Christine Hannis has always been fascinated by the way the human brain works.
She pursued this interest as an undergraduate.
“I started off in journalism, but I was also in the introductory psychology class at the time, and I just fell in love with it.”
Hannis changed her major, and took on a minor in criminology.
“I learned about juvenile justice programs and probation/parole. Those areas seemed like a way to interact with people and help the community, something I really liked.”
Publishing in an international review
Hannis dove into her studies with the help of professors she admires to this day.
“It felt at times more like a family than a group of teachers.”
Hannis conducted her thesis project with professor Dr. Aida Hass. They researched a concept called “victim-offender overlap.”
“It demonstrates that a person can be a victim, as well as an offender,” Hannis said. “In some cases, a person grew up with domestic violence and started out as a victim; then, when they retaliate, they become an offender.”
Hannis and Hass interviewed female inmates at the Greene County Jail. They determined that the concept exists, and Hannis compiled the data into a 190-page document.
Hannis and Hass were then published in the International Review of Victimology.
It is one of Hannis’ many accomplishments during graduate school. She even won a Missouri State University award for Outstanding Graduate Student.
“It was very hard work, but as a result I now have a career, I won awards and I got my thesis published,” Hannis said.
“I was able to have all these very rewarding experiences in my MSU master’s program.”
Reducing the risk of more crimes
Her first job was as a juvenile officer.
She is now a Greene County probation and parole officer.
“The people who helped me get those jobs were in my grad program.”
She handles about 70 clients. Her job is to help them follow through on duties related to parole or probation.
She may remind them to pay court costs, verify they have done community service hours, refer them for substance-abuse treatment assessments and more.
She also may go to court if her clients have warrants.
The goal is to deter them from committing more crimes.
“I essentially keep them on track. I try to make sure I build a good rapport with them, because I really am trying to help them.” Hannis said her years in the criminology program were the proudest of her life.
“I set goals for myself and I accomplished them,” she said. “My efforts were acknowledged and it was such a great feeling.”