Criminology graduate Nicole Raschella planned to celebrate getting her BA with a holiday in Cancun, Mexico. That, obviously, is not going to happen. Instead, she’ll settle for a celebratory dinner in Vancouver with family and a few friends.


Nicole Raschella graduates into a new phase

October 21, 2020

By Adhil Naidu

While most of the world stays inside, Nicole Raschella has emerged into new possibilities for the outside world. Recently graduated with a BA in criminology, Raschella reflects on her time at SFU with a widened perspective and great hope for the future. 

Her enthusiasm for impactful criminal justice research was amplified when 2020 Sterling Prize Winner Tamara Starblanket paid an in-class visit. Raschella had written a critical book review of Starblanket’s Suffer the Little Children and took advantage of the opportunity to discuss the book with the author. This unique experience encouraged Raschella to consider crimes that took place beyond the scope of her initial interest in elements of criminology such as forensics, law and policing. 

Her curiosity about the criminal justice system was further piqued by her time in Dr. Charmaine Perkins’ course on state-sponsored crime. “This class really challenged my critical thinking skills by opening my eyes to global crimes, such as the Rwandan genocide, as well as Indigenous genocide in Canada,” she says.

“Understanding the political motivations behind such crimes increased my drive to conduct more research – I knew I wanted to be a part of this work in the future,” she explains.

Volunteering for the Criminology Student Association as the representative for the Society of Arts and Social Sciences, Raschella eased into organizing events that would replicate the passion she felt in her classes. The most notable event that she organized was a Brooklyn 99 themed murder mystery night where volunteers dressed up as characters from the series. Encouraging active student participation amongst her peers also led to Raschella becoming more involved in her local community, where she currently serves as a residential support worker at the Elizabeth Fry Society. 

Getting involved with both the SFU community and the broader community beyond provided Raschella with a varied and memorable undergraduate experience that she might not have received anywhere else. “Working at a halfway house has inspired me to explore other programs, including addiction treatment centres and various shelters,” she says.

“The key to my success at SFU has been staying organized, so I know that I can manage my workloads without getting overwhelmed no matter what kind of work I am doing, or where,” Raschella says.

Graduation may not mark the end of Raschella’s time at SFU as she hopes to pursue an MA in criminology at SFU. Despite not being in Mexico during her graduation celebration as she originally planned, Raschella is planning on having a celebratory dinner with family and friends in Vancouver while making plans for her future. 


Learn more about School of Criminology's Master of Arts in Criminology — one of the world’s leading criminology and criminal justice teaching centres