Summer & Fall 2022

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Pete Taylor

From the Chair

I’ve been reflecting a lot over the last several months on the phenomenon of change and its impact on us as individuals, groups and institutions. We’ve experienced a lot of change over the last three years or so that has transformed how we learn, teach and work together, possibly in many ways permanently. Some of this change we might have preferred (really preferred) not to have experienced. Much of it has been welcome. All of it we have managed. What hasn’t changed is that we are a department that, no matter what, continues to make progress in our missions because of our people.

Read below about the exciting research our faculty, graduate and undergraduate students have been doing recently – the books, articles and reports published; theses and dissertations completed; comprehensive exams passed; and public presentations and other outreach and engagement provided. Learn what our exceptional faculty and students are doing in class and beyond to combat hunger, promote inclusivity, ensure social justice and develop innovative ways to mentor each other for scholarly excellence.

We’ve celebrated our undergraduate and graduate students completing their degrees to embark on exciting professional futures. We’ve been inspired by the impressive accomplishments of our recent alumni. At the same time, we’ve welcomed new graduate and undergraduate students and been energized by their energy and enthusiasm. Importantly, we’ve hired two highly talented new Assistant Professors who will join our faculty next fall to support us in the areas of Criminology and the Sociology of Race.

Thank you for your contributions to a remarkably successful year. It’s been made possible by your strong commitment to our department’s missions of research, teaching and service and crucially, to supporting each other as members of a vibrant, evolving academic community. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and restful Winter Break.

Pete's signature

Pete Taylor
Professor and Chair

Department Happenings


Incoming M.A. Students:

Raymond Kofi Appiah

km barnhardt

Buday Falkinburg

Emily Haberlack

Alex Hagan

Ang Li

Katherine Stevick

Incoming Ph.D. Students:

Ehsan Abdekhodaie

Rebecca Michelle Forsythe

Alyssa Johnson

Amber Obermaier

Laney Van

Our Graduate Student Welcome Reception was held August 17 at the LSC Sutherland Sculpture Garden.

Grad Welcome Reception

Thanks to the many Department members who attended and helped welcome our incoming cohort!

Collective Effervescence Continues


Our annual fall gathering was a Picnic Potluck held September 16 at Rolland Moore Park. Department members brought their partners, families, children, babies, pets, and fabulous fall fare. Juliet & Bailey are pictured here. We very happily welcomed back to the Department Emeritus Professor Lou & Carol Swanson and long-time Program Assistant Helain & Kevin Steele.

Pat Mahoney kindly discussed "World Travel in the Time of COVID-19” on October 17 at the LSC and on Zoom for Sociology's October Community Gathering. Many thanks to Pat for sharing his Semester at Sea stories & experiences! (pictured)

To celebrate the semester and last week of classes, our final gathering was a Coffee & Cookies Open House held December 9 in Sociology's seminar room and on Zoom.

Two new colleagues will be joining us as Assistant Professors in Fall 2023. We’re excited to welcome them to CSU SOC!

Critical Criminology
Dr. Erin O’Callaghan, Assistant Professorial Lecturer, Saint Xavier University, visited November 3 & 4 and presented “Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol: A Continuum of Sexual Experiences of Substance-Involved Sexual Assault Survivors."

Sociology of Race
Dr. Janelle Ashley Viera, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, visited November 9 & 10 and presented “’Racism Is Still Alive and Well’: Generational Perspectives on Racism Among Stateside Puerto Ricans.” (pictured) 

Thanks to all Department members for participating in candidate visits this fall! Additional thanks to Search Chairs Jeni Cross and Mike Hogan; Sociology of Race Committee members Jessie Luna, Stephanie Malin and Adam Snitker; Critical Criminology Committee members Tara Opsal, Jeff Nowacki and Allyce Lobdell; Search Committee Administrative Support Julie Pinkston; and Sara Winter, Martha McCaddin, and Carmen Ruyle Hardy who provided additional support.

"I also greatly appreciated the very strong support Sociology graduate students demonstrated throughout both searches, from their contributions on search committees, to participating in job talks and candidate meetings, to thoughtful deliberation on finalist candidates. Many thanks also to those of you who reached out to Janelle, Erin and other finalist candidates to encourage them during this final process." – Pete Taylor

Juliet & Bailey
picnic group
Pat Mahoney discussing his voyage
job talk

Undergraduate Happenings

Education Abroad in Prague resumed this summer

Fifteen undergraduate students from Sociology, English, and Psychology joined Mike Hogan, Tara Opsal, and Bria Willert for six weeks in Prague for our Criminology and Criminal Justice study abroad program.

"Learning about a new way of looking at the criminal justice system outside of a U.S. perspective was not only enlightening, but it was inspiring. I hope the U.S. can continue to study comparative criminology and criminal justice to inform our own system." – Keelin Jakel, SOC major, Prague scholarship recipient

"Being apart of the study abroad program in Prague was a life changing experience that allowed me to make life long friendships and connect with a different part of the world." – Mireya Nystrom, SOC major, Legal Studies Interdisciplinary minor, Prague scholarship recipient

"It was an amazing experience which taught me about various different cultures. Through my time in the program, I was able to explore Prague, but also had the amazing opportunity to explore outside of Prague in Austria and Italy. The program taught me more about the world, criminal justice, and about myself. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." – Allyson Horvath, Psychology major, SOC minor

"Going to Prague this summer was one of the best decisions I ever made. Prague was the place to learn about comparative criminal justice and their policies and public programs truly inspired me. I felt so lucky to get to be a part of this program, it is packed full with amazing learning experiences. Prague is the most beautiful city with the most amazing history and culture. Outside of school, I had the time of my life. I was never bored as there is always something new and exciting going on in Prague to discover. There are incredible historical sites to visit, beautiful parks, fascinating museums, great shopping, delicious food, and some of best nightlife in Europe.  I fell in love with the city and can't wait to go back!" – Dylan Rooney, SOC major, Business Administration minor

“The places we visited, the experiences and knowledge I gained, and the friendships I made will last me a lifetime. I am forever thankful for my time in Prague.” – Claire Kraus, Psychology major, SOC minor

"Prague was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The professors, students, and the people I met there were such incredible individuals and I formed amazing friendships during this trip. And as stereotypical and cheesy as it sounds, I learned so much from my time abroad. I’d go back in a heartbeat, and I’d encourage anyone else to go as well." – Noel Black, SOC major, Poli Sci minor

Ram Welcome

126 freshman + 31 transfer students joined SOC this fall

Our Ram Welcome Department Meeting was held August 19. Thanks to Stephanie Malin, Tara Opsal, Mark Shuey, Pete Taylor, Matt VanderMeulen, and Elena Windsong who welcomed incoming students and Sara Winter, Julie Pinkston and Carmen Ruyle Hardy who helped with logistics.

Students cheered when Tara mentioned this research that indicates they'll quite possibly supervise their STEM friends as their careers progress!

Jason Downing and SOC 100 & 220 students expand Food Bank service learning project 

This fall, both in-person and online food drives were conducted by over 550 students in Jason Downing's three sections of SOC 100 and two sections of SOC 220. Students raised $6,676 online, which funds around 13,700 meals (based on the National Grocer Index) through the Food Bank of Larimer County. Students also collected 4,000 pounds of food and distributed it directly to 20 local families. Way to go!

Nefratiri Weeks launches Internship Handbook

Sociology's new Internship Handbook is a thorough overview of the program and contains sections for students, internship providers, and the internship coordinator. It contains all the information needed to find an internship and get registered, or even create an internship and work with the Sociology department. Nefratiri Weeks, Sociology's Internship Coordinator, created the handbook this fall.

Helen Obuna speaks at CSU's Symposium for Inclusive Excellence

Helen Obuna, Sociology and Anthropology double major, was a speaker for the "CSU Inspire" session of this year's Symposium for Inclusive Excellence. Helen discussed how the campus community can support students facing food insecurity and hunger. (Photo courtesy of Katya Zhao / Anthropology's Instagram post)

Bemnet Tefera presents MURALS project at Symposium

Bemnet Tefera, Sociology and Poli Sci double major, won the spring 2022 MURALS Social Justice Award in the Service Learning and Leadership category for her work “First-Gen Post-Grad Mentorship," and this fall she discussed her project during the "A Glimpse of MURALS" session of the Symposium for Inclusive Excellence.

akdkey 300px

Alpha Kappa Delta officers host Study Break

AKD officers Kris Richter, Cliona Johnson, and Samantha McCann passed out snacks and SOC swag as classes came to a close the last Tuesday afternoon of the semester. About 45 students stopped by AKD's table in Clark A on December 6.

"Overall, the event was very positive and well-received among the students. Several mentioned their gratitude for free drinks and snacks during this busy time, so it is worth making this a recurring event for the club if possible," notes Kris. "Students also took some Sociology swag and asked about the major."

"Direct actions you can take to be an ally..." (notecards)
ally idea

Intersectionality students share ally ideas

Elena Windsong's SOC 334 students think critically about the term "ally," then respond to her prompts "I wish I had an ally who..." and "Direct actions you can take to be an ally..."

Elena has conducted this exercise the past several semesters. Stop by her office if you'd like to see students' ideas.

I wish I had an ally who... (notecards)

Congratulations & Best Wishes

Collegian ad listing names of graduates

Honors Thesis:

Please join me in congratulating Kristina Richter on the successful presentation of their undergraduate Honors Thesis: “Prisons Pollute: Analyzing the Environmental Consequences of Public & Private Correctional Facilities in U.S. Counties.” Kris is currently majoring in Sociology with a minor in History and is expected to graduate this upcoming fall. In their thesis, Kris analyzed data on U.S. counties from the 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities and the 2006-2010 EPA’s Environmental Quality Index to measure the impact of public and privately operated correctional facilities on local environments. Based on spatial autoregressive modelling, they show privately operated correctional facilities are associated with higher levels of pollutants and these environmental effects ‘spillover’ into adjacent counties. Many thanks to Dr. Pat Mahoney for serving on the committee and providing Kris with helpful feedback and guidance with the project. Congratulations, Kris! – Tony Roberts

The College of Liberal Arts Fall 2022 Commencement is Saturday, December 18, at 1pm at Moby Arena. Webcast

Graduate School Commencement is Friday, December 17, at 9am at Moby Arena. Webcast

Graduate Student Happenings

Milago at Extension poster show
Emilia at Extension poster show

Milagro Núñez-Solis and Emilia Ravetta improved Colorado communities this summer through Extension internships

Milagro Núñez-Solis worked with the Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) to connect youth with opportunities to strengthen their local communities, and Emilia Ravetta worked with Grow & Give to connect food pantries with gardeners. In October, they presented their posters at Extension's Annual Forum.

Milagro and Emilia kindly agreed to be featured in Sociology’s article "Building Bridges to Better Communities: Sociology PhD candidates use their skills in CSU Extension internships" for CLA's winter e-magazine and SOURCE package showcasing Extension interns.


Please join me in congratulating Kelsea MacIlroy on the successful defense of her dissertation, “’Demand Management’ and Injustice in Rural Agricultural Irrigation in Western Colorado:  An Anatomy of Ambivalence”. Kelsea’s insightful research addresses the symbolic and material landscape in which discussions about demand management take place. Using Fraser’s three axes of justice, she identifies and explores how perceptions of injustice among rural irrigators relating to distribution, recognition, and representation shape resistance and ambivalence towards policies which encourage a reduction in water use in the Upper Colorado River Basin.  Her work provides important sociological understanding of, and policy recommendations for, water governance in Colorado. Kelsea benefitted greatly from the support and guidance of her other committee members: Michael Carolan, Stephanie Malin, and Stephanie Kampf (Ecoscience and Sustainability). – Lynn Hempel

I am very pleased to announce that Sneha Kadyan  successfully defended her dissertation proposal. Sneha's research on "Ensuring Workplace Standards in Cotton Garment Manufacturing Factories through Voluntary Certifications: An Analysis of Fair Trade and Global Organic Textile Standard in India" is sure to provide fascinating insights, making important applied and academic contributions to this critical field of social change. Please join the dissertation committee – Pete Taylor, Jessie Luna, Jeffrey Snodgrass (Anthropology), and myself – in congratulating Sneha for reaching this key milestone. – Laura Raynolds

Nefratiri Weeks successfully defended her dissertation proposal, "Moon Mining: Imperialism’s Next Frontier or Democratic Cooperation?" and advanced to candidacy. Committee members: Laura Raynolds, KuoRay Mao, Jessie Luna, and Dimitris Stevis (Poli Sci).

Amber Reese successfully defended her M.A. thesis entitled, "An Assessment of Factors Leading to the Resolution of Previously Unresolved Homicide Cases." Thanks to the other members of her Thesis Committee: Jeff Nowacki and Shannon Hughes (Social Work). Congratulations, Amber! – Prabha Unnithan

I am writing to announce that Sara Winter successfully defended her Masters project, "Disaster Preparedness Among Child Care Centers and In-Home Providers in Colorado." Congratulations to Sara on her hard work, and thank you to her committee members Tara Opsal and Katie Abrams (Journalism and Media Communication) for their service. – Mike Hogan


First, join me in congratulating Emilia Ravetta and Yue Xu for passing the Comprehensive Exam in Theory. Additionally, I want to congratulate Laurence Pedroni for passing the Comprehensive Exam in Methods. Outstanding work to all of you!! – Jeff Nowacki

Professional Development

This fall, Director of Graduate Studies Jeff Nowacki hosted monthly sessions for graduate student professional development. Tony Roberts discussed grant funding, alumna Hannah Love talked about her new company (pictured, please also see below in Alumni section), and graduate students each shared their current research projects and interests.

grad students PD session


Nefratiri Weeks has been elected to be the student representative to the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) section Political Economy of the World-System (PEWS). She is serving a two-year term.

Yue Xu has been appointed to serve on the Development Committee of the Rural Sociological Society (RSS) as the graduate student representative.

Yue Xu volunteered as a judge for the “New Graduate Student Award” at CSU's Graduate Student Showcase held November 16 at the LSC.


Nefratiri Weeks was invited to present her dissertation work at a conference at the University of Western Brittany, France, at the Symposium "The Environmental Commons: from practices to standards" in September. While Nefratiri was the only English speaking person presenting, she was able to present the case of Moon mining as an issue for the environmental commons and demonstrate that current frames, such as environmental sociology, don’t inherently include space, the moon, and other planets in their conception of the global commons. Thus, the issue of moon mining has been neglected by many fields that study issues of environmental justice. In addition, Nefratiri was able to discuss how the current legal frames undergirding Moon mining, termed the Artemis Accords, are working as a mechanism of privatization to change current international law which designates the Moon as a global commons that should be free from privatization and private monetary gain.

Report Released

Kellie Alexander is co-author of the recently released report titled, Bexar County Reentry Evaluation – Programs and Services. Kellie participated in this project through the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and helped evaluate how reentry clients are referred to and receive services and the efficiency and effectiveness of the referral process. The report also identifies opportunities for improving how reentry clients are resourced. This project is based in Bexar County, TX, and is part of a broader five-year initiative to reduce recidivism and jail detentions among the formerly and currently justice-involved population in their community.

Book Review

Juliet Seibel’s book review of Nadia Y. Kim’s Refusing Death: Immigrant Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice in LA was published by Mobilization.

In the Media

Azmal Hossan’s invited commentary paper on COP27, climate justice, and planetary health was published in PLOS Global Public Health. In “Achieving climate justice, safeguarding planetary health: Diagnosis and demands from next generation leaders for COP27 and beyond,” Hossan and his co-authors critically examine the ongoing global climate change negotiation in the form of a Conference of Parties (COP). The group of twelve emerging climate change researchers and activists from the Global South represent the Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) and were interviewed this summer by Forbes for the article "Young Climate Justice Activists Are Fighting For Our Collective Survival."

Faculty Happenings


Michael Carolan was honored with the Frankfurt Book Fair’s getAbstract 2022 International Book Award for Business Impact. His most recent book, A Decent Meal: Building Empathy in a Divided America, was chosen from over 10,000 German and American non-fiction titles. The jury selected it “for its timely relevance that extends beyond the corporate world” and for discussing “how to overcome the deep chasms and loss of empathy in American society.” Michael was flown to Germany in October for the awards ceremony and a media tour. Upon his return, he was featured in SOURCE and interviewed for the “Can healing our divided nation start at the dinner table?” episode of CSU’s new podcast The Audit.

Michael receiving award


Josh Sbicca is part of a team that received a Sustainability Curriculum Innovation award from CSU's School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) in partnership with the President’s Sustainability Commission. His team's project is called, “Lessons in Sustainable Agriculture from Native American Communities.” These annual grants aim to increase student exposure to interdisciplinary sustainability concepts across all fields of study at CSU by allowing faculty to creatively integrate social-economic-environmental sustainability concepts into new or existing courses. They also allow faculty to empower students in their future careers by increasing their knowledge of interconnected global problems.


Jeni Cross spoke at Urban Future's 2022 conference held in Helsingborg, Sweden, in June. She led the session "How to ‘sell’ energy efficiency: Gamified workshop with behaviour change mastermind Jeni Cross" and was a panelist for "Control is for beginners: Understand how great teams are getting things done" and "Strategies for driving change from within: How to work in a system of rigid structures (and how to change it)."

Pat Hastings presented "What’s a Parent to Do? Measuring Cultural Logics of Parenting with Text Analysis” (co-authored with Luca Maria Pesando, NYU-Abu Dhabi) and "Explaining Investments in Children in Cohabiting Families: Social Parents, Relationship Duration, and Economic Resources” at the American Sociological Association (ASA) Annual Meeting in August.

SoGES hosted an author reception in October for Stephanie Malin to celebrate her latest book, Building Something Better: Environmental Crisis and the Promise of Community Change.

In October, Jessie Luna gave colloquium talks at the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder and at the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Denver. The first talk was on her in-progress book, and the second talk was about her project on “Naturalized race and racialized nature at the Denver Zoo.”


Pete Taylor is serving as president of CSU's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) this year, and he helped bring to campus PBK's national secretary and CEO, Frederick M. Lawrence, for a conversational event hosted by CLA Dean Benjamin Withers. "Academic freedom, bias, and freedom of speech in democratic society" was held in November at the LSC. 

Report Released

"The Equity/Excellence Imperative: A 2030 Blueprint for Undergraduate Education at U.S. Research Universities" was released October 19 by the Boyer 2030 Commission and Steve Dandaneau, CSU Associate Provost and executive director of the Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities (UERU). Check out CSU's SOURCE article and The Chronicle of Higher Education’s piece “Excellence in Undergraduate Education Must Include Equity, Says Influential Group” [of higher education, philanthropic and business leaders].


figure from Hastings' paper

Pat Hastings published "Parental Investments of Money for White, Black, and Hispanic Children in the United States" in Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World in June. (figure pictured above)

Stephanie Malin co-published “Building something better: How community organizing helps people thrive in challenging times” with The Conversation in September.

Josh Sbicca and Carrie Chennault (Anthropology and Geography) co-published "Prison agriculture in the United States: racial capitalism and the disciplinary matrix of exploitation and rehabilitation" in Agriculture and Human Values in October. This is the first article to report on research undertaken in the Prison Agriculture Lab, which has also created a satellite image gallery containing images of all the prisons in our nationwide data set that have agriculture.

In the News

Josh Sbicca was interviewed by Civil Eats for its piece “Agrihoods Promise Fresh Food and Community. Can They Add Equity to the List?” (listen here) and by Food Sleuth Radio about the agri-carceral industrial complex (listen here).

Jeff Nowacki was interviewed by Colorado Public Radio about the criminal justice system for their piece, "Just a handful of Denver neighborhoods are home to a disproportionate number of imprisoned people."

In its segment examining the explosive growth of the white minority in Brooklyn, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah mentioned Josh Sbicca's The Conversation article "In changing urban neighborhoods, new food offerings can set the table for gentrification". Check out the mention here at 2:17.

screenshot of The Daily Show

Alumni Updates

Ruby Charney, B.A. ('20), interned with Honeywell this summer in their HR development/leadership program, specifically working with Talent Acquisition, Talent Branding, and Inclusion & Diversity.

"I worked on some pretty high-impact projects where I was definitely able to use my sociological mind. One project was a Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which consisted of a 10-ish page manual on unconscious bias, ableism/audism, etiquette, scenarios, resources, tools, and more to educate folks who want to be more inclusive but don’t know how or where to start," Ruby explained to Sara Winter in response to an alumni outreach/update email. "Another project I worked on was finding ways to recruit more veterans through re-shaping some of the culture, and I also did a lot of work with our Employee Resource Groups to increase inclusion and the feeling of belonging at the company for underrepresented groups!"

Ruby is currently finishing up her second year of her program, Master in Human Resources & Industrial Relations at the University of Minnesota, and then she will head to Charlotte, NC, in June to work full-time with Honeywell in their three-year rotational program.

Carolyn's headshot from ACEEE

Carolyn Conant, M.A., (’20) is now working for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) on their National Affordable Housing Retrofit Initiative.

Carolyn continues to send a variety of job & internship openings our way for current students and recent SOC grads.

book cover

Jennifer Keahey, Ph.D. ('13), recently published Energy Democracies for Sustainable Futures. Her next solo-authored book, Decolonizing Development: Food, Trade, and Heritage in Post-Authoritarian Environments, is slated for publication in December 2023.

Jennifer is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Hannah Love headshot

Hannah Love, Ph.D. (’19), has co-founded Divergent Science LLC to empower scientific teams to create new knowledge and build solutions to solve complex global challenges.

Hannah kindly visited a November session of Sociology’s graduate student professional development series to discuss careers beyond academia.

Alex's headshot from ACJI

Alex Walker, Ph.D. (’20), is a  Founding Member and the Director of Community Relations & Strategy for Alliance for Community Justice and Innovation (ACJI).

“I still work for myself, and my colleagues and I are growing ACJI every day. We love working with justice leaders from across the country and the pond on implementing best practices in organizations big and small," Alex explained to Sara Winter in response to an alumni outreach/update email. "We developed a graduate certificate program for Implementation Leadership (how to lead change in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health settings) that we have just been sitting on. It would be fabulous to work with a school that would like to collaborate with us and offer it.”

Please continue to pass along alumni names and contact information to Tara, Sara, or Carmen so we may continue to build Sociology's collection of alumni who are interested in connecting with our students.

On a Lighter Note

collage of pets

Many thanks to Julie Pinkston for making this collage for our breakroom and to Sara Winter for always having treats handy!

SOC sticker

Thank You For All You Do!

Please continue to send news and ideas to Carmen Ruyle Hardy, Sociology Communications Coordinator.