Nadine Connell

Nadine Connell

Associate Professor of Criminology


University of Texas at Dallas

Milestones

My road in life has been direct.
My HS studying paid off when I got a full scholarship to college!
In college I had serious depression and had to be hospitalized - it meant I had to take time off.
I started graduate school with no idea what to do and got so nervous that I didn't finish my thesis on time. It took an extra month. That was really scary because I didn't know if I would finish.
In my doctoral program, I failed the first comprehensive exam I took. Thankfully, you were allowed to try one extra time!
I graduated after 5 years with my PhD and had two job offers to choose from!
I didn't like my first job - the people were great but I wasn't spending my time the way that I enjoyed. So I left.
I got offered my dream job but it meant I had to move to TX - 3500 miles from friends in family. But I said yes and I'm still happy I made that decision!
I got tenure at my university, which means that they think my work is good enough that I can keep my job for life if I want to. That's pretty cool.
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Bishop Feehan High School
Bachelor
Criminal Justice & Sociology
Northeastern University
Graduate
Criminal Justice
Northeastern University
Doctorate
Criminology
University of Maryland at College Park

Career

Associate Professor of Criminology

I conduct research on school and youth violence. I also teach classes to college students on criminology.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Law
Government
Helping People

Day to Day

While days vary, I spend a lot of my time reading research to keep up with my field. I write grants to help me conduct my research, which focuses on keeping students safe in school. When I am conducting research, I spend a lot of time in schools, talking to students and teachers. Then, I write up my results and publish them in academic journals. During the school year, I teach one or two classes at the university, about topics as diverse as juvenile justice, the death penalty, and policing.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Being able to interact well with lots of different people is an important skill that helps me succeed. On any given day, I could be talking to middle school students, other college professors, police officers, or college students. You have to be able to listen and learn from all sorts of different people to be a good professor. It's really important to be good at public speaking too (I stand up in front of a lot of people!). Because I work with children, empathy and compassion are important too!

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

The first step to be a professor is to start down the road of higher education. You will need a doctorate (aka: PhD) to work in any university. So once you've decided what you love (it's really important to love it - because there are days when it's really stressful), you have to find a program where you can study that topic. The quality, or ranking, of the program matters. It matters more in graduate school than for your undergraduate degree. Make friends with your professors - they will help!

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Criminal Justice & Sociology
graduate
Graduate
Criminal Justice
doctorate
Doctorate
Criminology

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Teachers:

"When I started my doctorate program, one professor in my master's program wrote me a very mean email telling me that I wasn't good enough to succeed and he regretted giving me a recommendation because it took me an extra month to graduate."

Challenges I Overcame

Physical Issues
First-Generation College Student