College:College of Sciences
Degree Program:Sociology PhD
Research Focus:Police brutality, family science, and critical race theory
Kristal Johnson is passionate about a variety of subjects, ranging from critical race theory to media tropes and family life. Wanting to explore her interests, she sought a field of study that would allow her to engage with many different disciplines.
As an undergraduate student at UCF, Johnson was able to satisfy her desire to delve into different areas as an Interdisciplinary Studies major. “I liked how my program complemented my goals,” she says. “I met and worked with people from ‘both sides of the house,’ figuratively speaking.”
Johnson also completed her master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at UCF with a graduate certificate in Police Leadership. Through her varied coursework and research, she discovered her love for sociology. “I have had an inclination to sociology, its possibilities, for a long time,” she says. “It truly fascinates me.”
Now Johnson is pursuing her third degree at UCF, a PhD in Sociology. Since beginning the program, her primary area of research has been focused on police brutality, studying police interactions with black men. “I am drawn to it and passionate about it because of its [fundamental] importance,” she says. She has also researched family trends, media perceptions, and tropes of police interactions and how information reaches viewers.
The most significant thing Johnson has learned while conducting research is the value of being seen. “Treat people like people, not as subjects or data points,” she says. Johnson also recognizes the value of patience, noting that good things often take time. “Think of it like a marathon, the run is not for the swift, but for the one that endures,” she says.
Johnson appreciates the enriching experience she has gained at UCF. As a Graduate Assistant, she enjoys working with students and sharing her knowledge of the subject she loves. She also appreciates her cohort and the support she has received from the faculty, thanking them for “making themselves available, having a listening ear, [and] being a voice of reason.”
The first-generation student aims to graduate with her doctoral degree in the Spring of 2024. She credits her family with encouraging her to reach her goals and continue her studies. However, she says that she motivates herself the most. “I think about the journey ahead and that which I am going to accomplish, and that motivates me as well,” she says.
- Working on third degree at UCF
- First generation student
- Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology honor society member
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