of Police: Understanding the Importance for Police Recruits and the Police Subculture.”  She talked about the double marginalization that black law enforcement often are subjected to and the fact that recruits taking a practical approach in their roles often succeed at work.


University of Alabama- Birmingham master’s students Ajanet Rountree and Nicholas Sherwood presented on “Post-Conflict Kosovo: The Evidence and Challenges of a Global Peace Cycle.” They presented a model of peace that would assure that peace efforts are continued: the maintenance of peace.


Bonnie Woodward from Virginia Tech presented on “Treatment Differences in Parent-Child Synchrony, Realistic Problem- Solving, and Child Symptom Reduction from Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).” She focused on how parents and professionals might counter the effects of ODD.

Students from Kean University talked about their worked as members of the “Be the Change” program.  “Be the Change” engages in a number of community based efforts including creating community gardens in Newark, NJ.  During the afternoon, they engaged all of us in building a vertical community garden!  It was fun.


Appalachian State University students Tessa Belk and Haley Crenshaw presented on “Armed Robbery Victimization.” They shared about the success of reducing gun violence in Australia as a result of tighter gun ownership laws.

“Victimization in the Mental Health Profession: Are You at Risk?” was the theme of the presentation by Kennedy Bullis, also from Appalachian State.  She looked at the risks of stalking by clients and patients of mental health practitioners.

John Clearly from Appalachian State talked about the “Victimization of the Mentally Disabled.”  He presented on how those who are mentally ill are more likely be the victims of crime.

Appalachian State students Ian Skinner and Maegan Little looked at “LGBT + Victimization: Visibility and Data Insufficiency.” They focused on the underreporting of crimes against members of the LGBT community.

Chris Love, a master’s student at Virginia Tech, presented on “How Civil Discourse Promotes Clarity and Reduces Conflict.”  He addressed the nature of civility,

And finally, PhD student Brooke Covington of Virginia Tech presented on “All Memes, Created (Un)Equal, with Liberty and (In)Justice for All.”  She looked it the use of the ideograph the equal symbol used by Human Rights Campaign.

I learned much and appreciated the work that the students put into their presentations. The agenda for the entire symposium is here: CULTIVATING PEACE final agenda April 2017



Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

3 thoughts on “Cultivating Peace: A Student Research Symposium, Virginia Tech, 4/20-21

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: