LATROBE, PA – Dr. Sarah E. Daly, assistant professor of criminology, law and society, was awarded the 2021 Quentin Schaut Faculty Award at Saint Vincent College’s spring Honors Convocation, recorded May 5 in the historic Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica.
Named in honor of Fr. Quentin Schaut, O.S.B., an English professor and the seventh president of Saint Vincent College, the award recognizes the contributions, leadership and achievements of a junior faculty member to the curriculum and life of the College.
Daly joined the Saint Vincent College faculty in 2016 and teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government. She is a highly-regarded expert in the areas of mass violence, gang violence, youth/school violence, online communities, victimology and crisis management and intervention.
In addition to her teaching work, Daly is the author of “Everyday School Violence: An Educator’s Guide to Safer Schools,” published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and editor of “Assessing and Averting the Prevalence of Mass Violence (IGI Global, 2018)” and “Theories of Crime Through Pop Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).” She has also contributed articles and chapters to more than a dozen criminological books and publications and has moderated and presented on panels at various criminological conferences, seminars and events across the U.S. and in South Africa.
“Dr. Daly’s research, and many of her classes, examine violent crimes,” said Dr. John J. Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. “She has published books, book chapters and journal articles on gang violence, mass shootings and, most recently, the subculture of incels. Despite the difficult subject matter, her wonderful sense of humor and dedication to encouraging students survives. Inside and outside of the classroom, Dr. Daly serves Saint Vincent students tirelessly as a champion for justice and equality.”
Daly is a 2005 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. After originally pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she changed her major to Spanish, with a secondary education concentration, in an effort to avoid having to attend graduate school. Shortly after graduating, she began her career by teaching Spanish, and later serving as a school counselor, in Camden County, New Jersey.
“Coming from a family of educators,” she said, “teaching seemed like a natural path for me. But, after two years teaching at a high school, I began graduate school in my quest to answer the questions I had about the realities I never experienced."
While continuing to teach, and subsequently, counsel, Daly would earn a Master of Science in professional school counseling, with a New Jersey Counselor Standard Certificate, at the University of Pennsylvania; a Master of Arts in criminal justice from Rutgers University-Camden; and a Doctor of Philosophy in criminal justice from Rutgers University-Newark. She also worked as a research assistant and got her first taste of teaching in higher education as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers’ Camden and Newark campuses.
“I spent 10 continuous years in grad school at three different universities for three different degrees while I taught Spanish and counseled,” she recalled. “So now, 15 years after changing my major and my attitude about graduate school, I am a researcher and an advocate, a doctor and a person with quite a lot of student debt. But I’m still an educator and a person who seeks answers. That passion for teaching has only grown with each new job title.”
At Saint Vincent College, Daly teaches a wide range of courses including Gender and Crime, School Violence: Origins and Strategies, The Criminology of Race, Culture and Crime, Quantitative Research Methods, The Etiology of Mass Violence and Urban Street Gang Prosecution. Her students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, have universal praise for her knowledge, teaching ability and knack for continually engaging them in subject matter than can often be difficult to discuss.
“Her students provide a window into her classroom and her style,” said Smetanka. “The word ‘amazing’ is most often used. One student remarked, ‘in her class, no question is a dumb question. Everyone has valid questions.’ A student in Quantitative Research Methods said that ‘everyone needs to take this course so that they can write exceptional capstone papers,’ while a student in Dr. Daly’s course on urban gangs shared that ‘this course was interesting and engaging. It honestly changed my whole perspective on gangs and causes of gang violence.’”
Daly spoke glowingly of her colleagues in the Criminology, Law and Society Department, including department chair Bruce Antkowiak, J.D., fellow professors Dr. Eric Kocian and Dr. Kayla Jachimowski and administrative assistant Sandy Frye, calling them “the college’s coolest department,” while she also expressed her gratitude to the faculty and administrators across the campus for their support over the past five years.
“The staff, faculty and administrators here, many of whom I now call friends, are role models, inspiration and a source of sanity for me, which we all need,” she said.
She is most appreciative of the support of her students, past and present. Thanks to her influence, countless have gone on to further their education in criminology and pursue careers in the field, and for that, she is both grateful and hopeful.
“The students are the reason to do the work,” she said. “Their resilience and dedication, even during the pandemic, gave me hope for the future, and still does, even when my research tells me things are pretty terrible.
“I appreciate this award because I do strive to help students understand both the power and privilege of education and I recognize that with this honor comes great responsibility. At the end of most classes, I challenge my students with two words. I say, ‘now what?’ After a few minutes of frustrated sighs and blank stares, the students get to work using research and knowledge to plan change for a better future.”
PHOTO 1: Dr. Sarah Daly offers remarks after being presented the Quentin Schaut Faculty Award at the 2021 Spring Honors Convocation.
PHOTO 2: Dr. Sarah Daly (left) is congratulated by Saint Vincent College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., upon being named the winner of the Quentin Schaut Faculty Award.