Cole Ward is from Browns Valley, Minnesota and is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe. He is a second semester doctoral student in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Before arriving at Florida State, Cole completed his undergraduate degree in criminal justice studies and masters program in sociology at the University of North Dakota. Afterwards, he spent three years at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences working with American Indian and Alaska Native elders in order to analyze their health and social needs. During this time, he had the opportunity to work with hundreds of Native communities and further develop his research skills.
Cole is attending Florida State through the McNair Scholars Fellowship, which is awarded through the Graduate School. This fellowship allows him to focus on his classes and engage with other fellowship recipients by participating in the Fellows Society. The fellowship also provides him the opportunity to build his research agenda while being guided by experts in the criminology and criminal justice community. His current research interests include the issues around incarceration, for example, its effects on family, how invisible punishments create added strain for offenders, and hinders return to living a pro-social life. After receiving the National Institute of Justice Travel Scholarship and listening to tribal law enforcement agents discuss their challenges, he is also interested in how law enforcement agents handle the unique challenges of working with tribal governments.
After completing his doctorate degree, Cole hopes to pursue a tenure track professor position and help bridge the information and research gaps concerning Native communities and the criminal justice system.