Current Graduate Students

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Erika Lorenzana Del Villar

M.A., 2013, Sociology, University of Connecticut
M.A., 2006, Politics/International Relations, New York University
B.A., 2002, Political Science, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

Research Interests:

Sociology of Terrorism, Political Sociology, Social Movements, Human Rights and International Law, International Relations

I am largely interested in the sociology of terrorism and political violence, political sociology, and social movements. My research work focuses on the dynamics of terrorist and insurgent groups, and the interplay of these movements with the state and the international system. I am also fascinated by the interplay between international law and human rights within the context of state and global counterterrorism efforts. For my dissertation, I am conducting a mixed methods analysis of the development of the international discourse on terrorism – particularly in relation to stymied efforts to construct a global definition of the phenomenon  – as it has been shaped by states and power at the United Nations.

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Ordoitz Galilea

M.A., 2013, Sociology, The New School for Social Research
B.A., 2009, Sociology, Universidad Publica de Navarra – Pamplona, Spain

Research Interests:

Culture, Human Rights, Social Stratification and Inequality, Public Discourse, Political Sociology, Religion, Race and Ethnicity, Sexuality and Gender.

My research is closely related to the festival of San Fermín that takes place in my hometown of Pamplona, Spain, every summer. More specifically, I study how cultural symbols and meanings are constructed and displayed publicly, as instruments for collectively defining the world around us and the communities of which we are a part. Themes that intersect with meaning-making in my research include human rights; nationalism and group belonging; localism and universalism; religion and faith; and inequality based on class, race and ethnicity, or gender and sexual identity. I defend multidisciplinarity and multi-methodological approaches, but lean towards qualitative methods like ethnography and discourse analysis in my research.

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Bianca Gonzalez-Sobrino

M.S., 2014, Sociology, Mississippi State University
B.A., 2012, Sociology, University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras

Research Interests:

Race and Ethnicity, Racism, Media, Culture

My research broadly examines race and ethnicity, racism, media, culture, and power. My previous research focused on media discourse and the construction of Puerto Ricans as un-belonging citizens, racial diversity in Netflix television series, and dominant racial ideologies and their relationship to film reviews. My current research projects focus on the relationship between racial identity formation and perceived ethnic competition, racial identities of Puerto Ricans, the racialization of college football athletes, and racial/national discourses on Puerto Ricans. I was awarded the Giolas-Harriot Fellowship from the University of Connecticut.

Devon Goss

Devon Goss

M.A., 2014, Sociology, University of Connecticut
M.S., 2012, Psychological and Cultural Studies, Lewis & Clark College
B.A., 2009, Psychology and Philosophy, University of Portland

Research Interests:

Race and Ethnicity, Family, Qualitative Methods, Quantitative Methods

My primary areas of interest are race, racism, and racialized institutions. My research examines (1) the color line, particularly in relation to instances of boundary crossing in typically racialized institutions via an examination of white entrance into race-based organizations; and (2) the impact of racialization in family formation and processes, through an examination of transracial adoption.

Rhys HallRhys Hall

B.A., 2016, Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park

Research Interests:

Race; Gender; Identity Construction and Expression; Social Movements; Media and Narrative Framing; Qualitative Methods

My work centers around the construct of Black Masculinity in the United States. I study ways by which Black Masculinity has been developed, how it can oppress Black Femininity and Non-Heteronormative identities, and analyzing inclusivity and its prevalence in society. My previous work has looked into misrepresentation and underreporting of academic success among Black Boys in American public school systems; and in the future, I will be studying Black Motherhood and whether social institutions attempt to repress or restrict the agency of Black Women.

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Brenna Harvey

M.A., 2013, Sociology, University of Connecticut
B.A., 2010, Sociology and English, University of Connecticut

Research Interests:

Gender, Sexualities, Masculinities, Feminist and Activist Research, Qualitative Methods

My research focuses on the intersections of gender, sexualities, and masculinities. My current work seeks to explore the particular ways that masculinity and masculine power—social, cultural, and physical—are taught and maintained through the process of heterosexual men’s sexual learning and sexual regulation. Through in-depth life history interviews with heterosexual, college-educated white men, this project seeks to document trends in sexual knowledge transmission among structurally advantaged men, including dominant sources of sexual knowledge and the ways these sources, their content, and the emotional sense of the messages they impart affect men’s development as gendered and sexual beings. I am deeply interested in the ways that the processes of teaching and learning power, as well as the sense of power from the perspective of the powerful, are implicated in the maintenance of inequalities.


Caner Hazar

M.A., 2014, Sociology, University of Connecticut
M.A., 2012, Women’s Studies, Istanbul University
B.A., 2008, Istanbul University

Research Interests:

Social Movements, Religion, Sexuality, Gender

My primary research interests are religion, social movements, sexuality and gender in Turkey. I explore them in a relational framework which considers culture, institutions and history simultaneously.


Ruth Marleen Hernandez

M.A., 2013, Sociology, University of Connecticut
M.A., 2011, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Connecticut
B.A., 2008, History and Spanish Literature, University of California, San Diego

Research Interests:

Gender, Immigration, Latina/o Sociology, Feminist and Activist Research

I come to the field of sociology with prior research in the fields of Chicana/o History and Latina/o and Latin American Studies. My primary concentrations are gender, immigration, and Latina/o sociology.  My current research applies a qualitative framework to investigate the intersections of migration and transnational motherhood. In particular, I am investigating the ways women in rural Mexico react to their family members’ migration to the eastern coast of the United States. My dissertation research will look more closely at the ways art and theatre are used as a means to establish transnational ties. In addition to my academic work, I am an activist involved in various community projects that aid temporary and permanent Latina/o migrants in Connecticut.

Carol Ann JacksonCarol Ann Jackson

B.A., 2013, Sociology, Quinnipiac University

Research Interests:

Race, Gender, Urban Education, Qualitative Methods

My primary research interests are race, gender and urban education. More specifically, I am interested in examining processes of racialization, gendering, and social mobility in relation to the social marginalization and criminalization of youth in urban educational settings. My current research investigates the #SayHerName movement and its media coverage in order to examine the discursive construction of black femininity in relation to notions of visibility, civility, and the intersection of racism and patriarchy.

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Cristina KhanCristina Khan

M.A., 2015, Sociology, American University
B.A., 2013, Political Science, American University

Research Interests:

Race/Ethnic/Latino Studies, Sexuality Studies, Qualitative Methods, Body/Embodiment, Feminist & Gender Studies, Ethnography

My research interests lie at the intersection of body/embodiment theory and racialization. My Masters thesis consisted of an eighteen-month ethnography in the New York Tri-state area, foregrounding body and embodiment as a theoretical intervention in the racialization of Latinas. It unveiled how Latinas manage their participation in erotic labor utilizing constructions of Latinidad – particularly embodiment cues that reflect their experiences with racialization.


Koyel Khan

M.A., 2010, Sociology, Jadavpur University, India
B.A., 2008, Sociology, Presidency College, India

Research Interests:

Stratification and Mobility, Poverty, Development

I am mainly interested in development with an inclination towards studying the effectiveness of development projects undertaken by governments. I specifically seek to study if they result in conditions for upward mobility for the targeted groups.

Kristen KirkseyKristen Kirksey

M.P.H., 2012, Public Health – International Health and Development, Tulane University
B.A., 2009, Medicine, Health, and Society, Vanderbilt University

Research Interests:

Social Determinants of Health; Gender; Human Rights

My primary interest is social determinants of health. Specifically, I aim to explore how race, class, and community affect reproductive health outcomes. I will be working in communities here in the United States, as well as in Ethiopia.

oak-leaf-blue - 150 x 158Zachary Kline

B.A., 2015, Sociology, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests:

Theories of the State, Political Economy, Stratification, Political Sociology, Sociological Theory, Economic Sociology, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, Sociology of Education

My research revolves around the relationship between the state and economy. I am particularly fascinated by changes in the state’s project on economic intervention since the Great Recession in regards to stratification outcomes. My current research follows Connecticut’s project to make state government more responsive to business interests and conducive to economic growth.


Joonghyun Kwak

M.A., 2010, Sociology, Sogang University, South Korea
B.A., 2008, British and American Culture and Sociology, Sogang University, South Korea

Research Interests:

Work and Organizations, Stratification and Inequality, Economic Sociology, Quantitative Methods

My current research interests primarily concern the sociology of work and labor markets. I am interested in how companies transmit their view of the ideal worker and how people internalize these views as desirable and worthwhile characteristics of good citizens. I am also interested in political and economic impacts of labor markets and work arrangements on workers in the United States and other countries.

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Oak Leaf BlueAmy Lawton

M.A.S.C., 2015, The Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO
B.A., 2008, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Central Florida

Research Interests:

Religion, social movements, social change


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Emma Lesser

B.A., 2014, Women’s and Gender Studies, Simmons College

Research Interests:

Race and ethnicity, Racism, Jewish Studies

My research interest is race, racism and ethnicity, with a specific focus on racialization. My current work looks at how racialization functions by analyzing the connection between racialization and Jewishness in the United States. By using Jewish identity as a case study, my long-term project as a scholar is to untangle the intricacies of racialization processes as they function not only for Jews, but for other groups in the U.S. as well. My other research has looked at racist ideologies present in media, and racial divides within Jewish communities, and I am currently working on research on racial microaggressions.


Angran Li

B.A., 2012, Administration, Ocean University of China

Research Interests:

Sociology of Education, Political Sociology, Asia and Asian-American Studies, Immigration

I am interested in sociology of education. My current work concentrates on the effects of parental involvement on children’s educational outcomes. I focus on the comparative study of Chinese and American societies in educational processes especially the differences in parental involvement, school context, and neighborhood effects. I am also interested in political sociology, Asia and Asian American studies, and immigration.

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Nikki McGary

M.A., 2010, Sociology, University of Connecticut
M.A., 2006, Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies
B.A., 2003, English and Women’s Studies, University of Connecticut

Research Interests:

Gender, Sexuality, Law and Society

My research focuses on the judicial bypass procedure for mandatory parental involvement laws for pregnant minors in order to assess the complex relationship between pregnant minors and the state.


Greg Mills

M.A., 2012, Sociology, University of South Florida
B.A., 2006, Sociology, Texas A&M University

Research Interests:

Stratification and Inequality, Opportunity Structures, Education, Residential Segregation, Immigration, Quantitative Methods

My academic interests revolve around social stratification, inequality, and mobility, and the institutional contexts that facilitate these processes. Currently, I am working on a project that looks at how patterns of racial and income residential segregation in U.S. urban areas have changed in unique ways in the past decades. Future work will look at how these trends restrict and promote access to economic and educational opportunity structures.

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Selam NegatuSelam Negatu

M.A, 2011, Sociology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
B.A, 2008, Sociology and Social Anthropology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Research Interests:

Women’s Empowerment, Sociology of Education, and Health and Well-Being Studies

My research interest largely focuses on women and development issues. I am currently part of the PIRE project which is aimed at securing water resources in Ethiopia. My primary focus in the project will be on assessing women’s knowledge and experience in the access and utilization of water resources.  


Sheila Pierre

M.A., 2010, Sociology, CSU – Humboldt State University
B.A., 2007, Sociology and History, Emmanuel College

Research Interests:

Education, Educational Inequality, Race, Ethnic, and Nativity Differences in Educational Outcomes, Immigration

My primary field of interest is social stratification with particular focus on racial and ethnic inequality and education. My current work investigates black natives (African Americans) and black immigrants’ relationships to U.S. colleges and universities. My current research investigating immigrant children, the children of immigrants, and native children explores parenting practices, relationships between parents, and educational achievement across ethnicity, class, and immigration status.


Sylvia Pu

B.Ec., 2010, Economics, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics – China

Research Interests:

Culture, Social Theory, Ethnography, China Studies

My primary interest is in young adults in China. I focus on their upward mobility against the backdrop of drastic capitalist transition, on the middle-class project in the making, and on the cultural and historical underpinnings of inequality at large.


Kathleen (Kate) Ragon

B.A., 2013, Sociology, Gettysburg College

Research Interests:

Social Stratification and Inequality, Sociology of Work, Political Economy, Economic Sociology, Gender and Sexuality

Broadly, I am interested in studies of work, particularly low-wage work, and gender. Most recently my research has focused on the relationship between time and the minimum wage in the European Union. I am also interested in how work and earnings affect gender expression and relations, particularly with regard to gender-based violence.


Jordan Rees

M.A., 2010, Social Work, University of Alabama
B.A., 2008, Social Work, University of South Alabama

Research Interests:

Religion and Gender, Race and Class Inequality, Stratification, Labor Markets, Quantitative Methods

In general, I am interested in how inequality is produced and reproduced through social institutions. In particular, I am interested in the perpetuation of inequality by religious institutions and labor markets.

Stuart RieplStuart Riepl

M.A., 2015, Sociology, DePaul University
B.A., 2005, Business and Economics, North Park University

Research Interests:

Race and Ethnicity, Stratification and Inequality, Urban and Community Studies, Housing, Immigration, Quantitative Methods

Broadly speaking, my research interests focus on urban and neighborhood inequality, with an emphasis on how inclusion and exclusion operate through the use of space and place.

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Michael L. Rosino

M.A., 2013, Sociology, University of Cincinnati
B.A., 2008, Sociology and Anthropology, Ohio Wesleyan University

Research Interests:

Race & Ethnicity, Mass Media, Political Sociology, Digital Sociology, Social Movements, Social Psychology, Sex & Gender, Qualitative Methods

My work broadly centers on issues of race and racism, politics, mass media, social movements, and digital communication. My previous research has examined social learning processes in an online community, race and gender diversity discourse in business media, and racial discourse in mass mediated policy debates. My current research projects focus on such topics as the relationship between forms of social inequality and discursive practices in social movements, white racial identity formation processes, racialized and gendered dynamics of political power, and party politics in the United States.

Chriss SneedChriss V. Sneed

M.A, 2016, Sociology, University of Connecticut
B.A., 2014, Sociology, St. John’s University

Research Interests:

Race, Gender, and Sexualities; Human Rights; Intersectionality & Critical Feminist Theories; Qualitative Methods

My substantive areas within Sociology include Race, Gender, and SexualityBlack Studies; and Queer of Color critique informed by Feminist Studies and critical Human Rights discourses. Broadly, I examine inequality through an intersectional lens that acknowledges the institutional and interpersonal dynamics of social experience. Much of my recent work stems from the contradictions of identity formation, resistance against inequality, and the precarious negotiation between the reproduction of exclusionary oppressive frameworks and liberatory horizons within social justice activism. For example, my Masters’ thesis looks at the production of identity within contemporary Black social movements and its influence on activists’ praxis. Other projects interrogate the discursive projections of LGBTQ identity perpetuated by institutions and individuals, along with the human rights associated with these constructions.


Trisha Tiamzon

M.A., 2010, Sociology, University of Connecticut
B.A., 2006, Sociology and Political Science, University of California-Berkeley

Research Interests:

Culture, Consumers and Consumption, International Migration, Racial and Ethnic Minorities

I am currently working on a project that investigates how and why people develop alternative food preferences for local, organic, and other types of food, and how they conceptualize the notion of “good” food. I am interested in the ways in which elite discourse diffuses and influences people’s ideas about food and how people actualize their ideas through practice. My past work has focused on the aging experiences of Asian immigrants in the US, particularly Filipino Americans.

oak-leaf-blue - 150 x 158Nabil Tueme

M.A., 2018, Sociology, University of Connecticut
B.A., 2014, Sociology, Assumption College

Research Interests:

Political Sociology, Sociology of Culture, Collective Behavior & Social Movements, Immigration.


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Todd E. Vachon

M.A., 2012, Sociology, University of Connecticut
M.S., 2003, Education, C.U.N.Y.
B.A., 1998, Communications, Marist College

Research Interests:

Work and Labor Movements, Comparative Political Economy, and the Sociology of Education

My research and teaching interests include labor and labor movements, the sociology of work, globalization, and social stratification. In my previously published works I have explored a variety of work- and labor-related issues, including the relationship between teacher unionization and high school achievement and the effect of globalization and labor market transformation on union density in U.S. metropolitan areas. In my dissertation, I will explore the relationship between unionization and environmentalism in a comparative perspective.


Kamryn Warren

M.A., 2013, Sociology, University of Connecticut
B.S., 2011, Sociology, Middle Tennessee State University

Research Interests:

International Migration, Human Rights, Refugee Studies, Ethnographic/Qualitative Methods

My research focuses on the intersections of forced migration, humanitarianism, and transnationalism.  My current work addresses refugees, aid workers, and officials as participants in transnational networks that span the distance of home country, encampment, and country of resettlement.  Additionally my work investigates the end of the refugee cycle and the transitions that occur when a forced migratory crisis is deemed to be over. The case study I analyze is the Bhutanese refugee crisis and the refugee camps of Eastern Nepal.

I will be spending the 2015-2016 academic year supported by a Fulbright student research grant in Nepal to collect dissertation data.


Abbey Willis

Abbey S. Willis

M.A., 2013, Sociology, University of Connecticut
B.A., 2007, Philosophy and Women’s Studies, University of Connecticut

Research Interests:

Sexualities, Sex and Gender, Feminist and Queer Theories, Political Sociology, Reproductive Labor, Theories of the State

I am an instructor and PhD candidate in the Sociology Department and I also teach Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies undergraduate courses. While my current research focuses on non-monogamies, I write broadly on political economy, the state in its various forms, and the ways both affect and are affected by sexuality. I am mainly interested in the sociology of sexualities with a focus on non-monogamy and other non-normative sexualities that aren’t primarily gender-specific. I am particularly interested in the reproduction of monogamy—specifically, the ways in which the state organizes and produces available sexual categories. I am also interested in theories of reproductive labor and care work, especially those rooted in the work of Selma James and Silvia Federici.

wu miranda

Qiong (Miranda) Wu

M.A., 2012, Sociology, Western Michigan University
B.A., 2010, History, Shanghai University, China

Research Interests:

Inequality and Stratification, Quantitative Methods, Demography

I am primarily interested in social inequality and stratification in relation to China’s transition to a market economy, focusing mainly on urban areas. My master’s thesis used quantitative methods to examine the effects of the state and market on determining income inequality in contemporary urban China. I am trying to understand the changes and challenges in China’s transitional society. Now, I am also interested in immigration, urban life, and studies through the lens of demography.

Jessicoak-leaf-blue - 150 x 158a Yorks

B.A., 2013, Sociology and Psychology, Millersville University
A.A., 2010, Psychology, Harrisburg Area Community College

Research Interests:

Class Inequality, Mobility, Sex and Gender, Family, Social Psychology

My research interests are broadly focused on the impact of class inequality on family life in America. In particular, I’m interested in exploring the relationship between today’s economic climate and the rise of unstable serial cohabiting unions.

Adane Zawdu

Adane Zawdu

M.A., 2010, Sociology, Tel Aviv University
B.A., 2007, Sociology and Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

Research Interests:

Culture; Micro-Sociology; Qualitative Methods; Ethnicity/Race; Migration

In my dissertation project, I explore how ethnic groupness get sustained through a set of patterned routine interactions and rituals. My work is based on 21 months of ethnography in Israel and 100 interviews among first and second generation immigrants from Ethiopia. Building on insights from micro-sociology, I address the relations between the patterned ways in which everyday routine interactions get accomplished in practice, the structuring of individual’s moral commitment to ethnic grouping, and the salient of ethnic groupings across situations.

Oak Leaf BlueKevin Zevallos

B.A., 2016, Sociology, Connecticut College

Research Interests:

Race, Class and Gender, Urban Sociology, Qualitative Methods, Public Sociology

I want to study the role of institutional discourse and structure on students’ racial consciousness. More specifically, through an examination of how the rhetoric, structural processes, and any initiatives surrounding diversity-work within higher education informs and influences students perceptions of themselves or others as racialized beings. Additionally, I am interested in the role between structure and agency; looking at how institutions of higher education frame equity and diversity and its influences on student-activism, both within and outside the academy.


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