Dr. Kyle Ward '09 Pays It Forward As Criminal Justice Professor
A member of the cross-country team, president of the psychology national honor society, and member of the psychology and sociology clubs, Dr. Kyle Ward ‘09 was highly involved during his time at The Valley to say the least.
“I was also actively involved in research at LVC,” Dr. Ward said. “I had the chance to work with Dr. Lou Laguna [professor of psychology] on a paper regarding police personality that ended up being published.”
Dr. Ward also completed research with other psychology professors and some sociology professors, and worked with Lebanon County administrators during the early stages of developing a drug court. His passion for research led Dr. Ward to pursue his master’s in forensic psychology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and Ph.D. in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Today, he’s an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).
“The favorite part of my work is being able to conduct the research I want and to mentor undergraduate and graduate students in the process,” Dr. Ward said. “I feel that I was very fortunate to have the research opportunities at LVC. I had professors who took me under their wing to work on research projects from conception to publication. I feel like it is my turn to pay that forward.”
While earning his Ph.D., Dr. Ward was introduced to the “Reading for a Change Program” started by IUP Ph.D. students Brandon Stroup, Rene Lamphere, and Tim Holler.
“The program involves volunteers going into jails and recording parents reading books to their children,” Dr. Ward said. “The recordings are then edited, burned onto a CD, and sent home to the kids. That way, the children still have the opportunity to have their mother or father read to them even though they are separated.”
When Dr. Ward began teaching at UNC he expanded the program to the Weld County Jail. Ward and his students also use this program to conduct interviews regarding the impact of the program and to understand how incarceration affects the parent-child relationship.
“While the parents are serving time as punishment for something they did, it’s often the children and families who suffer more,” Dr. Ward said. “There are currently 2.2 million people in U.S. prisons, leaving about 1.7 million children under 18 without at least one of their parents at home with them. We hope to continue to explore ways to build and maintain familial bonds during these types of family incarcerations.”