Mason Lab Members

Chelsea Foudray is a fourth year Criminology, Law and Society doctoral student at George Mason University and a graduate research assistant at the EJS Lab. Having moved to the United States from the Netherlands, she attended the University of Mount Olive in NC for her BS Criminal Justice & Criminology and BA Psychology, where she received the Edwin Sutherland Criminal Justice Award from her department. Within the EJS Lab, her research is focused on pretrial interventions and validations. She has been working closely with Dr. Evan Lowder to validate the implementation of the Indiana Risk Assessment System – Pretrial Assessment Tool (IRAS-PAT) in several jurisdictions. Additionally, her research within the EJS lab has focused on other interventions aimed at redirecting individuals’ early release from the criminal-legal system. Outside of the EJS lab, her research focuses on individuals housed within the U.S. correctional system, as well as broader correctional policies and organizations. When not working on her research or degree, Chelsea enjoys spending time with her wife and dog, traveling, reading books, and drinking coffee.  

Chelsea Foudray 

Zainab (Zain) is a Sierra Leonean-American first-year doctoral student in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University. She was born in Germany and grew up in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. She serves as a part-time Graduate Research Assistant in the EJS Lab with Dr. Lowder where she researches pretrial risk assessments, prosecutorial decision-making, and individuals’ experiences during pretrial processing. She earned her Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution where she worked as a Research Assistant examining police officer training curriculum to improve officer responses to crisis situations to implement reform and accountability for the West Hartford Police. Zainab has nearly a decade of experience providing mental health services to juvenile and adult clients with a history of trauma and substance use disorders in community, hospital, and school settings. Her research interests are biopsychosocial criminology, pretrial risk assessments, corrections, criminal processing, racial disparities, reentry, policing, and wrongful convictions.  

Zainab Bakarr Kamara 

Autumn Reilly Kent is a junior in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and an undergraduate researcher at the Early Justice Strategies Lab under the supervision of Dr. Lowder. Her research focuses on pretrial risk, court processes, evidence, jury decision-making, and justice-involved youth. Currently, she is investigating the weight of pretrial risk assessment matrices across 36 different counties in Indiana. Beyond her academic and research endeavors, Autumn enjoys reading mystery books and spending time with her dogs, Sherlock and Macky. 

Autumn Kent 

Madeline (Maddie) McPherson is a fourth-year doctoral student in Criminology, Law & Society at George Mason University. She works part-time in the EJS Lab working on projects related to the nexus of justice involvement and behavioral health. Maddie also assists with report and article preparation. Prior to attending Mason, Maddie worked in public policy and legislative affairs for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Her research interests relate to criminal justice administration and crime policy in corrections and reentry. Originally from Hershey, Pennsylvania, Maddie is a dedicated bibliophile and proud cat mom. 

Madeline McPherson 

Ashley E. Rodriguez is an undergraduate at George Mason University. She is majoring in Criminology, Law and Society and minoring in Data Analysis. Her research interests focus on pretrial decision-making, pretrial decision outcomes and disparities in the criminal justice system. In the EJS Lab, she assists with pretrial risk assessment validations and projects on systemic racism in the criminal justice system, pretrial sanctions and incentives, judicial adherence to bail schedules, and racial disparities in pretrial supervision. Outside of the EJS Lab, Ashley participated in a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of South Carolina where she studied disparities in virtual bond hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Ashley is assisting doctoral candidate Lina Marmolejo with her dissertation of pretrial practices in five Caribbean countries. Ashley hopes to enroll in a criminology doctoral program for the Fall 2022 semester. 

Ashley Rodriguez 


Hrishi is pursuing his master’s degree in Computer Science at George Mason University. His work in the EJS lab focuses on designing and engineering scripts in the R programming language. This work has most recently been applied to pretrial risk assessment validations. Prior to his involvement in the EJS lab, he worked as a Software Engineer in the field of Web Technologies and Machine Learning. His research interests mainly include Machine Learning and Deep Learning, and Hrishi is aiming for a career as a Machine Learning Engineer. In his spare time, he enjoys playing badminton, sketching, and watching Sci-Fi movies. His favorite movie franchise is Marvel.  

Hrishikesh Vibhute 

Weiyu Zhou is a 4th year doctoral student in the Statistical Science program at George Mason University, focusing on developing innovative statistical methods for spatial analyses. Currently, he works on an evaluation of the Striving to Achieve Recovery Commencement (STAR) 360 program, which operates under the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and provides medication assisted treatment (MAT) and reentry support to individuals in the Adult Detention Center who screen positive for opioid use and other substance use disorders. This study involves conducting a retrospective evaluation of the STAR 360 program on fatal overdose and other community outcomes. He has two cats, and he likes dancing. 

Weiyu Zhou 

Affiliate Lab Members

Carmen L. Diaz, M.S., is a doctoral student, associate instructor, and research assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice at Indiana University. She earned a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Public Safety from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. As an affiliate member of the EJS Lab, Carmen has collaborated on research investigating the effects of pretrial risk assessments in practice. Broadly, her research interests include issues related to race, ethnicity, and class in the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on pretrial and prosecutorial decision making. Outside of the EJS lab Carmen works with the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney (Indiana) to examine racial and ethnic disparities in prosecutorial decision-making. Her recent work has appeared in the Journal of Criminal Justice.

Carmen Diaz 

Spencer G. Lawson, M.S., is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University (MSU) and an affiliate member of the EJS Lab. He received a Master of Science in criminal justice and public safety from the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Spencer’s research considers the practical implications for managing and preventing behavioral health conditions among adults with criminal-legal involvement, with attention also placed on the safety and wellness of criminal-legal professionals. More recently, his research agenda has been driven by questions surrounding stress and suicide within criminal-legal systems. The second sphere of Spencer’s research revolves around fairness in criminal-legal systems. Spencer has collaborated with the EJS Lab to produce county-level validations of the Indiana Risk Assessment-Pretrial Assessment Tool (IRAS-PAT) implemented in practice and examined predictive bias of IRAS-PAT assessments by race. His recent work has appeared in Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Criminology & Public Policy, and Police Quarterly. In his research, he has used sophisticated quantitative strategies (e.g., meta-analysis, propensity score analysis, and multi-level modeling) and qualitative approaches (e.g., narrative inquiry and constant comparative analysis). 

Spencer Lawson