Researcher Highlight

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July 2014's Researcher of the Month

Dr. Nicole Rader, Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr. Nicole Rader is an Associate Professor of Sociology where she currently serves as the Graduate Coordinator. Her expertise lies in the areas of gender and criminology, specifically focusing on gender differences in fear of crime, victimization, and the media’s construction of crime and victimization. Dr. Rader received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and has been teaching at MSU since 2005. Dr. Rader has served as the Director of Gender Studies for the College of Arts & Sciences, the Chair of both the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Chair of the Work Life Balance Committee, and the Undergraduate Criminology Coordinator. She teaches classes on gender and crime, victimology, and qualitative methods.

She has published 16 articles in sociology and criminology journals and her coauthored book called Fear of Crime in the United States: Causes, Consequences, and Contradictions is scheduled to be released this coming August. Her primary research trajectory concentrates on fear of crime. Research indicates that fear of crime levels often do not match real crime rates. Therefore, most of her work has focused on understanding the reasons people fear crime, specifically aiming to explain women’s fear of crime and what it is about society that causes women’s fear. Further, she is interested in understanding how the family structure plays a role in creating and sustaining fear of crime in America. Her work in the United States has focused on married couples and how they negotiate safety precautions in their relationship. As an expansion of this work, Dr. Rader was able to interview parents and their children in Lund, Sweden this past spring during her time as a visiting professor at Lund University. This research considered how parents talk with their children about safety concerns and how, if at all, living in a more gender equal country influenced such safety discussions and decision making. She hopes to replicate this study in the US with American families to consider the cross cultural differences and similarities between the two samples.

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