Spring 2024

Photo by Jessie Xie

Sociology logo

From the Chair

Thanks for taking the time to review the Sociology Newsletter. I suspect this will be the last Message from the Chair that I ever write; an act that is bittersweet—it was lovely to have the opportunity to do this again after an absence and it is time for someone else to serve in this role (I'm looking forward to what lies ahead with Dr. Tara Opsal's leadership!).

This newsletter is always a landing pad for content that is vast and diverse. This diversity reflects our commitment to three interrelated concepts: learning; scholarship; and engagement. As I reflect on what we strive to do, and the items below certainly support this assessment, the Sociology Department identifies itself in the following ways.

  • As a community of learners, united by a curiosity to know and empathize across diverse worlds and lived experiences.
  • As a community of scholars, united by a desire to discover and to question and challenge assumptions through our scholarship.
  • As an engaged community, which is to say, we value town-gown relations, as evidenced by the countless partnerships our students and faculty make with stakeholders, alums, community partners, and scholars from other disciplines as we collectively strive for a more just and sustainable world.

The news items listed below show this commitment. I could not be prouder of this group. Here's to a safe, relaxing summer!

Carolan signature

Michael Carolan
Professor of Sociology
Co-Director, Food Systems Institute for Research, Engagement and Learning
Engagement and Extension Food Systems Specialist
Interim Department Chair

Department Happenings

New Roles

Dr. Elena Windsong, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. James Hale, Research Director of Community Food Systems and Social Sustainability (a new research and engagement position tied to CSU’s Spur campus in Denver and a joint appointment with Sociology and CSU's Agriculture Experiment Station!)

Sara Winter, Academic Coordinator (role updated to more closely align with our department's academic mission!)


Julie Pinkston has served as Sociology's Program Assistant, Assistant to the Department Chair, HR Liaison – SHRM Member, and Department Financial Officer. Transitioning to next phase of her career, she's accepted a position to provide post-award grant support in the College of Engineering.

Thank you, Julie, for the many MANY ways you've made CSU SOC a better place! Kudos to you! 

Julie's cake

New Tools

SOC's new & improved SharePoint Landing Page provides internal resources & links that can save your email inbox from itself – thank you for launching this hub, Julie!

SOC Matters is our new monthly internal newsletter with the latest & greatest updates from near & far – thank you to all who submit committee notes!

Sociology's "Collective Effervescence" Continues

Dr. Coronda Ziegler, CSU's Senior Student Success Manager, discussed teaching and student success for February's SOC Community Gathering.

Drs. Jeff Nowacki, Erin O’Callaghan, Pete Taylor, and Janelle Viera kindly agreed to share updates on their latest research projects for March's SOC Community Gathering.

Dr. Stacia Ryder (‘19 Ph.D.) visited campus April 5 for a Sociology-in-Progress colloquium. Her research talk “Place & Displacement Environmental & Climate Justice” was followed by a professional development meeting with graduate students.

Sociology supported CSU's ACT Human Rights Film Festival again this spring.

Our 2023-24 Celebration is this Friday, May 10. 

Thanks to all Department members for participating in these events and elevating Sociology’s "collective effervescence" again this semester! 

CSU's Year of Democracy & Civic Engagement

Stephanie Malin, Tara Opsal, Jeff Nowacki, and Jeni Cross kindly agreed to be featured in “Upholding democracy through procedural justice,” SOC’s article for CLA’s e-magazine. This spring’s edition was themed “Voice” to align with CSU’s Year of Democracy, and it was sent to alumni and donors.

Dr. Thung-Hong Lin visited campus February 16 to present “The Art of iWar: Censorship, Disinformation, and Democracy under Attack" and discuss his recent research that investigates the asymmetric dissemination of disinformation from autocratic states to democracies. Dr. Lin's talk attracted guests from across campus, the community, the University of Wyoming, and President Parson's democracy documentary film crew.

Dr. KuoRay Mao answered the call from the National Committee on United States-China Relations (NCUCR) inviting CSU Sociology to serve as a local partner for the annual CHINA Town Hall. Dr. Mao was the local facilitator for a talk by Dr. Kurt Campbell, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, held on April 9 via Zoom. The following evening, Mr. Zhong Zhao, CSU Visiting Scholar, presented "Is 'Panda Diplomacy' and Biodiversity Conservation Still a Channel for US-China Cooperation in Global Environmental Governance?" as NCUCR's 2024 Local China Town Hall.

Sociology supported CSU's College of Liberal Arts Democracy Summit April 8–12.

Dr. Ziegler talking
Dr. Nowacki discussing publication process
faculty discussing research
Dr. Ryder presenting
Dr. Lin presenting
CHINA Town Hall flyer
CHINA Town Hall flyer with Mr. Zhao
democracy sponsors

Undergraduate Happenings

Helen Obuna featured as CLA's Outstanding Grad

"As a first-generation student and immigrant, Obuna has overcome adversities throughout her life." – CSU SOURCE, May 6

Helen and her team of student researchers won MURALS Rising Star and Rams’ Choice Poster awards this year, and she has made significant contributions to campus through the McNair Scholarship program and Rams Against Hunger.

Instagram Takeover by Miranda Needham

Miranda Needham answered CLA Recruitment and Sociology's call to increase awareness of our Environmental Sociology program. She texted with prospective students on a Monday in January (i.e. "decision season"), then took over our Instagram account a few days later.

students at pantry

SOC 100, 220 and 311 student raise awareness of Rams Against Hunger

This spring Jason Downing's students again paraded across campus with items to help fill the shelves of the Rams Against Hunger pantry. GTAs Emily Haberlack, Rykr Ramirez, Amber Obermaier, Nefratiri Weeks, and Jessie Xie helped lead the charge.

Students examine privilege poverty and related issues, then have an extra credit option of writing a paper or helping organize an annual food drive.

CJO documentary screening

Criminal Justice Organization (CJO) held a screening of "Not the Foreign Force" (Chinese title: 乌鲁木齐中路 “Ürümqi Middle Road"), a documentary on the White Paper Protests that occurred during the winter of 2022 in response to the Shanghai Lockdown. Discussion and postcard writing followed the screening to raise awareness of arrested director Chen Pinlin and all who have lost their freedom.

Exploring Majors table

Prospective students visit

Thank you to the many department members who opened their office and classroom doors as prospective students visited. Erin O'Callaghan, Pete Taylor, Elena Windsong, and senior CCJ student Bree Lamutt went especially above & beyond!

Matt VanderMeulen, Elena Windsong, Sara Winter, and Carmen Hardy hosted Choose CSU tables for visitors and an open house for CSU's inaugural Exploring Majors event.

AKD Induction Ceremony

Miranda Needham introducing AKD
Tara presenting

The 2024 Induction Ceremony for our chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta Sociological Honor Society (AKD) was held April 13 at the LSC. AKD Officers Sophie Russell, Miranda Needham, and Breeanna Lamutt hosted the event with AKD Advisor Elena Windsong.

Sociology Associate Chair Dr. Tara Opsal kindly accepted AKD’s invitation to give this year’s keynote address. She discussed her career path and current research around “Reimagining Justice Solutions: Bringing Community into Community Corrections.”

2023 – 2024 INITIATES
Ashely Alvarado  •  Laura Andrews •  Aine Blanckaert  •  Avery Dotson  •  Cadence Dougherty  •  Madison Enney  •  Buday Falkinburg  •  Norah Fonder  •  Ruben Jimenez  •  Alexandra Kotaba  •  Jessica Krug  •  Kevin Melchior  •  Taryn Moran  •  Hana Moreland  •  Celia Pacheco  •  Destiny Palomares  •  Emily Reese  •  Milan Richman  •  Lilly Siekmeier  •  Ryer Tat  •  Claire Toman

Many thanks to all Department members, students & loved ones who attended this long-standing department tradition! One initiate's parents & grandparents journeyed from North Dakota!


Congratulations & Best Wishes

Collegian ad listing names of graduates

THANK YOU to the MANY FACULTY who wrote notes of congratuations to our graduating seniors and to Sara Winter for coordinating the effort! 

Isabella Stumpf

 Sociology Alumni Scholarship Recipients:
Amy Collado and Khalil Abdullah

Dr. Ronny E. Turner Memorial Scholarship Recipients:
Jessica Roig and Jala Ward

Harvesting Opportunity and Potential in Education (HOPE) Scholarship Recipients:
Mark McGill and Larken Ballinger

Khalil Abdullah

Scholarship Spotlight: Khalil Abdullah

I am a Rising second-year Sociology Major with a concentration in Criminal Justice. I hope to graduate with my degree from CSU and enter the criminal justice field as a criminal investigator or attorney. I am very grateful to have been a recipient of this year's Sociology Award, and I am going to take this scholarship and this opportunity and use it and be able to be successful in the future.

Jala Ward

Scholarship Spotlight: Jala Ward

I am from Washington State, where I live with my mom, older sister, and 14-year-old cat, Max. I am studying Sociology with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a minor in Interdisciplinary Legal Studies. I am a third-year student who will graduate in Fall 2024. I am at ASCSU as an associate justice of the Supreme Court and have been a College of Liberal Arts Ambassador since my first year. I am honored to be a part of the Sociology program at CSU and grateful for the opportunities the department has given me.

Honors Theses:
Sarah Smith • “The Experiences, Attitudes, and Recommendations of Undergraduate Students at Colorado State University Pertaining to Academic Accommodations Through the Student Disability Center” • Committee member: Erin O'Callaghan

Isabella Stumpf • "A Scoping Review of Rehabilitation and Recidivism in Scandinavian Prison Systems" • Committee: Tara Opsal and Pat Hastings

Graduate Student Happenings

Sociology Graduate Student Symposium

This year's event was held April 24 at the LSC with more student presenters than usual! Many thanks to organizer Laney Van, the presenters, and department members who attended and provided feedback!

Laney Van: “CSU’S Food Pantry Beautification - Nourishing Bodies, Empowering Minds: Building a Community of Compassion.”

Amber Obermaier:  “Feeling Good or Doing Good? Stemming the Food Insecurity Tide”

Anne Uhlman: “Deliberate Indifference”: Challenging State-Sanctioned Violence Against Transgender People in Carceral Spaces”

Adam Snitker: “Studying the soil: Accounting for Social Science’s contribution to soil-related research”

Katherine Stevick: “Still Sitting in the Dark:” Living with Bumbuna Dam”

Jessie Xie: “Political Depression in Contemporary China: Engraved Political Violence, Moralized Mental Suffering”

Alex Hagan: “Immigration Detention and the Treadmill of Production: A Cycle of Ecological and Social Disorganization”

Raymond Appiah: “Men’s Justification of Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana: An Analysis of a Life Course Approach to Neutralization Techniques”

Prospective Graduate Student Visit Day

Jeff Nowacki held Visit Day March 1. Thanks to all who participated!

Amber presenting
Alex presenting
Ray presenting
students visiting over coffee
Shawna's defense

Dissertation Defenses

Dr. Shawna Bendeck • “Students with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic: How an Inverted Disaster Impacted Educational Access, Student Outcomes, and Family Strain” • Committee: Drs. Jeni Cross, Stephanie Malin, Pat Hastings, Heidi Hausermann (Geography) • Shawna has started a new job at the Colorado Department of Human Services!

Dr. Austin Luzbetak • "Mississippi Prisons as Sites of Environmental Injustice: Extreme Heat, Social Death, and the State" •  Committee: Drs. Tara Opsal, Stephanie Malin, KuoRay Mao, Tobi Jacobi (English) • Austin will be a teaching professor in the department of sociology at the University of Minnesota (her self-professed "dream job")!

Dr. India Luxton • " 'An Industry that Just Kept Going': COVID-19, Policymaking, and the Production of Harm in the Meatpacking Sector"  • Committee: Stephanie Malin, Tara Opsal, Josh Sbicca, Jeni Cross, Heidi Hausermann (Geography), Annabel Ipsen • India's next step is still top-secret but will be announced soon!

India's defense

Thesis Defenses

Raymond Appiah • "Men's Justification of Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana: An Analysis of a Life Course Approach to Neutralization Techniques" • Committee: Drs. KuoRay Mao, Anne Willford (Social Work), Tony Roberts, Prabha Unnithan

Alex Hagan • "U.S. Immigration Detention Facility Proximity to Superfund Sites" • Committee: Drs. KuoRay Mao, Stephanie Malin, Heidi Hausermann (Geography)

Allyce Lobdell • Plan B research project on assessing gender measurement in organizational surveys • Committee: Tony Roberts

Ang Li • "Types of Foreign Direct Investment and the Informal Economy: A Cross-National Assessment" • Committee: Drs. Anthony Roberts, Pat Hastings, Stephan Weiler (Economics)

Katherine Stevick • “Bumbuna Dam 15 years on: Land scarcity and surplus population” • Committee: Drs. Jessie Luna, Laura Raynolds, Heidi Hausermann (Geography) • Katherine is moving on to a Ph.D. program at Stony Brook.

km barnhardt • “Farmers Markets as Facilitators of Eco-Habitus” • Committee: Drs. Pat Hastings, Michael Carolan, Megan Mueller (Food Science and Human Nutrition)

km defending


Verena Knerich passed the Theory Exam.

Milagro Nunez-Solis, Anne Uhlman, and Adam Snitker passed the Methods Exam.


Azmal Hossan has been accepted as a 2024-25 Sustainability Leadership Fellow at CSU's SoGES. He will join 19 other fellows combining postdocs and advanced-level Ph.D. students coming from 18 departments in 7 colleges in receiving rigorous training in science communication and career development.

Anne Uhlman was selected as a Doctoral Fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Science (ACJS). She received a scholarship to attend the Doctoral Student Summit at the ACJS conference in Chicago in March. (Anne would LOVE for other crim students to apply for this award, and she is happy to chat & offer support during the process!)

Azmal Hossan’s research proposal “Quest for 'Collective Continuance' in the Settler Colonial Land: Tribal Climate Change Adaptation through Self-Determination in the Northern Great Plains” was accepted for funding through the Diverse Knowledge Systems for Climate Adaptation Fellowship at the National Climate Adaptation Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey.

Buday's AKD slide


Buday Falkinburg was inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) International Honor Society of Sociology during the ceremony mentioned above.

Raymond Appiah won 2nd place and a $200 prize in the masters category of The Africa Center’s Graduate Student Poster Symposium. The event showcased various research that CSU students are involved in across the African content.

Becca Chalit-Hernandez is advancing to Doctoral Candidacy after successfully defending her dissertation proposal, "Abolitionist Care in Prisoner Solidarity Organizing." Committee: Drs. Joshua Sbicca, KuoRay Mao, Jessie Luna, Carrie Chennault (Geography)


Anne Uhlman was a judge for the Multicultural Undergraduate Research Art and Leadership (MURALS) symposium held on campus this spring.

Anne Uhlman attended the Larimer County warrant clearance event in April and represented CSU Sociology as well as CSU’s Adult Learner and Veteran Services office while recruiting for her dissertation research.

Research & Teaching Awards

Kellie Alexander • Graduate Student Research Excellence (Ph.D.) • “...the challenges and barriers of administrators as they work towards campus and community safety, and ways they overcome these issues…theory-driven research initiatives that seek to inform and advance public policy across a variety of social problems, including community corrections, reentry, and policing...”

Alex Hagan • Outstanding Graduate Student Paper (M.A.) • “Immigration Detention and the Treadmill of Production: A Cycle of Ecological and Social Disorganization”

Anne Uhlman • Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant • “Anne Uhlman is someone I will forever look up to; her passion for supporting others inspires me, fueling my own aspirations to positively influence the lives of others, just as she has significantly impacted mine.” 

Laney Van Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant • “Without Laney’s kindness, support, mentorship, and care, I know that I would not be quite as successful in the class as I am currently, and I certainly would not feel as comfortable and confident on this campus as I am now.” 

Yue Xu • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor • “The content is relevant, the instructional strategies used are very engaging, and even when talking about old white men, Prof Xu is always sure to add nuance and to make space for more marginalized voices in Sociology.” 

“We had outstanding nominations! Each award comes with a $200 prize for travel/professional development. Thank you to everyone who nominated themselves for an award, to the many faculty who submitted GTA recommendations, and of course to everyone who contributes to our department's teaching and research." – Committee: Pat Hastings, Jeni Cross, Janelle Viera


Bria Willert and Dr. Jeff Nowacki co-published “Social Context and Early Disposition Departures: An Examination of Disparity in Immigration Sentencing Across U.S. District Courts” in Crime & Delinquency.

Shawna Bendeck published "Sustaining Research and Researchers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Dose of the Collective Method as a Strategy" in the Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies with co-authors from her COVID-19 Converge Working Group on Redefining the Family During COVID-19.

India Luxton published an article with Dr. Tara Opsal titled “Collaborations Between Community Corrections and Community Organizations: Understanding their Potential for System-Involved Women and Gender Responsive Programming” in Feminist Criminology.

Ray Appiah published a book review “Review of The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to dismantle systems of oppression to protect people + planet” in the Journal of Social Encounters’ edition “The Environment: Issues in Justice, Conflict and Peacebuilding.”

Anne Uhlman published “’Deliberate indifference:’ Challenging state-sanctioned sexual violence against transgender people in carceral spaces” in Critical Criminology.

Shawna Bendeck published "Deep Hanging Out, Mixed Methods Toolkit, or Something Else: Current Ethnographic Practices in US Cultural Anthropology" in Annals of Anthropological Practice with co-authors Dr. Jeffrey Snodgrass (Anthropology & Geography), Dr. Mike Lacy, et. al.

India Luxton published a report titled “Agricultural conservation networks in Iowa” with Parker Arnold, Juliet Lee, Jeni Cross, Anne Mook, and grad student researchers at IRISS. The report was featured in the Environmental Defense Fund’s blog post “How Food Companies Can Harness the Power of Social Networks for Scope 3 Reductions.”

India with poster


India Luxton presented research at the College of Human and Health Sciences, titled "Market Days for Older Adults: Addressing Social Isolation and Food Insecurity at the Larimer County Farmers’ Market". This research was the outcome of her summer 2023 CSU Extension internship. India won the Community Engaged Scholarship – Distinction in Gradate Research award and is pictured above with her faculty mentor, Dr. Allyson Brothers (HDFS).

Azmal Hossan was featured again in an Agents of Change in Environmental Justice Podcast to discuss his Ph.D project, research, activism, and his involvement in the 2030 Climate Champions Forum: Young Leaders for Brighter US-China Future through his fellowship. Azmal talked about his research and activism during a lunch event, then he presented "Traditional Ecological Knowledge: A Common but Differentiated Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Tool for the USA and China,” a co-lead research project and digital storytelling with a Chinese fellow.

Anne Uhlman gave two presentations at the American Society of Criminology annual meeting in Philadelphia. They were titled “Deliberate Indifference”: Challenging State-Sanctioned Sexual Violence Against Trans and Gender-Nonbinary (TGNB) Inmates" and "Precarity, Criminalization, and Environmental Racism: How the State is Fueling a Public Health Crisis."

Azmal Hossan presented his Great Plains Tribal Water Alliance research project titled “’They write reports for us sometimes, but they've never been here’: Tribal climate adaptation water needs in South Dakota” at the 12th Rising Voices Workshop at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder.

Azmal with The Asia Foundation
Azmal and poster

Research Centers & Teams

Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ)

In January, CEJ and Montana State University received a $10 million award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch the Region 8 Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center, serving six states and 28 Tribal nations.

In May, CEJ's Water Ready team and over 50 volunteers distributed an IRB survey and nearly 500 Brita pitchers and filters to every resident of CSU student Victoria Silva's mobile home community. This team formed after Victoria won a MURALS top award last spring and CEJ connected with them. This year, Victoria was named Overall Winner of MURALS for their project "A Mobile Home Community’s Struggle: 2024 Update." They are pictured here with Amber Obermeir and Stephanie Malin. The Water Ready team has additional water quality and water testing efforts underway with mobile home communities across Fort Collins.

Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRISS) and Institute for the Built Environment (IBE)

Jeni Cross is part of a CSU team supported by National Science Foundation funding that worked with the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado to produce the 2024 Northern Colorado Intersections: Pursuing Regional Well-Being report.

“With the help of the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University and the Institute for the Research on Social Sciences, we’ve utilized a new framework to help us see this work through a new lens that allows us to see patterns, identify pressure points, and recognize opportunities across scales," the report states. "We believe that increasing our regional well-being requires a regenerative approach. An approach where we build bridges across people, organizations, and communities. It requires a shift in our perspective."

Prison Agriculture Lab

The Associated Press' two-year investigation and special report, "Prisoners in the US are part of a hidden workforce linked to hundreds of popular food brands" quoted Joshua Sbicca and published the Prison Agriculture Lab's map of prisons with agricultural programs.

The AP report was republished in over 100 local news outlets across the U.S. including NBC's "Investigation finds U.S. prison labor linked to popular food brands" that presented the lab's map at 30 seconds into it's 4:37-minute piece.

Co-directors Sbicca and Carrie Chennault were interviewed by KUNC and Ambrook Research, and MOLD Magazine's series on abolition and food included Sbicca interviewing Lawrence Jenkins, an incarcerated farmer and activist. Sbicca and Chennault also published "It’s Time to Compost the Prison Plantation" for the general public audience in both MOLD and The Nation


Faculty Happenings


Michael Carolan has been named the 2024-25 Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Food Security, University of Guelph.

Jessie Luna was honored with the 2024 Provost’s Teaching Scholar Award for Faculty Excellence.
"This award recognizes especially notable teaching and learning impact by an early-career professor represented by innovative teaching, course design, curriculum, or other accomplishment that enhances student success.” – Dr. Sue James, CSU’s VP for Faculty Affairs

Jessie receiving Provost award

Contributing Near & Far

CLA launched an Insights Speaker Series to highlight College of Liberal Arts faculty shedding light on engaging topics from their unique perspective. Stephanie Malin presented “Using Environmental Justice to Build Hopeful Systems” during the “Engaged Scholarship & Artistry” event. Jeni Cross presented “Stronger Together: What Makes Problem-Solving Science Different” during the “Interdisciplinarity in Action” event.

Shawn Bingham is a Co-PI and Chair for Faculty Council’s Interdisciplinary Task Force that was formed recently to better understand the landscape of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs and collaboration at CSU. Survey data collected is one component of a larger IRB approved study of the challenges and opportunities surrounding the design and implementation of interdisciplinary programming at CSU.

Jessie Luna has joined as an Editor at the Journal of Agrarian Change, an agricultural and rural development journal leading the field of agrarian political economy.

Jessie Luna joined the Advisory Board of the Mande Studies Association, a group that focuses on West Africa.

Visiting Scholar Thung-Hong Lin presented “Energy Politics and Democracy in the Era of Climate Emergency” in partnership with CEJ. Dr. Lin is a Stanford-Taiwan Social Science Fellow and Fulbright Scholar from Taiwan.

Janelle Viera presented a working paper on the link between cultural nationalism and Puerto Rican identity construction at the Latino Studies Association’s 2024 conference, held at Arizona State University. Her paper was titled, “‘My Culture is Between Puerto Rican and American’: The Boundaries of Puertorriqueñidad in New York and Florida.”

Pat Mahoney served as a judge for Celebrate Undergraduate Research & Creativity Showcase (CURC).

Tara Opsal was invited to Fossil Ridge High School to speak to National Honor Society students about her research.

Janelle Viera completed the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity’s (NCFDD) Faculty Success Program and gained valuable insights into how to best manage the tenure process.

Professor Emeritus Prabha Unnithan presented a workshop on publishing in international criminal justice journals to the Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Criminology at the National Forensic Sciences University in Gandhinagar, India. 



Jessie Luna received a Howard Foundation Fellowship for her sabbatical semester planned for 2025-2026.

Jessie Luna received a $60,000 Global Challenges Research Team Grant from CSU's School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES), with Drs. Pat Keys (Atmospheric Science) and Jon Salerno, for a project titled “The Complexity of Anthropocene Migration.”

Jessie Luna received an Ann Gill Faculty Development Grant from CLA for a new research project on “Pesticide Politics in West Africa.”


Emeritus Professor Doug Murray released his latest bookWe Can Change the World: Tales from a Generation’s Quest for Peace and Justice. He just received a 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite, and Counterpunch says the book is “…a unique approach to memoir…defined by a search for and commitment to fighting for social justice.” In February, ASA held a book talk featuring Dr. Murray and Dr. Jennifer Keahey (‘13 Ph.D.). (see the Alumni section for her latest book)

Murray book cover
“Douglas L. Murray tells stories from the generation that came of age during the tumultuous '60s and '70s when protests against the Vietnam War and for civil rights filled the streets. Murray writes brilliantly about an idealistic and ambitious generation. Reading We Can Change the World will help people understand the very important history of America’s ideological clashes and protest movements from the 1960s through to today. The individual stories of the many selfless and brave heroes of a generation will inspire you, encourage you to support just causes, and help you believe that change for the good is possible." – Karen Walpole, Readers’ Favorite – 5 Stars


Erin O’Callaghan published “Sexual Assault Impacts on Sexuality and Queer Identity: A Qualitative Study of Queer Substance-Involved Sexual Assault Survivors” in a special issue of Critical Criminology.

Tara Opsal and India Luxton published “Collaborations Between Community Corrections and Community Organizations: Understanding their Potential for System-Involved Women and Gender Responsive Programming” in Feminist Criminology.

Bria Willert and Jeff Nowacki co-published “Social Context and Early Disposition Departures: An Examination of Disparity in Immigration Sentencing Across U.S. District Courts” in Crime & Delinquency.

Tara Opsal and Stephanie Malin were notified that their paper “Layered Sites of Environmental Justice: Considering the Case of Prisons” published in Sociological Inquiry has received enough downloads to rank within the top 10% of papers published. “This achievement is a testament to the recognition and celebration of your work within the community, congratulations!” – Wiley

Joshua Sbicca's research was in several mainstream media pieces –  please see Prison Agriculture Lab in the above Centers section.


Janelle Viera was nominated for a CSU Career Impact Award through the Career Center.

Mark Shuey was nominated for a 2024 Best Teacher Award through the CSU Alumni Association.

Prabha at conference
Unnithan with Dr. Asha Srivastava, Dean of Social Sciences, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, India.

Alumni Updates

“Aloha, A couple of years ago, I emailed Dr. Prabha Unnithan, my former Sociologist professor about the value of a CSU Sociology education. Recently, I was both surprised and privileged to be appointed to Hawaii Governor Josh Green’s cabinet as the Deputy Director of Law Enforcement.  As such, I am Hawaii’s Deputy Director of Hawaii’s version of the state police.

It is uncanny that everyday I rely on my CSU Sociology education as the foundation for both critical thinking and problem solving in law enforcement.

I write tonight to express my absolute thanks for the education that I received and importantly, how much good Sociology and Criminal Justice studies count. Most importantly, the quality and difference of education gained at CSU makes a difference with the community and my family. Every CSU student should never underestimate how powerful a CSU education is. I am so thankful for my Sociology professors and the meaningful lessons they taught me.” Jared Redulla (’94)

Dr. Jennifer Keahey (‘13 Ph.D.), Associate Professor of Sociology, Arizona State University, released her latest book Decolonizing Development: Food, Heritage and Trade in Post-Authoritarian Environments and was featured in ASA’s February Book Talk with Dr. Murray.

Juliet Lee visited Pat Hastings’ spring’s SOC 314 class to talk about careers that use data analysis skills and about graduate school. Students were super engaged! “Thanks for having me, Pat! I had a fun time and I'm always happy to share my time with the SOC department! “ – Juliet Lee (’23 M.A.)

Paulo Neves (’70 B.A., ’73 M.A.), his wife Peggy, and both sons graduated from CSU, and together they run Café Richesse with beans cultivated from their family farm in Brazil. The family “venturing beyond fair trade and into direct trade” was featured in CSU SOURCE.

“I just wanted to send a belated thank you for having me. It was so wonderful to come back to CSU and I appreciate all of your efforts in making it happen. I really appreciated the warm welcome from everyone and hope that it was useful for the graduate students.” – Dr. Stacia Ryder, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Utah State University

On a Lighter Note

Elena, Erin, Janelle in CLA Instagram post
CLA featured Elena, Erin and Janelle during Women's History Month.
whiteboard drawing
As seen in our seminar room – thank you, Lynn, for being sure we captured this goodness to keep handy!
Jessie Xie captured this and many more wonderful photos of our Clark B tree! Take a look at our "Clark B tree Ramily pics" Sharepoint folder. Thank you, Jessie!
Jessie Xie captured this and many more wonderful photos of our Clark B tree! Take a look at our "Clark B tree Ramily pics" Sharepoint folder. Thank you, Jessie!

The sociology of Snapchat noted in this Collegian op-ed article.


Mya Lesnar claims 2024 Indoor Women's Shot Put National Championship

Check out this amazing news! Mya plans to graduate next spring with a SOC major, CCJ concentration, and Sports Management Interdisciplinary minor.

Ray Appiah featured in The Collegian

eclipse viewing
Eclipse viewing!
Doc Erin meeting Cam the Ram
Doc Erin met Cam the Ram! 
Alex's band flyer
Alex Hagan’s band Knuckleball is playing a free show at the Mishawaka on Sunday, July 7, from 1:30–4pm. Free shuttles leave from the CSU Tennis complex.
Austin's successful defense & lovely fan club gathering was the final chapter for our beloved'ish Clark B252 seminar room. We're off to the "clubhouse" – see you in a few years, Clark!
Austin's successful defense & lovely fan club gathering was the final chapter for our beloved'ish Clark B252 seminar room. We're off to the "clubhouse" – see you in a few years, Clark!
SOC sticker

Dr. Michael Carolan for serving as SOC's Chair twice!

Dr. Tara Opsal,
Sociology Chair (July 1)
Dr. Joshua Sbicca, Associate Chair
Dr. Vanessa Centelles, Assistant Professor, joining us in August!

Meet & Greet with Incoming Grad Students
: August 14, 3:30–5pm
RamWelcome: Friday, August 16
Sociology Fall Picnic Potluck: August 23, 4:30–6:30pm

Thank You For All You Do!

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