VERMILLION-- Alumna Olivia Mann ’18 will start doctoral studies in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University in fall 2018. Mann chose Princeton over other universities because of the rigor and flexibility of its doctoral program.
“The structure of their program allowed students to pursue any area of research they had an interest in ... and empowered students to do large-scale research on issues that truly matter,” she said.
At Princeton, Mann plans to study crime and deviance as well as gender and sexuality research.
As a criminal justice major at USD, Mann earned numerous distinctions, including the Dillon Senior Achievement Award, the Farber Fund Writing Award and first place in the undergraduate student paper competition at the Midwest Sociological Society’s 2018 annual convention. She graduated summa cum laude in May 2018.
While she was an undergraduate, Mann collaborated with Bridget Diamond-Welch, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice, on several published studies. Mann also worked in the Government Research Bureau under the direction of Shane Nordyke, Ph.D., associate professor of political science.
Mann cited her collaboration with Professors Diamond-Welch and Nordyke as essential preparation for doctoral study.
“One of the wonderful things about USD ... is that there are lots of professors who are very hands-on,” Mann said. “Diamond-Welch really gave me the opportunity to partner with her and help determine the nature and direction of our projects.
“The great thing about the work that I did at the GRB and with Diamond-Welch was that I got to do a lot of learning-by-doing ... I had the opportunity to be hands-on in survey construction, data analysis, paper writing and more.”
A native of Beaverton, Oregon, Mann said she chose to study at USD because it is “a small school with big school funding.”
In addition to research opportunities, Mann noted that the criminal justice program emphasizes critical thinking skills that prepare students for professional as well as academic success.
The criminal justice program “taught me to look at the world around me through a critical lens,” Mann said.
“Instead of simply accepting that the world and the institutions in it are the way they are, I learned to ask why institutions are built certain ways and how they affect the lives of individuals who interact with them,” she said.