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Meet Dr. Crystal Francis

Driven by a passion for criminal justice reform.

PhD in Public Policy and Administration
Senior Public Policy Expert

From observer of injustice to policy reformer.

Dr. Crystal Francis found her purpose in the courtrooms of Baltimore. As an undergrad, she knew the statistics but wanted to experience the court system firsthand. What she saw there was a turning point. “My mouth literally dropped open seeing how people can commit the same crime and be sentenced completely differently only because of the color of their skin,” she says. She pursued a law degree but soon realized through an internship that she would spend more time going through stacks of paperwork than defending clients in the courtroom. She wanted something more and getting there meant pursuing a PhD.

“I pursued this degree because my community needs me to find answers.”
—Dr. Crystal Francis

Where purpose meets flexibility.

“I was working full time from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and looking at being in a classroom from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. … I couldn’t do that,” Dr. Francis recalls. She decided not only to seek out a fully online PhD program but also to find an institution dedicated to social change. She found it in Walden. “Walden’s dedication to social change drew me in, but what was even more amazing was that as a student we would literally focus on how to advance social change in policy,” she says.

The power to be bold.

Today, a PhD emboldens her pursuit of justice. “Walden has helped me build confidence—and often, as one of the youngest people in the room, I know my PhD will establish trust with others who will see me as a leader and a visionary who wants to make a difference,” she says. The city of Baltimore now benefits from the greatness within Dr. Francis.