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Orange is the New Black Inspires Student’s Award-Winning Paper


June 2, 2015 – Liz Maher wasn’t really a fan of the hit TV series, Orange is the New Black, but she was fascinated by the unusual plot for the show and turned that interest into an award-winning research paper.

Maher is a criminal justice student at UC Blue Ash College who was a sophomore when the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA) recently honored her with the award for Outstanding Research Paper – Undergraduate Division.  She beat out nearly 20 other competitors, mostly college seniors representing universities from across the Midwest.

“No one in the organization could ever remember anyone as young as Liz winning this award. It typically goes to a senior who has spent several months on their thesis,” said Todd Callais, a criminal justice and sociology professor at UC Blue Ash and Maher’s faculty sponsor. “The judges commented about her theories and raved about the paper.”

Orange is the New Black is a popular series on Netflix that is based on the true story of a woman from the suburbs who was sentenced to 15 months in prison after being convicted for a decade-old crime of transporting money for a drug dealer.  It focuses almost exclusively on life behind bars in a female prison.

About UC Blue Ash College

UC Blue Ash College is a regional college within the University of Cincinnati. It offers one of the best values in higher education with access to a nationally recognized UC education in nearly 50 degrees and certificates, as well as tuition that is about half of most colleges and universities. The college is located on a scenic 135-acre wooded campus in the heart of Blue Ash, Ohio.

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