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Dena Carson joined the O’Neill School at IUPUI as an assistant professor after working as the project director for a three-year grant that focused on gang desistance. Dena also taught as an assistant research professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where she also earned her Ph.D. in 2011.
Dena completed her bachelor's in chemistry from Pittsburg State University and her master’s in criminology from the University of South Florida.
Dena has given several conference presentations on the topics of youth violence, gangs, delinquent peer groups, and victimization throughout the U.S. and the world, including Turkey, Hungary, and Norway. Her dissertation won a University of Missouri-St. Louis Graduate School Dissertation Award in fall 2010. In spring 2014, her work on gang desistance was named paper of the year by Criminal Justice Review. Her recent publications have appeared in Criminology & Public Policy, Young Violence and Juvenile Justice,Journal of Crime & Justice, Deviant Behavior, and others.
- Ph.D., Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2011
- M.A., Criminology, University of South Florida, 2007
- B.S., Chemistry, Pittsburg State University, 2003
- Project Director, A Multi-method, Multi-site Study of Gang Desistance. Funded by the National Institute of Justice. Principal Investigator: Finn-Aage Esbensen, 2012-2014
- Assistant Research Professor, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2011-2014
- James L. Maddex, Jr., Criminal Justice Review, Paper of the Year Award: “Youth gang desistance: An examination of the effect of different operational definitions of desistance on the motivations, methods, and consequences associated with leaving the gang.” (2014)
- Co-Third Prize, American Society of Criminology Gene Carte Student Paper Competition: “Examining the Effect of Peers on Changes in Delinquent Attitudes: A Longitudinal Study.” (2011)
Selected Intellectual Contributions
- "Arrest and the amplification of deviance: Does gang membership moderate the relationship?" (with S. Wiley, F. Esbensen) Justice Quarterly (2016)
- "Motivations for Leaving: A Qualitative Comparison of Leaving Processes across Gang Definitions." (with F. Esbensen) Gang Transitions and Transformations in an International Context (2016)
- "Youth gang desistance: An examination of the effect of different operational definitions of desistance on the motivations, methods, and consequences associated with leaving the gang." (with D. Peterson, F. Esbensen)Criminal Justice Review (2013)