Spring 2020

Sociology logo
Pete Taylor

From the Chair

This spring semester for the Sociology Department has been in some ways the most challenging semester in memory. On March 25, CSU students “returned” from Spring Break to find the University closing and moving to remote instruction and administration in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In other ways, this semester may have been the most instructive and inspiring ever. Note below the news items from prior to the University closure about the many impressive activities and contributions Sociology department members were involved in. Then note all the impressive post-closure activities and contributions they continued to make after they had quickly regrouped in virtual mode.

Underlying these accomplishments and holding us all together were awe-inspiring commitments by faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, staff and crucially, parents, children and loved ones under Stay-At-Home confinement, to support our students’ success and keep our scholarship and outreach/engagement going. Ours is truly a mutually supportive and resilient academic community. We will emerge from these hard times stronger than ever. Go Rams!

Pete's signature

Pete Taylor
Professor and Chair

Department Happenings

Welcome & Farewell

New Instructor:

Joanne Littlefield

Dr. Littlefield created SOC 373.801 Visual Sociology, a new online course

Calm sign on door

Graduating and leaving our Main Office:

Justin Green

Matt Schmitt

Justin has been with Sociology since he started at CSU as freshman, and last summer he helped bring Matt on board. Both are excellent students, and both are considering continuing their schooling with the ultimate goal of helping people. The department has been lucky to have them and wishes them well!

Capturing & sharing our stories of resilience:

Thanks to all who have contributed to our new webpage Coming Together While We're Apart. Please keep the submissions coming – thoughts and observations, text and images of how you see our present and possible future, links to inspiring people and resources, epiphanies and insights, and anything that is helping you think and learn in new ways and undergo change during this unusual time.

Our most recent submission is from Staci Shaffer. Not only is she helping keep inmates safe, she has also inspired a new program that will continue to benefit inmates after they're released. Scroll to the Impact section to find her entire story.

Coming Together to Learn & Grow

Spring 2020 Sociology-in-Progress Colloquia:

Janelle Patrias, Manager of Mental Health Services at CSU, presented a training for our department called “Assisting Students in Distress” on March 4.

Anna Walker, Assistive Technology Coordinator at CSU, virtually presented her talk, “Diversity and Disability: How to integrate inclusive design principles into our courses” on April 22.

Dr. Melissa Rorie, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), was scheduled to visit April 10 and present her talk "Why commit crime when you already have everything? Understanding Elite White-Collar Offending Decisions." Dr. Rorie was also the keynote speaker for the AKD Induction Ceremony. We hope to host her in the fall.

Dr. Hannah Wittman, Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability  Academic Director, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, The University of British Columbia, was scheduled to visit April 3 and present “Ways of Knowing for Food Sovereignty: Lessons from Latin America." We hope to host her in the fall.

Larimer County Corrections and our Department were co-sponsors of this year's Judge Conrad L. Ball Award & Banquet to be held May 1 at the LSC Theatre. The event has been postponed.

Undergraduate Happenings

CURC poster

SOC major Jessica Gutierrez presents at CURC Showcase

For the past 25 years, undergraduates from disciplines across campus have entered CSU's annual Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity (CURC) juried showcase to demonstrate what they have learned through their scholarly research, scientific inquiry, and/or creative endeavors. Held virtually this year, CURC had 226 poster submissions from 330 students, and Ph.D. student Carolina Banuelos was a judge.

Jessica Gutierrez is a graduating senior General SOC major with a minor in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies. She was accepted into CSU's Presidential Leadership Program that supports the next generation of leaders and positive changemakers.

Jessica presented her research poster, "Representative Leadership for Students of Color" at this year's CURC. Her research was initially sparked by her friends' reluctance to join her in leadership positions that represent CSU.

As time went on Jessica saw a trend in hesitations to even apply for positions, and she began to look for hidden barriers. "Helping students of color feel a sense of community is a contributor to leadership participation," she says. Hear more from her in the interactive version of her poster.

"Jessica provides important insights into the dynamics of oppression. She excels at connecting her own experiences and passion to broader sociological concepts," says Elena Windsong who recently had Jessica in SOC334 - Sociology of Intersectionality. "Jessica brings a unique sociological insight and intersectionality into advocating for a more inclusive social world."

Jessica is the first SOC student to participate in CURC in at least three years. Please encourage your students to seize this annual opportunity to showcase their work and make their voice heard.

Thank you, Jessica, for addressing an important issue on campus and helping make CSU a better place for future students! 

Outstanding Grad: Jennifer Wood, SOC and Social Work double major

"I met Jennifer through a project in the department, and quickly learned she is the epitome of resilience and dedication," says Kellie Alexander, Sociology Ph.D. student and Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant. "She is deeply committed to her family and found a way to navigate graduating with two majors as a single parent. I could not be more inspired by Jennifer and her story."

Each semester, CSU features Outstanding Grads. Jennifer Wood's story of transferring to CSU, overcoming adversities, and supporting her family is very inspirational. Read the SOURCE article here.

Carolyn Conant, Sociology M.A. student and Graduate Teaching Assistant, met Jennifer during SOC210 - Quantitative Sociological Analysis. "Jennifer's passion and determination for learning are clear and inspiring. It was impressive to see how she persevered and balanced so many factors in life while pursuing her education. Any time a concept was unclear to her, she would seek clarification and work at it with patience and diligence until she mastered it."

Congratulations, Jennifer, on your many accomplishments! Best wishes for graduate school and you and your family's continued success!

Jennifer Wood
event banner

20 students to be inducted into AKD, Sociology's International Honor Society

Our Department's spring tradition of hosting inductees and their families and friends was scheduled for April 11 with keynote speaker Dr. Melissa Rorie, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV).

Dr. Rorie's talk, "Don’t get mad, get wise: A criminological journey from helplessness to optimism," was relevant before COVID-19, and will be even more meaningful this fall when we plan to hold the postponed ceremony.

Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 Initiates:

Summer Cushman
Marie Cusick
Julia Garcia
Adriana Graybeal
Marcus Griess
Nicolette Hanson
Myranda Houghton 
Jacob Jordan
Alex Leno
Alejandro Leon
Jessica Mawyer
Derek Nead
Illeana Sabbagh
Katelyn Schiller
Dylan Scott
Sophia Shepp
Benjamin Starr
Amy Sumerfield

Graduate Students
Julia Kovacs
Chelsey Potter

Jessie Luna

food drive screenshot

SOC 100 and 220 students hold annual food drive virtually

Each semester students in Jason Downing’s SOC100 - General Sociology and SOC220 - Global Environmental Issues courses discuss privilege poverty and related issues. Undergraduates can write a paper for extra credit, or they can help organize and donate to Downing’s annual food drive benefiting the community.

Typically students bring donations to campus and work together to load vehicles headed for the Food Bank. This spring their efforts were entirely virtual, and the results are impressive.

"We raised over $5,347 which allows the food bank to provide over 10,600 meals," says Downing. "Pretty cool stuff considering we've never done it all virtually before."

food bank stats
event promo slide

SOC students participate in Virtual Career Conference

This spring CSU Career Services Network presented the first-ever Virtual Career Conference: An Exchange of Tools, Education and Employer Connections. It was held online April 21-23 to give students access to career tools, workshops, panels and employers. CLA had strong representation on each of the panels and educational sessions discussions.

From Kelsey Schultz, Career Education Manager, CLA and Career Center: 
"There were a total of 481 attendees, with 216 unique students (which means we had a lot of repeats – good content, hopefully!). Of those 481 attendees, CLA had the strongest representation.

Special shout-out to these departments (so many of you!) for your students attending: Economics, Communication Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Languages/Literature/Culture, International Studies, Ethnic Studies, English, JMC, History, Theatre, Music, and Anthropology."

Kelsey Schultz joined CSU this semester and her enthusiasm is contagious! She has offered to work directly with faculty and instructors to provide career language and support to students in ways that are relevant to individual courses. Please feel free to reach out to her, or Carmen is happy to help make connections. 

This spring, data analysis was completed for our 2019 self-study which included over 375 undergraduates. Both an open-ended survey question and the interviews and focus groups asked students about how they came to the major. Below are a few responses.

"I took an Intro to Criminal Justice class and it was really interesting. I caught a real interest and that's one we can do after school. So I figured it'd be a great way to kind of get a good background in upper level police work, police structure and so on and so forth as well as it seemed like a good pairing with my psychology degree as I want to focus on the criminal psychology." – Miles

"I am a sophomore majoring in environmental sociology. I took a class that was like Global Environmental Issues and with an environmental sociologist. And I learned literally all about environmental sociology and what that even is. I fell in love with that." – Marissa 

"Just the fact that it's so flexible. You can do a little bit of everything. Like if you choose criminology, it’s not that you're pigeonholed into it, but it's very specific. Whereas with general, you can do a lot more things depending on if you want to do social work for a while or you can transition to something else. It's flexible, which is what I like." – Demi

Congratulations & Best Wishes

Yessica Contreras-Vargas: Harvesting Opportunity and Potential in Education (HOPE) Scholarship Recipient
Yessica is a sophomore majoring in Sociology, Criminology & Criminal Justice concentration, with a Legal Studies Interdisciplinary minor.

Perla Hurtado Flores: Sociology Alumni Scholarship Recipient
Perla is a a sophomore majoring in Sociology, Criminology & Criminal Justice concentration, with a Statistics minor.

Xenia Hernandez: Dr. Ronny E. Turner Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Xenia is a sophomore double majoring in General Sociology and Economics.

Jacee Manchego: Sociology Alumni Scholarship Recipient
Jacee is a junior majoring in Sociology, Criminology & Criminal Justice concentration, with a Legal Studies Interdisciplinary minor.

Sharon Nichols: Dr. Ronny E. Turner Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Sharon is a junior majoring in Sociology, Criminology & Criminal Justice concentration.

Collegian ad listing grads

Sociology faculty came together virtually to congratulate graduating seniors in this celebratory video.
Many thanks to everyone who sent messages and wrote cards to grads!

Graduate Student Happenings

grad visit breakfast

11 students attend Department's inaugural Prospective Graduate Student Visit Day 

March 5 & 6 were all hands were on deck as prospective M.A. and Ph.D. students traveled from as far as Germany and as near as our own hallway for Sociology's first-ever Visit Day.

"We did very well in attracting our top candidates this year, thanks I think in part to the success of our Visit Day and targeted outreach to our top tier students. Thanks to all of you who helped make Visit Day a success!" – Laura Raynolds, Director of Graduate Studies

Our fall cohort's ten students include Jianheng Huang, a graduating senior entering our M.A. program, and Chelsey Potter and Yue Xu, current M.A. students continuing to our Ph.D. program.

Visit Day breakfast

Many thanks to Social Committee members Caro Banuelos, Carolyn Conant and Yue Xu for organizing Trivia Night held February 20 at McClellan's Brewery, as well as happy hour and a Horsetooth hike that had to be cancelled. Yan Shan helped coordinate a Brown Bag Lunch with Dr. Kristina Quynn (Graduate School and English) that has been postponed.

Alex Walker and committee
Mordy defense
Mordy committee
Mordy celebration


Congratulations to Alex Walker for her successful defense of "Dosage Matters: The Role of Community Corrections Interventions on Client Recidivism." Her committee was: Tara O’Connor Shelley, Chair, Michael Hogan, Tara Opsal, Jennifer Harman (Psychology). Please join her committee in congratulating Alex’s achievement today. – Tara Shelley on Nov. 26, 2019

I am so pleased to announce that Meghan Mordy successfully defended her Sociology doctoral dissertation, “Weighted Aspirations: Becoming a Teenage Dropout in El Salvador.” Meghan’s NSF-funded dissertation focused on poor and low-income students in El Salvador. Her ethnographic work helps illuminate the multiple social forces and factors that lead so many young people to abandon their education as teenagers. Her committee, which included Lynn Hempel, Pete Taylor, and Marcela Velasco (Political Science), remarked on the quality of Meghan’s writing and the depth of her analysis. Please join us in congratulating Meghan in the completion of this major milestone! Three cheers for Dr. Mordy! – Lori Peek on Dec. 30, 2019 

Please join me in congratulating Danielle Creech for the successful defense of her thesis – "Fair Chance Legislation: A State-Level Socio-Political Analysis." Also thanks to Dr. Tara Opsal and Dr. Carole Makela (School of Education) for serving on Danielle's committee, providing her with feedback and assistance. – Jeff Nowacki on March 30, 2020 

Carolyn Conant successfully defended her thesis project, “Fort Collins Environmental Sustainability Network: A Social Network Analysis of Interagency Collaboration in the Field of Environmental Sustainability.” Bravo to Carolyn for a successful defense. Her thesis project will soon be hosted by Institute for the Built Environment as an interactive webpage where community agencies can explore and add to the network. The goal is for this project to enable community agencies to use social network data to advance their collaborative capacity and their climate action goals. We thank the committee for their technical support, creative ideas (the webpage), and general encouragement during this two-year project. Thanks to Kate Browne (Anthropology), Pat Hastings, Lynn Hempel, and Elicia Ratajczyk (Institute for the Built Environment)! – Jeni Cross on May 4, 2020

Conant defense screenshot



Nefratiri Weeks presented at the World-Ecology Research Network Conference at Binghamton University on February 7. Her and Aude Chesnais' presentation: "Colonialism, Capitalism and Climate Change: The Missing Link" focused on institutional crises as an endogenous aspect of capitalist social forms and linked cycles of crisis and crisis mitigation within the historical context of colonialism and the institutional forms that have emerged in the global political economy in the past 300 years. As the conference was focused on environmental crisis, they argued that indigenous knowledge, which has been disregarded in the past, contains ’the missing link' into ‘ways forward’ for a more sustainable, fair, and inclusive economy.

Joshua Sbicca and Becca Clark-Hargreaves organized and participated in a virtual session in April for the annual American Association of Geographers Meeting. The session was titled “Food and Carceral Intersections: From Geographies of Confinement to Enactments of Abolition." Becca presented "Hunger Strikes, Discursive Impurity and the Political Meaning-Making of Hunger."
Becca and Josh presentation


Carolina Bañuelos: Graduate Student Research Excellence Award for her research on approaching the first-generation graduation gap as a network circumstance and working with Institutional Research, Planning, & Effectiveness and the Collaborative for Student Achievement to help CSU remain positioned as a first-generation student leader

Carolyn Conant: Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award for her paper "The Socioeconomic Effects of U.S. National Parks on Host Communities"

Nefratiri Weeks: Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award

Please join me as Director of Graduate Studies and our Methods Comprehensive Exam Committee in congratulating India Luxton, Kellie Alexander, and Austin Luzbetak for passing the Methods Comprehensive Exam this Spring.  Outstanding job! – Laura Raynolds

Shawna Bendeck received Department support of her advanced graduate training in Social Network Analysis methodology at an Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) remotely delivered workshop.

Azmal Hossan has been invited to attend two prestigious summer schools at renowned European universities. Global Environment Summer Academy 2020 is jointly organized by the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and the Global Diversity Foundation. The Academy was to be held at the University of Oxford in the UK this fall. It has been rescheduled for August 20–September 7, 2021. GESA 2020 is designed to broaden and deepen the resilience, knowledge, networking and communication skills of emerging changemakers who are actively seeking solutions to some of the most pressing ecological and social issues of our time. Since 2011, GESA has welcomed 118 emerging environmental and social changemakers invited from 58 countries. Gender, Disaster and Climate Risk Summer School 2020 is organized by the Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety at Lund University in Sweden. It was scheduled for May 2020 and has been postponed until August. The international summer school is held in collaboration with the Centre for Gender and Disaster, Institute for Risk and Disaster Recovery (IRDR), and University College London (UCL). It provides a platform to create a strong pedagogical base that is action oriented towards capacity enhancement and gendersecure environments.

Azmal Hossan's interdisciplinary Graduate Pursuit team's proposal "Pushed to the Edge: A Socio-Environmental Analysis of Climate Gentrification along the East Coast of the United States" has been selected for National Science Foundation (NSF) funding. This 18-month research project is comprised of seven Ph.D. students from seven different universities. Joshua Sbicca is one of two mentors of the project. Azmal's colleagues include Ph.D. students studying environmental science at Vanderbilt University, geospatial analytics at Virginia Tech, human dimensions of natural resources at North Carolina State University, agricultural policy at University of Guelph (Canada), forestry and natural resources at Purdue University, and natural resource science and management at Florida International University. The team formed after the 7th Graduate Student Workshop on Socio-Environmental (S-E) Synthesis held in Annapolis in August 2019.

SYSNEC group

In Celebration

Ph.D. student Rose Kreston, Director of CSU's Student Disability Center since 1980, is retiring. SDC is collecting well wishes, blessings, advice, or kind words to share with Rose at an on-campus gathering later on. Please send to Amanda Wimmer by May 31.

invitation to send notes

Quotes from graduate award nomination packets:

"Nefratiri has not only been one of my favorite professors in the Sociology department, but one of my favorite in my entire time here at CSU. She is tremendously engaging, I genuinely enjoy learning in her class and hearing what she has to say. She displays information in a way that is easy to understand but also leaves you wanting more. She has ignited a fire within my academic career that has made me strive to learn more and more; something that I have never experienced before." – SOC 301 student 

"As her project manager, Carolina has taught me the true meaning of passion, determination and perseverance." – Jazmin Rodriguez, Poudre High School Counselor

"Equity and inclusion were key elements of this project. Without Caro's assistance, our survey would have been inaccessible to many community members." – Alyssa Stephens, IRISS Project Manager

Updates from Research Teams

CSU food supply task force formed at request of Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture

Michael Carolan is part of a group of CSU experts providing up-to-the-minute, data-driven analysis on food supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Source article is available here.

food systems website screenshot

Faculty Happenings

Tara and Elena receiving plaques
Mao photo

Awards & Honors

Joyce McConnell, President of CSU, and Shannon Archibeque-Engle, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Assessment in the Vice President for Diversity office, recognized Tara Opsal and Elena Windsong at the 2020 Faculty Institute for Inclusive Excellence Awards Ceremony held in February. Read more here

KuoRay Mao was honored as a 2020 Best Teacher Award winner by the CSU Alumni Association. March's banquet has been postponed until 2021. Many thanks to Chelsey Potter, Yue Yu and the students & alumni who nominated Dr. Mao. Read more here

Joshua Sbicca has received his letter from President McConnell informing him that she has accepted the Provost’s recommendation that he be granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Sociology! Congratulations, Josh! – Pete Taylor in May

Jeff Nowacki was awarded a CLA Ann Gill Faculty Development Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity for his proposal "De-escalation and Situational Outcomes Among Policewomen."

KuoRay Mao has received a College of Liberal Arts Professional Development Program grant in support of his research project "The Dilemma of Regulatory Pluralism: A Comparative Study of Drinking Water Regulations in China.”

This spring's Celebrate CLA! event was cancelled, but Jeff Nowacki and KuoRay Mao were recognized in this CSU Source article.

Book Chapters

Ph.D. student Kellie Alexander, Tara O’Connor Shelley (Tarleton State University), and Tara Opsal wrote “Fracking the Rockies: The production of harm,” chapter 19 in the Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology. KuoRay Mao, Ph.D. student Yan Shan, and co-authors wrote chapter 21,  “Authoritarian environmentalism and environmental regulation enforcement: A case study of medical waste crime in Northwestern China.” Find out more about the book here.

Stephanie Malin wrote a chapter in Kristen Iversen's book Doom with a View. The chapter is entitled "Rocky Flats and Environmental Health: Contested Illnesses & Contended Spaces." Preorder here.

Routledge cover
Doom with a View cover

Flashback Friday

David Freeman teaching

In celebration of CSU’s sesquicentennial, CLA showcased emeriti faculty each Friday in February. Emeritus Sociology Professor and former Department Chair David Freeman was featured in CSU's Source and social media. Read


Lou Swanson and KuoRay Mao published "Thinking Globally About Universities and Extension: The Convergence of University-Based and Centralized Extension Systems in China" in Journal of Extension in December 2019. Read

Ph.D. student Keith Smith, Emeritus Associate Professor Michael Lacy, and Adam Mayer, Ph.D. '17, published "Performance simulations for categorical mediation: Analyzing khb estimates of mediation in ordinal regression models" in The Stata Journal in December 2019. Read

In its January 8 research brief "School Quality Influences Where Parents Choose to Live—and How Much They’re Willing to Pay for Their Homes," the Urban Institute's Housing Matters initiative presented recent findings by Assistant Professor Orestes Pat Hastings and Adam Goldstein (Princeton). Their paper "Buying In: Positional Competition, Schools, Income Inequality, and Housing Consumption" was published by Sociological Science in May 2019.

Annabel Ipsen published "Repeat Players, the Law, and Social Change: Redefining the Boundaries of Environmental and Labor Governance Through Preemptive and Authoritarian Legality" in Law & Society Review on January 29. Read

Ph.D. student Kellie Alexander and Tara Opsal published "That’s Just What You Do”: Applying the Techniques of Neutralization to College Hazing" in Deviant Behavior on March 6. Read

Stephanie Malin and Adam Mayer, Ph.D. '17, published "Understanding Self-Rated Health and Unconventional Oil and Gas Development in Three Colorado Communities" in Society and Natural Resources on March 14. Read

Stephanie Malin and co-editor Becky Alexis-Martin (Manchester Metropolitan University) guest-edited The Extractive Industries and Society's special issue on uranium and published the introductory essay "Assessing the state of uranium research: Environmental justice, health, and extraction" on March 18. The special issue also includes their article “Embedding the atom: Pro-neoliberal activism, Polanyi, and sites of acceptance in American uranium communities” as well as Stephanie Malin and India Luxton’s article “The Baneberry disaster in review: An interview with case lawyer and author Larry Johns.”

Jeff Nowacki, M.A. student Danielle Creech, and Megan Parks, M.A. '19, published "Political Climate, Voter Suppression Policies, and Federal Sentencing Outcomes" in the British Journal of Criminology on March 20. Read

KuoRay Mao, Nefratiri Weeks, and co-authors published "Toward a socio-political approach to water management: successes and limitations of IWRM programs in rural northwestern China" in Frontiers of Earth Science on March 31. Read

Jeff Nowacki, Joseph Schafer (Saint Louis University), and Julie Hibdon (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) published "Workforce Diversity in Police Hiring: The Influence of Organizational Characteristics" in the Justice Evaluation Journal on April 30. Read

Matt Greife and Michael Maume's (University of North Carolina at Wilmington) article "Stealing Like Artists: Using Court Records to Conduct Quantitative Research on Corporate Environmental Crimes" is forthcoming in a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.

In the Media

Stephanie Malin has been actively consulting about uranium processing on the Accused podcast for reporter Amber Hunt. Listen here and here.

In late February, Stephanie Malin made the state and local news as an environmental researcher. (see next section about Berthoud Town Board)

Steve Dandaneau's Coloadoan op-ed "This is no time for panic or cynicism" ran in March. Read

As students returned from spring break, CSU Social put together this encouragement video with Best Teacher faculty from around the University. At 1:40 from start, please find KuoRay Mao's words of wisdom.

Jeni Cross was interviewed in April for CSU Source's "Why humans are howling every night, and why wildlife is joining in." Watch and read

In April, KuoRay Mao co-authored "Risk management regimes and epidemic control in East Asia: lessons from Covid-19" in Contexts, the American Sociology Association's public magazine. Read

KuoRay Mao was featured by CLA in CSU Source's "Best Teacher Award winner KuoRay Mao helps students become problem solvers for real world issues." Read

Two of many quotes from KuoRay’s Best Teacher nomination packet:

“Dr. Mao really cares about his students and he puts tons of unconditional efforts to better facilitate students’ understanding of the world, as well as prepare them with life-long skills and sociological tools they can rely on to make the society better. He is a real sociologist who caring and be willing to speak for the weak, he also is a real educator who devotes his life to cultivating the talents and enabling students to fulfill their potential. Dr. Mao really fulfills his commitment as a CSU assistant professor to practice the principles of CSU community and brings life-long changes to all of his students.”Yue Xu, 2nd year master’s student in Sociology

“When I first took Dr. Mao’s class in 2017, I was blown away by his vast knowledge, passion, and experience. I had never known that studying criminology could be so exciting and help change the world. Before his class, I had assumed the great disconnect between academia and practice could not be bridged. KuoRay taught me that this is not the case. His efforts in world change encouraged me to go to graduate school. Without his recommendation letter, I would not be where I am today. I owe this man more than he could ever know.”Chelsey Potter, 2nd year master’s student in Sociology

Contributing Near & Far

For the DU Law School's Civil Rights Summit, Stephanie Malin was invited to speak on one of the panels covering environmental justice issues. Her panel was titled "Preventing Sacrificed Communities: How to oppose projects that exploit marginalized people". Other panelists included: Denver City Councilperson Candi CDeBaca and Andrea Gelfuso, a lawyer with the Sierra Club. The event was held January 24 & 25 on the Sturm College of Law campus.

In late February, Stephanie Malin was invited to testify before the Berthoud Town Board about her social science research on the impacts of unconventional oil and gas production as they debated whether to ban hydraulic fracturing in their town.

Joshua Sbicca and Becca Clark-Hargreaves organized and participated in a virtual session April 6 for the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers. The session was titled “Food and Carceral Intersections: From Geographies of Confinement to Enactments of Abolition.” Over forty participants attended. Josh presented "Prison Agriculture in the United States: The Uneven Terrain of Exploitation and Rehabilitation."

Joshua Sbicca gave a virtual talk hosted by Shippensburg University titled, “Food Justice Now!: Immigration, Borders, and Boundaries.” The talk was the keynote for their Sustainability Week in late April.

Joshua Sbicca finished up his Resident Fellowship with the School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES). He spent the last year launching the Prison Agriculture Lab and initial data collection and analysis on a project to catalog and understand agricultural activities in correctional facilities throughout the United States. (see infographics)

Stephanie Malin is one of two panelists for "Building Community Trust," part of The Salazar Center's Connecting for Conservation webinar series in May.

Pat Mahoney had a paper accepted and will be doing a virtual conference presentation for the June 2020 Fifth International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies at the University of Dubrovnik in Croatia. The paper and presentation are titled: "Behold the Horror of Man: Dark Tourism in the Anthropocene." Using current and archival data from the UN World Tourism Organization, this paper documents the shifting patterns in the global tourist industry toward the marketing and consumption of Anthropocentric-driven environmental degradation. Specifically the paper looks at the cruise ship industry's increased activity in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. In short, the arctic regions are open for business – just as they begin to disappear.




Berthoud news screenshot
Sbicca presentation slide
Sbicca infographic
Sbicca infographic
webinar logo

Updates from Alumni

Keith Smith

Keith Smith accepts position at ETH Zürich 

Keith Smith has accepted a position at ETH Zürich (Switzerland) in the International Relations Department as a Senior Researcher. ETH Zürich is also known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

James Hale awarded SoGES Leadership Fellowship for 2020-21

James Hale, Ph.D. '17, recently became a School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) Leadership Fellow. The SoGES Leadership Fellows program provides Ph.D. students and early career academics with training to effectively communicate science to the public and media. This includes learning techniques to enhance leadership, strategies for engagement in public discourse, skills to translate knowledge into action, and tools for collaboration.

James’ research is concerned with the myriad ways groups work toward food and environmental justice, especially as those issues relate to talking across difference, overcoming biases, and working through entrenched social, political, and economic inequities. This primarily involves studying underlying socio-cultural values, norms, identities, and practices.

After a postdoc at the University of Otago in New Zealand, James returned to Fort Collins where he has been working at the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRISS) and often on projects within the CSU Local and Regional Food Systems Research Network. His work has been published recently in Journal of Rural Studies, Geoforum, Sustainability, Community Development, and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. James was supervised by Michael Carolan and wrote his dissertation on resilience and cooperation in food and agriculture co-ops.

Twenty early career academics were selected as Sustainability Leadership Fellows for the 2020-2021 academic year, and James is the only one from CLA. The prestigious program was one of the first of its kind and is one of the longest running programs of this type in North America. This year will mark 200 early career sustainability scientists trained with SoGES.

James Hale

Alumni Survey Coming Soon

An upcoming alumni newsletter will include a brief survey asking alumni about career paths and ways they'd like to be involved with current students. Please share your connections and ideas with Carmen.