Criminologist's Work Earns Multiple Accolades
Prof is Youngest in Field to Receive Fellow Designation in 2 Professional Societies
Sep. 6, 2011
Dr. Alex Piquero has been named an American Society of Criminology Fellow, the second such honor that the UT Dallas professor of criminology has received this year.
Earlier this year, Piquero was elected Fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Toronto. He is one of five criminologists in the world – and the youngest – to receive the Fellow designation in both criminology professional societies.
In addition, in January the Journal of Criminal Justice Education ranked Piquero as the No. 1 criminologist in the world in terms of publications in elite criminology journals, a distinction he has had since 1996.
Piquero is one of four criminologists this year to earn the American Society of Criminology (ASC) Fellow distinction, awarded to people who have made a scholarly contribution to the intellectual life of the discipline. A Fellow also must have made a significant contribution to the field through the career development of other criminologists and/or through ASC organizational activities.
Piquero will receive his ASC award in November in Washington, D.C.
“The awards are really a credit to the people who got me into the position that allows me to do what I do for a living,” he said. “It’s really a reflection of those people – my family, my colleagues, my spouse and students. I have been taught by all of them, and I continue to learn from all them.”
Dr. James Marquart, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS), said the Fellow distinctions are important because they mean Dr. Piquero’s peers are recognizing his research contributions.
“It certainly underscores the significance of his scholarship, and it’s recognition by his peers who made this award, as there are several thousand criminologists in this organization,” Marquart said.
Marquart said Piquero’s honors will boost the exposure of the criminology program and the School of EPPS.
“It means immediate national and international visibility, and facilitates our ability for recruitment on a variety of fronts, so we’re extremely fortunate,” Marquart said.
Piquero, who is a new UT Dallas faculty member, said he embraces the responsibilities that the Fellow distinctions carry.
“You don’t work in your career to become a Fellow,” he said. “My goal was to be the best possible researcher and the best possible teacher that I can be. ”
He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in the areas of criminal careers, criminological theory and quantitative research methods. He has collaborated on several books, including Key Issues in Criminal Careers Research: New Analyses from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (Cambridge University Press, co-authored with David P. Farrington and Alfred Blumstein) and Handbook of Quantitative Criminology (Springer, co-edited by David Weisburd).
“My research interest is why do people start offending?” Piquero said. “Why do some of those people stop and why do some of these people continue? Once we have that basic knowledge, then you can use that knowledge to help develop prevention and intervention programs to reduce those problems. We can’t come up with those solutions unless we understand those problems.”
He serves as an adjunct professor for the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice, and Governance at Griffith University, and he is co-editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.
In addition to his membership on over a dozen editorial boards of journals in criminology and sociology, he has served as Executive Counselor with the American Society of Criminology, member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel Evaluating the National Institute of Justice, member of the Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice Network at The Ohio State University, and member of the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. He is the past recipient of the American Society of Criminology's Young Scholar and E-Mail Mentor of the Year Awards.
Piquero was a professor of criminology at Florida State University before joining UT Dallas. He earned his undergraduate and advanced degrees from The University of Maryland.
He didn’t always know he’d work as a criminologist. He started out as a radio television and film major as an undergraduate at The University of Maryland. It wasn’t until he took an introductory criminal justice class that a passion was ignited for the topic. He decided to study criminology and go to graduate school.
“I wake up every single day, and I think, ‘I’m the luckiest person in the world,’ he said. “I love what I do for a living. I would not trade it. I get to teach, get to do research, and I get to help people become better teachers, and better scholars.”