Students selected for Dickman Award for Dissertation Research

Dickman Award Photo

Sofia Laguna and Amy Magnus receive 2019 Dickman Graduate Student Research Award

Doctoral candidates Sofia Laguna and Amy Magnus are this year’s recipients of the Dickman Award for Dissertation Research, which is given annually to support Ph.D. students in criminology, law and society doing research in the field.

Laguna’s research focuses on legal power and drug laws. She is examining a national phenomenon in which elected officials work against the operations of syringe exchange programs in various counties throughout the United States. She is conducting institutional ethnographic observations and interviews to examine the rhetoric and political action used by local officials in response to drug-using behavior and syringe exchange programs.

Magnus’ dissertation project deploys ethnographic, community-based action research approaches to examine the interface between rural social inequality, the effectiveness of existing rural social service efforts and the politics of activism in these landscapes. She has been conducting field observations, in depth interviews, and participant-driven, arts-based visual ethnography (e.g. photography) to examine how residents and community stakeholders/activists navigate a rural landscape in which services for intersecting social problems often are politically contentious, limited, and/or nonexistent.

Magnus, an activist and aspiring professor, is a two-time UCI Initiative to End Family Violence Fellow, three-time Kugelman Research Fellow, and Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation Pedagogical Fellow. She also is a lead researcher under two collaborative research grants from the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center and the UC Irvine Initiative to End Family Violence to examine the relationship between guns and intimate partner homicides.