Nicole McKenna

Nicole Cheri McKenna

Professional Summary

Nicole McKenna is a doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati in the School of Criminal Justice. Her research focuses on girls in the juvenile legal system, experiences of trauma and victimization, and trauma-informed interventions. She adopts a social justice lens, as well as a feminist and trauma-informed perspective in her research. To date, she has published 8 peer-reviewed articles and obtained nearly $10,000 in grant funding to support her research on trauma-informed care in youth detention facilities. Her work has been featured in the American Journal of Community Psychology, Criminal Justice and Behavior, and Feminist Criminology.


M.S. : Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ , 2019 (Criminology & Criminal Justice)

Research and Practice Interests

Juvenile legal system
Gender, girls in the system, gender-responsive programing 
Trauma and victimization 
Trauma-informed care 

Research Support

2021 Association of Doctoral Programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice 2021 Fall Student Research Award for Professional Development $750 Type:Grant

2021 University of Cincinnati School of Criminal Justice 2021 Doctoral Research Grant $2,500

2020 Society for Community Research & Action 2020 Public Policy Mini-Grant Award $2,500

2020 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology 2020 Student Research Grant Award $2,500

2020 College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, University of Cincinnati 2020 Faculty and Graduate Student Research Mentoring Award $1,000


Peer Reviewed Publications

Pusch, N., Holtfreter, K., McKenna, N. C., & Fine, A.D. (2021. ) Perceptions of legal authorities in a longitudinal study of adjudicated youth. Journal of Youth & Adolescence. , ,

Anderson, V. R., Rubino, L. L., McKenna, N. C., Campbell, C. A., Petkus, A. A., & Barnes-Lee, A. R. (2021. ) (In)Effectiveness of In-Home Detention Tethers to Reduce Recidivism for System-Involved Girls. .Justice Evaluation Journal. , ,

McKenna, N. C. & Anderson, V. R (2021. ) Diminishing returns? Threshold effects of dispositions and recidivism among court-involved girls. .Criminal Justice & Behavior. , ,

Rubino, L. L., Anderson, V. R., & McKenna, N. C. (2021. ) Examining the disconnect in youth pathways and the court responses: How bias invades across marginalized identities. .Feminist Criminology, ,

Anderson, V. R., Rubino, L., & McKenna, N. C. (2020. ) Family-based intervention for justice-involved girls: a mixed methods evaluation. .American Journal of Community Psychology, ,

McKenna, N. C. & Holtfreter, K. (2020. ) Trauma-informed courts: A review and integration of justice perspectives and gender responsiveness. .Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, ,

McKenna, Nicole C., Golladay, K. A., & Holtfreter, K (2020. ) Integrating general strain theory and trauma-informed principles into the study of older adult victimization. Journal of Trauma & Disassociation, ,

Honors and Awards

2021 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Section Student Paper Award Just leave girls alone: Threshold effects of dispositions and recidivism among court-involved girls.