Early Research Experience Inspired Criminologist
Recently Hired Professor Specializes in White-Collar and Women Offenders
Dec. 16, 2011
Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero initially wanted to be a police officer. But a research methods class that the UT Dallas criminology faculty member took as an undergraduate changed her perspective.
“I became more interested in asking questions and finding answers to those questions,” said Leeper Piquero, a recently hired professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS). “Once I took research methods, I realized there were other career paths related to the criminal justice system other than being a police officer.”
The class inspired her to collaborate with her professor, Dr. Laure Weber Brooks, on her first published research paper.
“It was the perfect opportunity to work on this paper because it brought two areas together – police stress and combining it with real world research,” she said.
More than 15 years later, Leeper Piquero is ranked by the Journal of Criminal Justice Education as among the most distinguished female criminologists in the nation. Before joining UT Dallas, she was an associate professor of criminology at Florida State University.
She is the editor of the Journal of Drug Issues. She is the recipient of the Young Career Award presented by the National White Collar Crime Research Consortium. She has memberships in both the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Criminology.
“She is the most well-known and prolific female criminologist in the world,” said Dr. James Marquart, the dean of EPPS. “Her scholarly contributions range from examinations of white-collar crime to juvenile delinquency to the causes and prevention of crime over the life course. And she brings immediate visibility, stature and reputation not only to the criminology program but to the school. I certainly look forward to her contributions in the classroom, her scholarly agenda as well as her interest in mentoring junior faculty and students at all levels.”
Her research interests are white-collar crime and women and crime.
“There are populations in the criminal justice system that don’t get a lot of attention because most crimes are street crimes created by offenders,” she said about her research interests. “What kind of adaptations have to be made to deal with them?
She said one reason she chose to come to UT Dallas was its young criminology program.
“It’s a really good group of faculty who are doing good research,” she said. “It was exciting to have an opportunity to be here and do what little part I can to help it grow.”
Leeper Piquero earned her PhD in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland, where she also earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees.