Returning to Roanoke

This year, Roanoke College welcomed back a familiar face. Dr. Daisy Ball has joined the Department of Public Affairs as an Assistant Professor and is currently teaching courses in criminal justice and research methods. Prior to her faculty position at Roanoke, Dr. Ball was Assistant Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Criminology Program at Framingham State University in Framingham, Massachusetts.

In 2003, Dr. Ball graduated from Roanoke College with a B.A. in Sociology. She describes her undergraduate experience at Roanoke as “rich”, the great contact with professors and small class sizes proved to be especially valuable in fostering her curiosity and success. It was her professors who made it clear that graduate school was an option and helped to build her academic profile so she would be more eligible for acceptance into a graduate program. Foremost, she mentions Dr. Kristi Hoffman as having had a great influence on her academic experience. From helping to get her into graduate school to offering valuable guidance and advice during her graduate studies, Dr. Hoffman proved to be yet another Roanoke College professor whose efforts to foster student success transcended the classroom and even graduation. Dr. Ball also expressed gratitude towards other members of the Sociology department including Dr. Meeta Mehrotra, Dr. Greg Weiss, and the late Dr. Gilbert Dunn, all of whom contributed to her success at Roanoke.

Dr. Ball went on to graduate school at Virginia Tech, where she got her M.S. and Ph.D. in Sociology. Her research has mainly focused on the relationship between Asian Americans and the criminal justice system. Her forthcoming book, ‘“Model Minority” or “Criminal Threat”? Asian Americans atVirginia Tech following Horrific Crimes’, explores what the campus environment was like for Asian Americans following the Virginia Tech massacre. One inspiration behind her research stems from her experiences growing up in Tokyo. It was during that period of time that she began to understand how it felt to be an outsider in another culture. Those sentiments surrounding her experience followed her into adulthood and are what drew her focus to the culture and experiences of Asian Americans.

Dr. Ball offers insight and uses her childhood experiences to help better understand some of the challenges faced by the Asian American community, who are often precieved as different due to their success in academics and other cocurriculars. She highlights that although being different is sometimes seen as a good thing, Asian Americans are still viewed as different. While studying at Tech, Dr. Ball felt the tensions between Asian Americans and the rest of the community. She decided that she wanted to analyze racial epithets through desktop graffiti, discovering that the messages inscribed were more directed towards the persecution of Asian Americans than other minority groups. Dr. Ball examines society’s perception of Asian Americans following the Virginia Tech massacre, raising the question: Are Asians seen as more deviant than other racial minority groups when they commit criminal acts because we typically associate them with highly conformist behavior? Beyond its important contributions to the study of criminal justice, Dr. Ball hopes her research will humanize the experience of marginalized groups in our society and in the criminal justice system. Her research on the shooting provides insight into the crime and tells the story from several vantage points. She looks into how the crime unfolded and how members of the perpetrator’s group have been painted in the aftermath.

Dr. Ball’s commitment to her roles as a professor, researcher, and mother is nothing less than admirable and her success in these roles shows for her level of hard work and passion. She is grateful to have been offered a tenure track and the chance to establish herself in a lasting position at the college.

I’m excited to see what the future holds with the addition of Dr. Ball to the department’s already outstanding group of faculty members. I believe I speak for many when I say,

Welcome Back, Dr. Ball.