Award Winner Living Childhood Dream

Published on May 11, 2017

Anna Reeves was in seventh grade when she first heard about Eastern Kentucky University’s criminal justice program, and began counting down the days until she could apply. Nine years later, it’s safe to say her middle school self would be proud.

Reeves photoReeves, who received a bachelor’s degree in her dream field of criminal justice on May 12 – with an impressive 3.97 overall GPA (4.0 in her major) – was recently named Outstanding Senior for the School of Justice Studies.

Reeves’ passion for criminal justice comes from a long-held desire to help people. She explained that she has always been inspired by “people in this field who want to put others ahead of themselves and are willing to put their own lives at risk to help someone else. I look up to people like that.”

Reeves came to college the same way many do, shy and wanting to get involved, but unsure how. The criminal justice program enabled her to break out of her proverbial shell and begin making a difference.

“I have been given opportunities that I never dreamed of, like facilitating a mentoring program to help ex-offenders reintegrate back into society, going to national conferences, presenting research, and even interning with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.”

Reeves is especially grateful for Dr. James Wells, professor in the School of Justice Studies. “Dr. Wells has helped me bloom since I first became acquainted with him when I joined Alpha Phi Sigma (a national honor society for criminal justice students), especially since he is the one who has introduced me to most of my opportunities.”

Wells gave equal praise to Reeves, citing “her positive, upbeat attitude and her willingness to accept new and challenging responsibilities, in and out of the classroom, without complaint.”

The Clay City native and graduate of Powell County High School also attributed much of her success to the NOVA program, which provides support, advising, and financial help to first-generation college students. Reeves said that NOVA Adviser Sierrah Anderson was “the first to help me get started on my way to success in college.”

In addition to NOVA, Reeves is also involved in six honor societies on campus: Alpha Phi Sigma, Golden Key Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta, Lambda Sigma, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Phi Kappa Phi. During her first year as a national member of Alpha Phi Sigma, she was awarded the V.A. Leonard Scholarship, the highest national award bestowed on an APS member.

Though she earned her bachelor’s degree, Reeves will not be leaving EKU for some time. After spending her summer conducting research with Wells on pregnant and post-partum women addicted to opioids, she will return to Eastern’s criminal justice and criminology graduate program in the fall.

Reeves looks back on her last four years here with fondness, and is sure she will feel the same about the next two. “I am so thankful that I came to EKU because I became someone who I never thought I would become when I was younger.

“It is safe to say that I will miss EKU when I finally have to leave. My friends, family and professors have been my biggest support systems, and I am thankful for the encouragement to keep striving towards bigger and better things.”

-- by Yasmin White, Student Writer, EKU Communications and Brand Management