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  SAC Spotlight:  Vermont


Principal Investigators

Max Schlueter, Ph.D., Director
Max originally served as Director of the Vermont Center for Justice Research (VCJR) from 1991 to 1994 while an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He subsequently became the Director of the Vermont Criminal Information Center (VCIC) at the Vermont Department of Public Safety and served in that position for sixteen years. During his tenure at VCIC he served as the Director of Vermont's crime reporting system and was responsible for managing the State Identification Bureau, the Vermont Criminal History System, the Vermont Sex Offender Registry, and the State's National Crime Information Center program. Upon his retirement from VCIC in 2010, Max resumed his duties as Director of the VCJR. He also serves as an adjunct professor of Justice Studies and Sociology at Norwich University. Max earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Southern Illinois University and an M.A. and B.A. in sociology from Boston College.

Robin Weber J.D., Ph.D., Director of Research
Robin joined the VCJR in 2005. She is responsible for research design and developing new ways to merge and analyze administrative records data from around the state. Robin is actively involved in Vermont's Results First project in conjunction with the Pew Center for Research, and was recently named a Research Partner for a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women (OVAW) to reduce domestic violence homicides. Robin earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University. She started her career as a public defender in California. She returned to Boston and handled Criminal Justice Act (CJA) appeals for the First Circuit as well as state appellate work for the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Marcia Bellas, Ph.D., Research Associate
Marcia is a sociologist with research interests in social inequality, particularly in the areas of gender, race/ethnicity, and social class. Her research focus at the VCJR is juvenile justice and disproportionate minority contact (DMC). She was a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati for a decade before joining the VCJR staff in 2002. She left in 2007 to work as an independent contractor for the State of Vermont, monitoring Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) requirements, including those related to DMC. She subsequently held several administrative positions in non-profit organizations and returned to the VCJR in late 2012. She is currently working on a DMC assessment for the state of Vermont, and a process evaluation of a rapid intervention program in Chittenden County. Dr. Bellas holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an M.S. in sociology, and a B.S. in psychology from Illinois State University.

Elizabeth Maier, Ph.D., Research Associate
Elizabeth was born and raised in central Oklahoma. She has lived in Washington, DC; Texas; Nebraska; and Vermont. Elizabeth has spent time working for federal and state governments and taught criminology courses at several universities. She currently is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Oklahoma. She received her bachelor's degree from the George Washington University, master's degree from Texas A&M University, and her Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. Maier enjoys teaching and conducting research. Her research focus at the VCJR are in sexual assault, juvenile justice policy, courts and court processing, and practical applications of research in the juvenile justice field and corrections.

Travis Morris, Ph.D., Research Associate
Travis is an Assistant Professor of criminal justice at Norwich University. His work with the VCJR involves evidence-based policing training, support, and evaluation. He previously served as a captain in the U.S. Army, where he spent four years on active duty as an Airborne Ranger with the 10th Mountain Division. After completing his military service, Travis was a police officer in Lexington, Kentucky, and served as a consultant to the Office of Domestic Preparedness for Managing Civil Actions in Threat Incidents. He received his Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has published on policing, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism. Travis has spent time in the Middle East and was recently named an Academic Fellow by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Peter Wicklund, Ph.D., Research Associate
Peter has been with the VCJR since January of 2011. He brings to the center 35 years of private sector research experience. After receiving his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Idaho, he worked for five years as a product development scientist at a Fortune 100 food company and then spent the rest of his career as the cofounder and chief technical officer of a consumer research consulting firm. His interests include advanced multivariate analysis and modeling, experimental design, online survey development, website design, and data visualization programming. Peter's research duties at the VCJR include conducting outcome evaluations for private and state programs, providing development and statistical analysis support for online survey research, maintaining the VCJR website and blog, and providing IT technical assistance for the staff at the VCJR.

Research Staff

Patty Breneman, M.P.A., Research Analyst
Patti Fischer, B.S., Research Analyst
Alisha Nowicki, B.A., Research Assistant
Tim Halvorsen, B.S., Database Consultant
Josh White, Student Intern


Monica Litzelman, MELP, Financial Manager

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