Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

John Chan Lam Social Science

Breaking Down Barriers: An Exploration of Leadership Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals in the Nonprofit Sector

Scholars Journal

Chan's research focuses on the obstacles that prevent formerly incarcerated individuals from achieving leadership positions in criminal justice reform nonprofits. While previous research highlights the significance of having previously incarcerated individuals lead reform efforts, little is known about how to develop leadership skills or address bias, lack of mentorship, and limited opportunities. Chan aims to investigate institutional barriers and explore whether certain leadership traits can be cultivated in individuals before or after release from prison. He plans to conduct qualitative interviews with formerly incarcerated leaders, hiring managers, and workforce development experts from non-profits in California. His research aims to provide recommendations for promoting opportunities and facilitating the advancement of formerly incarcerated individuals into leadership roles, as well as to lay the groundwork for a future toolkit for organizations and individuals to use.
Major: Political Science
Mentor: Amy Lerman, Public Policy
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