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Student Spotlight: Taea Bonner

Young black woman and white man with academic research poster

Taea Bonner (’19 criminal justice studies and sociology) was co-winner of the “Most Recognized Poster” at the McNair Conference on April 16, 2019.

Bonner recently received the Dean’s High-Impact Research Award for her research focused on adverse childhood experiences and serious delinquency with Matt DeLisi, professor of sociology. The research examines the association between adverse childhood experiences, chaotic homes and serious or violent delinquency, and how the associations vary by race and ethnicity.

Bonner, who has made the most of her education as a McNair scholar and highly involved student, has learned a lot from her undergraduate research experience.

“This experience has taught me discipline when it comes to writing, as well as given me experience on what professional research looks like. I didn’t know anything about an editing and publishing process for research before this project. This experience has prepared me a little bit more for graduate school. I know what to expect,” Bonner said.

She would not have been able to make the most of her experience if not for mentors in the Department of Sociology like DeLisi.

“Dr. DeLisi knows how to get his students interacting and excited to learn, simply because he is excited to learn. He is very understanding and patient,” said Bonner. “He also provides students with many opportunities, no matter their background.”

Though she has had a very successful undergraduate research career, Bonner has also kept busy in many other ways: working 20 to 40 hours a week, being a part of six student organization, being a mentor, a Cyclone Aide and held six executive positions.

“The advice that I would give to incoming students is to learn to manage your time as soon as possible,” explained Bonner. “This is hard work and it may seem easy the first semester, but things pile on quickly when you jump into every opportunity.”

Following her graduation, Bonner will continue on to pursue her Ph.D. in sociology. She has a goal of working with law enforcement agencies to train staff on human sex trafficking cases.