Criminal justice studies, an interdisciplinary study that draws on the expertise of several departments across campus providing an educational foundation in the realms of crime and justice, won “Best Minor.” 

Rena Zito, the criminal justice studies advisory committee coordinator, said that the minor brings in faculty members with different perspectives from psychology, human services, chemistry, biology and more in the criminal justice courses. Zito, who is a sociologist and has a research background on adolescent law violation and the effects of it, said what she likes most about the minor is how students interact with the course and its current events. 

“One of the best things about teaching in CJS is that the students are so interested and invested and animated in the classroom,” Zito said. “Students want to be there, and they're excited about the subject matter.”

Junior Emily Burgess, minors in criminal justice studies, said she doesn't just minor in criminal justice studies because it compliments her human service studies major, but because of the way professors teach the courses. 

“I am able to use the two and understand more about criminal behavior and bring this knowledge into the social work field,” Burgess said. “All of the professors that teach the classes are so passionate about the topics and create a fun, creative environment for students to learn about criminal justice.”

Professor of psychology Meredith Allison brings her law and psychology background to the minor to teach criminal behavior. Similar to Zito, Allison said she likes the minor the most because of the diverse group of students from different majors.

“I meet all kinds of students. I probably wouldn't otherwise, because they're interested in crime and criminal justice and sort of show up in my classes,” Allison said. “I like the interdisciplinarity of it, that criminal justice isn't owned by any one discipline, all different disciplines have something to say about it.”

Zito said, while current students who are interested in criminal justice studies are what make the minor interesting, students who have graduated from Elon with the minor are what keep it going, too. 

“Some of them end up in law school, focusing on criminal law; some of them go into law enforcement or other kinds of criminal justice related jobs,” Zito said. “Our alums are excellent at coming back to talk to students about those experiences. So I think that not only do we do really cool stuff here at Elon, but our students go on to have amazing careers.”