Honors College Senior Completes Honors Thesis Regarding Mental Health and Criminal Justice System

Ryan Moranelli Finds Passion for Forensic Psychology During Tenure in Kent State Honors College

Ryan Moranelli pictured with fellow Honors College students at orientation in August of 2017.
Ryan Moranelli is an upcoming spring 2021 graduate of the Kent State Honors College. He is also a member of the 2020 induction class of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society, founded in 1776.

Moranelli is a political science major with minors in pre-law and psychology. Kent State was always Moranelli’s first choice for his undergraduate education. It was the first school he visited and he stated he never looked back from there.

Moranelli chose to apply to the Kent State Honors College because he felt it would both challenge and help him academically. He graduated from a high school where he was not as challenged and wanted a more rigorous college education.

The additional benefits associated with the Honors College, such as priority scheduling, are what Moranelli recognizes as the biggest benefits of being an honors student. He is also grateful for his honors advisors, Lauren Huffman and Kaylene Trimmer, whom he has worked with over the course of his collegiate career. “My honors advisors were great, they helped me put the course of my studies on track,” Moranelli said.

Moranelli completed a Senior Honors Thesis focusing on the collaboration of mental health and social services in the criminal justice system. He spent time interviewing members of the local government in Pittsburgh while working on this project. His advisor for the thesis was Julie Mazzei, who he connected with after emailing many professors within the department asking for recommendations.

The thesis project has been the best part of Moranelli’s experience in the Honors College. He believes this project will be a good stepping stone in moving into the future of his career. He credits this project with helping him develop a better understanding of deep academic research.

Moranelli’s favorite class at Kent State was his forensic psychology course. “This is what pushed me toward studying psychology and that is what I want to do as a career in the future,” Moranelli said. He stated that he developed a deep passion and understanding for this subject in which he was initially unfamiliar with.

Moranelli acknowledged Dr. Joshua Stackard as the professor who stood out to him the most during his time at Kent State. “The way he structures his class provides a structure of learning that is unique,” Moranelli said.

Following graduation, Moranelli will be taking a gap year and will begin looking for a job in the criminal justice system in either Akron, Cleveland, or Kent. He will then be applying to graduate programs in order to pursue his doctorate in psychology.

Moranelli hopes to one day become a practicing forensic psychologist. He said he would love to work for the FBI because he believes that is the pinnacle of working as a forensic psychologist.

Coming in as a sports administration major, Moranelli credits the Honors College with helping him figure out what he wanted to do. He said the staff was very helpful in honing in on what courses and material he needed to study to get to this point.

Moranelli serves as president of Magic the Gathering, a student organization on campus, and also worked as a lab technician in the biology lab. In his free time, Moranelli likes to spend time with his friends and family.

“If you put in the effort, even if it’s not the best outcome, if you keep putting in the effort and trying, you’ll be successful,” Moranelli said regarding his advice to fellow undergraduate students. He believes effort is key in any position in life.


PHOTO CAPTION 1: Ryan Moranelli, Kent State Honors College graduating senior.

PHOTO CAPTION2: Ryan Moranelli pictured with fellow Honors College students at orientation in August of 2017.

Media Contact: Stephanie Moskal, smoskal@kent.edu, 330-672-2312

POSTED: Monday, May 3, 2021 01:54 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 02:53 PM
Alex Jones, Kent State Honors College intern