Jacob Rybak, a member of the Etowah High Class of 2012, is wrapping up his senior year at Kennesaw State University by presenting to prestigious research conferences around the United States and was a featured speaker for one of them.
Rybak and his professor, Susan Hardy, have worked several months on research on reforming the prison system in the United States, and reducing the number of former inmates who relapse and return to jail. He has given presentations online for seven conferences, including Harvard, Virginia Tech and Stanford, where he was a plenary speaker.
His research project involved analyzing statistics from the Iowa Department of Corrections that showed the number of former inmates who returned to prison and why. Rybak’s proposal includes emphasizing rehabilitation within the prison system by offering more educational opportunities and addressing hostile environments and psychological needs of inmates.
Rybak is earning a double major in economics and finance with a minor in applied statistics and analytics. After graduation, he wants to work in a field that engages economics, finance and data analytics. He also hopes to continue the community activism and awareness that began with his research, and possibly start a nonprofit to offer education, scholarships and workforce training as inmates transition back into society.