Samantha O'Hara

Assistant Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice

Phone Number:
Office Location:
Wallace Hall 301
Office Hours:
Fall 2016:
Mondays 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., prior to night class.

Tuesdays: 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Other times and days by appointment

Ph.D. Criminal Justice, 2006, University of Nebraska at Omaha
M.A. Sociology, 1996, University of Northern Iowa
B.A. Criminology, 1994, University of Northern Iowa

Hello! I joined the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Simpson College in August 2013.  I bring with me teaching and research interests in domestic violence, courts/sentencing, community-based corrections, law enforcement training, and ethics and leadership in the criminal justice system. Currently, my colleague Denise Leifker and I are working on a national collaboration to conduct a program assessment of Blue Courage, a training curriculum, with the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and other agencies state-wide.

Over the years, I have held a variety of teaching roles.  For example, from 2009 to 2012, I taught at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy as a law enforcement instructor, where I served the basic academy classes in multiple subject areas, provided in-service education across the state, and collaborated on leadership training for command staff. Before this role, usually in addition to full-time work in the criminal justice system, I taught courses at University of Northern Iowa from 1997 to 1998; DMACC from 2008 to 2013; and Simpson College in 2009 and 2012.

My criminal justice practitioner experience includes work as a sworn federal law enforcement officer from 1998 until 2008 with the U.S. Probation Office for the Southern District of Iowa, and positions with the Iowa 2nd Judicial District Department of Correctional Services in 1997 and 1998.

I thoroughly enjoy serving the field as much as I possibly can.  Recent examples include invitation to the Iowa Department of Human Right’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Division’s Institutional Review Board  and steering committee member and presenter with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office’s Crime Victim Assistance Division’s bi-anual Victim Justice Conference.

One of my duties at Simpson College include advising students on possible internship/field experience sites, and leading their academic work during these experiential learning courses.   Because of my practical work experiences in social services and criminal justice, I really enjoy contributing to our student’s success in these internships.  Please contact me via email at, or post a message on Facebook (,  if you are a student looking for some ideas, or an agency looking for outstanding students.

Beginning in August 2016, I will be Director of the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Program here at Simpson.  I have been assisting Dr. Jones this year on many of his projects, so I will be up to speed in August for a smooth transition.  I love working with graduate students in our Ankeny campus just as much as our undergraduate students in Indianola.

I look forward to hearing from you soon – drop me any email or call anytime!

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