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Member Profiles- Fall 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-4-21-15-pmMakeela Wells
5th year Ph.D. student
Department of Sociology
Mississippi State University

How did you become interested in the field of women and/or gender and crime?
I have always had an interest in why people engage in crime in general. However, as I learned that females were less likely to engage in crime, I wanted to understand what factors led females to commit crime. I am specifically interested in sentencing outcomes for females convicted of drug offenses.

How do you define yourself as a scholar/activist/educator?
I define myself as a person who is always willing and seeking opportunities to learn new things, those related to crime and other social phenomena. I also strive to teach and inform others of what I know.

What are your current projects or interests?
Currently, I am working on two projects. One is my dissertation, which examines sentencing outcomes for drug offenses before and after the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. The second project examines the substantiation of child maltreatment cases in the state of Mississippi and what factors influence the likelihood of substantiation.

Who is your favorite person (or animal!) to spend time with, and what are your favorite things to do when you are with them?
My favorite person to spend time with in my granny. She is 84 years old and it is always interesting to hear stories about her childhood and life. Also, my granny watches quite a bit of reality television and it always funny to see her reactions and get her opinions about such shows.

How do you wind down after a stressful day?
After a stressful day, I like to listen to music. I love all types of music and music allows me to escape from the stressors I have experienced from the day.

What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as a person who was always willing to help others, whether it be professionally, academically, or in one's daily life. We often forget that there are many people out there who could use a little help from others to assist them in achieving a goal, big or small.

What is one of your lifelong goals?
One of my lifelong goals is to establish a doctoral program in criminal justice and criminology at a historically black college or university. Some African American students feel more secure at predominantly black colleges and universities; however, there are very few with doctoral programs of any kind. Feeling secure and confident in an educational setting greatly influences one's success.

Is there a website where we can send people for more information about you?
I do not have a website, by my department has a website for graduate students: