Dr. Sarah Koon-Magnin
Dr. Sarah Koon-Magnin joined the College of Arts & Sciences faculty in August of 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice. Now an Associate Professor, Koon-Magnin came to USA after completing her Ph.D. in Crime, Law, and Justice from Penn State University.
Since arriving in the Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice, Koon-Magnin has been busy with research and with teaching. Her research focuses on the ways people view and understand crime, the law, offenders, and victims. She says her publications have examined “perceptions of statutory rape (the crime, the offenders, and the victims), sex offender legislation (e.g., registries, community notification, civil commitment), and more recently, victims of sexual assault.”
A few months ago, in February 2019, the cutting-edge scholarly monograph, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Sexual Assault: Challenging the Myths, was published. Koon-Magnin co-authored this book with USA colleagues Dr. Corina
Schulze, Associate Professor of Political Science & Criminal Justice, and Dr. Valerie
Bryan, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Sociology, & Social Work. Their book examines
perceptions and experiences of sexual assault in the LGBTQ+ community. As Koon-Magnin
points out, members of this under-researched community are at a higher risk of sexual
Koon-Magnin says her current research explores how U.S. society can better serve crime victims and offenders. Using empirical research, scholars as well as law enforcement and politicians can analyze current policies and programs and develop new plans to address and limit crime. Koon-Magnin says her research contributes “to the evidence base that new policies, practices, and educational programs can rely on.”
Just as Koon-Magnin enjoys research, she enjoys teaching, particularly CJ 105: Introduction to Criminal Justice. For many USA students, CJ 105 is their first engagement with Criminal Justice as a discipline. The class, she says, “provides a broad overview to criminal justice in America—how we define and measure crime, what law enforcement officers do, how courts work, and a basic introduction to corrections.”
Koon-Magnin’s research and teaching interests also intersect with the College of Arts
& Sciences’ minor in Forensic Science. She and Dr. Lesley Gregoricka, Associate Professor
of Anthropology, Sociology, & Social Work, set up this minor a few years ago to meet
student demand for classes in different aspects of Forensics. This interdisciplinary
minor has continued to grow and links together faculty from the Departments of Chemistry,
Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, & Anthropology, and Political Science & Criminal
Justice. Students with this minor come from diverse majors: Anthropology, Biology,
Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Criminal Justice, and Psychology.
Looking ahead to the future, Koon-Magnin says she plans to extend her research in “a new area, bridging two lines of research that are not currently linked but seem very compatible to me.”
When she is not teaching or working on her research, Koon-Magnin likes doing things with her husband and son. The three enjoy being outdoors together, whether going for walks or swimming. Hobbies include jigsaw puzzles, reading, and watching television shows such as Survivor and Law & Order. Football is also a passion of Koon-Magnin’s, and she particularly likes participating in fantasy football—she won a trophy in a twelve-member fantasy football contest in 2017.