Megan Lawrence, a junior at Central Michigan University, is an exceptional student and leader in her community. Her involvements showcase her dedication to socially equitable justice system reform. She has served as a research assistant studying interrogation techniques in the hope of illustrating how coercive tactics often contract false confessions. She created an organization advocating for prison reform. She has brought speakers to campus and hosted informational opportunities and simulations to educate her peers about disparity among differing socioeconomic groups. She currently assists with researching juvenile forensic interviewing, bringing in young children to recall an event that they have done in the months prior. She is investigating public perception of exonerees based on their reason for conviction and plea decision as part of her faculty-supervised capstone project.
"Through my time at Central Michigan University, I have developed a passion for prison reform and giving a voice to those who are incarcerated. In the fall of 2017, I was a founding member of a prison reform student organization, Student Advocates for Prison Reform and the Incarcerated (SAPRI). SAPRI's mission is to to educate our community on issues related to our justice system through programming and volunteerism. I love helping others discover their passion for volunteering as a coordinator for SAPRI and a site leader in the CMU Alternative Breaks Program. From an academic standpoint, I have had the privilege of serving as an undergraduate assistant for two psychological research labs that study coercive interrogation tactics and juvenile forensic interviewing, as well as develop my own research on the public perception of exonerees. Our research team hopes to improve interrogation and interviewing practices within the legal system. After graduation, I plan to continue my involvement with this issue as a criminal defense lawyer. I have been incredibly blessed with a strong and passionate support system of faculty and peers who have helped me discover my inclination to help those in our justice system."