Ferrum News

Ferrum College Students Win Awards for Papers on Criminal Justice


For immediate release:
April 27, 2010
Contact: John Carlin, (540) 365-4300



Two Ferrum College students have been recognized by The American Criminal Justice Association for papers submitted to the National Student Paper Competition. Franklin County native Laurie Adams won first place for a paper on the impact of societal change on the moonshine culture in Franklin County, while Cara Jacobs won second place for her paper entitled, Crime: A Bio-psychosocial Model.”

“This was a national competition. It’s rare for a college to have a student win. To win both first and second place means we had two outstanding papers,” said Dr. William N. Osborne, Associate Professor at Ferrum College and Program Coordinator of the Criminal Justice department.

Laurie Adams’ paper, entitled, “Anomie In Action: How Durkheim’s Theories Have Played Out in the History of the Moonshine Culture in Franklin County,” examined how the influx of people into Franklin County has slowly changed the social structure of the community. Explained Adams, “The early settlers in Franklin County needed a source of income beyond what they could make raising crops in our red clay.” She said that making corn liquor became that source of money and that it was universally accepted by the people who lived in remote sections of the county.

“As time went on, new people moved in and laws changed. Eventually there was no longer this homogeneous population of people who knew moonshine as a way of life, and the culture changed,” she explained. “I was very surprised at how skillfully Laurie was able to apply the anomie theory to the moonshine culture. It was a very creative use of the theory in explaining a local phenomenon,” said Osborne.

Jacobs’ paper dealt with explaining how individual criminal behavior is acquired through an interaction among biological, psychological, and sociological factors. According to Osborne, “Her paper was very well developed and displayed both a breadth and depth of knowledge of how biological and environmental factors help shape criminal behavior.”

The papers were judged at a national Conference in Portland, Oregon. Adams won $150.00, and will have her paper published in the 2010 Edition of the American Criminal Justice Association, LAE Journal, while Jacobs received a check for $100.00.

Adams, who will graduate in May, says she is considering extending her education so she can teach at the college level, while Jacobs, a junior has her sights set on becoming a medical examiner after graduation.


Cara Jacobs