Philip Nero is originally from Birmingham. He received his B.S. in psychology/philosophy from Birmingham-Southern College. After living in Washington DC for a year, Philip decided to return to Birmingham to work toward his Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a certificate of specialization in Computer Forensics.
Philip’s research involves working on a seminar essay involving reintegrative shaming and its application in the punishment of convicted sex offenders. He explains, “As it currently stands, sex offenders are isolated and labeled as incorrigible violators of the moral code. Therefore, it is easy to see why their recidivism rates are so high. By incorporating reintegrative shaming, we may be able to integrate these individuals back into the community after they have served their jail sentence and received rehabilitation. The permanent label of ‘sex offender’ does nothing to stop these people from committing their heinous crimes again and again. Our current system has failed. Reintegrative shaming offers great potential for policy change.”
Philip draws his motivation for his research from within. “I'm self-motivated. I know what I'm capable of and I refuse to sacrifice my goals,” he said.
Choosing UAB for graduate studies wasn’t a difficult decision for Philip. Because Birmingham is his hometown, tuition is more affordable than in other states. “More importantly,” he adds, “UAB's Graduate Program in Criminal Justice has a sterling reputation for excellence in the Southeast and nationwide. Having worked with several of the faculty members, I can say without reservation that this is a very gifted group of educators.”
Although Philip has just recently begun his graduate studies in Fall 2007, he’s already had positive experiences in his program. He explains, “My most rewarding experience has been working with the faculty. They have already taught me so much and I'm always looking forward to learning more. Thus far, my greatest influence has been Dr. Heith Copes. He's easy to talk to and he's taught me a great deal. I'm currently registered to take one of his classes this summer called Patterns in Crime that promises to be enlightening.”
Philip is also receiving some practical experience. He is currently interning with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, going on ride-alongs in Forestdale and Centerpoint. He says that one of his short-term goals is to secure a paid internship position with the Sheriff's Department so that he can better grasp the practical application of the criminological theories that he has learned in class.
The future looks bright for Philip. “After graduation, I hope to use the knowledge I have gained and the relationships I have fostered to secure a position in a federal agency. From there, I will do my part to make our country a better place.”
Philip’s Advice for Other Graduate Students:
“Work through the hard times and keep going.”