Dr. Aaron Arnold - Criminal Justice and Sociology

 

Working as an intelligence analyst for the FBI, Criminal Justice and Sociology Professor, Dr. Aaron Arnold, focused on nuclear proliferation financing, which is the buying and selling of materials that have legitimate applications, like in hospitals, as well as illegitimate uses, such as in nuclear weapons programs.

"I was following the money, tracking people around the world based off their transactions and the different methods they were using to hide their activities," recalls Dr. Arnold. "We did that effectively and used it as evidence to put people in jail, and some of the work I did led to sanctions against Iran. It was pretty interesting stuff."

His first job after college was with the Department of Defense Treaty Compliance Office, where he was responsible for analyzing Russia's compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). At the Department of Defense, Dr. Arnold learned the importance of context and critical thinking about tough, multi-dimensional problems.

"I believe what's really important and the real purpose of any general education is the ability to think critically about the world and what's around you," said Dr. Arnold.

There is a lot to think critically about in the world today, with global issues such as the future of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, and the connections between the two, being some of the most difficult to traverse. Beyond his teaching at Curry, Dr. Arnold is an associate with the Project on Managing the Atom (MTA), a policy-oriented research group based in Cambridge, Mass., that studies nuclear security and non-proliferation.

"My work with the project focuses on counter-proliferation, more specifically on Iran. I've been doing research on sanctions, the effect of sanctions, and the consequences for the Iran deal."

"We've produced reports for the U.S. Congress and White House administration officials that have informed their decisions on nuclear non-proliferation."

Though Dr. Arnold is a newcomer to teaching in higher education, he is no stranger to gathering and sharing information that can have real-world implications. Dr. Arnold's work as an academic-practitioner is a big advantage to his students in the classroom who learn more than just theory, but lessons also based on real world experiences.

Dr. Arnold began teaching criminal law and introduction to criminal justice courses at Curry College in the spring of 2014. "I find the discussions and working with the students here more meaningful, because of the small class sizes. I know why I have fallen in love with teaching at Curry - it's the close interaction we get with our students."

"At Curry, a professor is able to be innovative about what they teach. That's unique; you don't find that everywhere. So, it's a great place to be."

Recently, several Criminal Justice/Sociology faculty members offered unique courses that take a more global perspective, such as Transnational Crime & Corruption and Environmental Crime. Dr. Arnold's course on transnational crime and corruption examined how global governance gaps contribute to the spread of crime, and what this means for U.S. national security. The course covered hot button issues, like human trafficking, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, narcotics production and trafficking, intellectual property theft, and the illegal trade in wildlife.

For Dr. Arnold and the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, learning is not just a spectator sport- "We expect our students to become engaged in the community, whether through internships or other types of civic engagements.

One such recent internship was a clerkship with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court - the oldest appellate court in continuous existence in the Western Hemisphere. The student helped devise case management strategies, reviewed cases with broad implications, court dockets, and conducted legal research for a range of criminal cases, including violations of drug laws (trafficking) and conspiracy.

Taking stock of these past opportunities, Dr. Arnold looks ahead to the future.

"You cannot just think locally anymore; you have to think globally. That is just one of the many ways we prepare our students for the future."

 
 
 
 

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