This summer, I worked with Dr. Michael Doherty, as my research mentor, on youth gun violence in the United States. I used a model called Q Methodology to find correlations with law enforcement and program administrators who interact the most with youth.
Youth violence is becoming an epidemic. It is taking away bright minds and also costing millions of dollars each year in local, state and federal budgets. Thus far, the efforts to reduce violence among youth seem to have mixed results. This exploratory study will bring more awareness about this issue and subsequently generate more questions. Hopefully this will catch the attention of law enforcement and program administrators. The ultimate aim is for them to develop better strategies which will lead to more effective violence reduction among the U.S. youth population.
I have learned more about the costs associated with gun violence among youth. For instance, it was surprising to learn that in the city of New York in the 1990’s there once were more than 2,200 murders in one single year. Meanwhile, the city of Chicago had an average of 900 murders per year. It is frightening to learn about the amount of crime that occurred and the degree to which youth sadly contributed to the high number of killings.
From day one, Dr. Doherty has been there with me, helping me with find articles, teaching me how to properly cite them. He has been understanding and critical at the same time, which has helped and humbled me. I picked the right person and lucky to have him as a mentor.
It has been a series of ups and downs but I wouldn’t go back and change anything I went through this summer. In the beginning, there was hesitancy. It took me a while to learn some concepts. However, as a young researcher, this is part of the process and I accept the rewards and challenges that come with it.
I have a greater appreciation for research. Before I became a McNair Scholar, I thought research was something that was easy to do because I excelled in my classes that involved me researching a certain topic. While in McNair, I have learned to make sure you have all of the bases covered is important meaning proper citations. I have also learned how to prove any claim included in my research, by finding what other researchers have done. That is a skill that will help me become more credible and knowledgeable in my respective field.
My expectations of the SRE met right in line with what I expected before I was inducted; pulling all-nighters, days of consuming hundreds of milligrams of caffeine and days of doubt, but it was all worth it. As a McNair Scholar at Marian University, I am among the elite. I have also separated myself among my peers because of the expectations and challenges of the McNair Program.
I plan on continuing with my research project this upcoming fall, and gathering data to find the answers about how to reduce youth violence. I also want to have my research published in the field of criminal justice.
Reginald Parson, of Chicago, Ill., is a senior at Marian University majoring in homeland security with a minor in criminal justice. He hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in political science, public policy, or public administration.