Political Science and Criminal Justice

Meet the New Department Members

New Administrative Support Coordinator - Liz Wasinger


In May, Lori Adrian, our former ASC took a position on campus in Human Resources. We wish Lori all of the best in her new role.

And we feel very fortunate to have Liz Wasinger as our new Administrative Support Coordinator! Liz Wasinger joined the Department in July as our Administrative Support Coordinator and brings over more than 10 years of experience as an ASC on campus. Most recently, Liz worked for the Department of Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management, and prior to that, was the ASC for the College of Communication and Education’s Dean’s Office. Liz has adjusted well to the size and pace of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, and she is a welcome addition to the front office. Outside of work, Liz enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters (including 5 year old twins!). Welcome, Liz!

New Faculty Members (A.K.A. "The Fab Five")

Maitreya Badami
Maitreya BadamiMaitreya Badami joined the Department in fall 2017 after a 23-year career in the practice of criminal law at the trial, appellate, and post-conviction levels. From 2010-2017, she taught and practiced full time with the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP), a clinical educational program at Santa Clara University School of Law. NCIP represents California state prisoners with claims of actual innocence in habeas corpus and other post-conviction proceedings. Prior to joining the Santa Clara Law faculty, she practiced in the Bay Area, serving as a Deputy Public Defender in Contra Costa County, and then as a member of the Indigent Defense Panels for San Francisco Superior Court, the First District Appellate Project, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She has done research and extensive policy advocacy in relation to the role of eyewitness misidentification in wrongful convictions.

Maitreya obtained her BA in Political Science from the University of Georgia, where she acquired a taste for SEC football and indie rock music. From there, she returned to her home state to attend law school at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, from which she obtained her J.D. in 1994.

At Chico State, she serves as a Supervising Attorney at the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC), and in spring 2019, she will become director of the Moot Court program, upon the retirement of its founding professor, Dane Cameron.

Angela Gapa
gapa posting with booksDr. Angela Gapa is an assistant professor of International Relations. She received her Ph.D. in International Relations from Florida International University. Her research straddles both fields of International Relations and Comparative Politics. Her scholarly work focuses broadly on the nexus between resources and politics, and more specifically, on the sources of political and economic variation among resource rich developing countries. Her current research delves into the geopolitics of Botswana diamonds and the rise of resource nationalism in southern Africa. Prior to joining Chico State, Dr. Gapa has taught government courses at St Lawrence University and Providence College. She currently teaches the Politics of Developing Nations, Introduction to Comparative Politics, Politics of Africa, Comparative Political Institutions, War and Conflict and a Graduate seminar in International Security. She is an avid supporter of Chelsea Football Club and loves to listen to New Age music. Her favorite music artist is Salif Keita.

Gwenola Ricordeau
ricordea posting with books

Gwen is a native of France where she earned her Ph.D. in social sciences from Université Paris-IV Sorbonne in 2005. Her thesis focused on relatives of prisoners in France and it was later published (in French) as a book, Les detenus et leurs proches(Autrement, 2008). During her postdoctoral years, she researched on gender identities and sexuality in French prisons. In 2008, she moved to the Philippines, taught for a year at the University of Santo Tomas (Manila) and began research on marriage migration and gender and race stereotypes. This research has recently resulted in a coedited volume with Asuncion Fresnoza-Flot (International Marriages and Marital Citizenship: Southeast Asian Women on the Move, Routledge, 2017). From 2009, Gwen was an associate professor at the University of Lille 1 (France) until she began her position as an assistant professor at Chico State on Fall 2017. Her present research interest is the intersection of popular culture and the “culture of punishment” through various case studies. The U.S. is a unique site for such research and Gwen is already conducting exploratory research on police museums and the bi-annual rodeo of the Angola prison (Louisiana).

Gwen has developed a strong international orientation through her teaching and research activities abroad. She was actually a visiting professor at the Department of Women and Development Studies, University of the Philippines in 2011 and a Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of Hawaii in 2014. Gwen also values service to the community and has regularly devoted time to associations that serve prisoners’ relatives and prisoners.

Gwen is also an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make her students excited about their learning and to inspire them to become critical thinkers (and share her taste for documentaries!).

Nicole Sherman
Nicole ShermanNicole Sherman graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2017, earning her Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society. Her dissertation research constitutes a three-year ethnographic study of Veterans Treatment Courts and the role of specialty courts in the criminal justice system. She also earned a M.A. in Social Ecology.

Nicole’s research examines how identities are constructed and utilized during people’s interactions with the criminal justice system. Her research examines how pro-social labeling and reaffirmation of positive identities, when coupled with other socio-legal constructs such as legitimacy and therapeutic jurisprudence, may facilitate desistance from a criminogenic lifestyle. She has also worked on a multi-method project on the underground gun market in Los Angeles, focusing on offender perceptions of gun laws, community safety, and firearm acquisition. She has publications in Criminal Justice and BehaviorRace and Justice, Injury Prevention, and The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences.

Nicole is excited to contribute to Chico’s community by continuing research on areas of the criminal justice system that focus on public impact. She also looks forward to engaging students in the wide variety of possibilities within political science and criminal justice.

Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith

Sarah M. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice. She has a Ph.D. in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of California, Irvine. Originally from the east coast, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from the George Washington University, working for a research corporation between her degrees.

Much of her research investigates how criminological theory is embodied in criminal justice practices. She focuses on gender, race, and crime; corrections and alternative approaches to justice, such as restorative justice; and criminological theory, specifically justice theory. Her Master of Arts thesis involved primarily non-participant observation of a restorative justice program in Manassas, Virginia and her dissertation is a study of imprisoned women’s perceptions of justice regarding their interactions with criminal justice processes. This larger project focused specifically on the internal prison grievance system, the legal avenue prisoners must use to contest their conditions of confinement. Inmates must be denied at all levels of the prison system before bringing a case to court.

Professor Smith has experience teaching a wide range of courses, including corrections, gender and crime, criminology, methods, deviance, and policing. At California State University, Chico, she currently teaches Justice Theory and Administration, Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice, and Juvenile Justice Process regularly. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and traveling, preferring the most scenic or unusual routes.

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at California State University, Chico.

With over 1,000 total majors, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: U.S. politics, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

In This Issue

Current Issue

Archived Issues