CSU authors pen half of special series for Hurricane Katrina anniversary

By Jeff Dodge, as appearing in SOURCE

Two new books by Colorado State University authors about Hurricane Katrina represent half of the special “Katrina Bookshelf” series issued to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the natural disaster, which is Aug. 29.

CSU anthropology professor Katherine Browne’s book Standing in the Need: Culture, Comfort and Coming Home after Katrina follows a large African-American family over the eight-year ordeal of their recovery from the aftermath of the hurricane, both natural and man-made.

Katrina KidsLori Peek, associate professor of sociology at CSU, co-authored Children of Katrina, a book that explores how children and youth responded to the disaster. It was written with Alice Fothergill, associate professor of sociology at the University of Vermont.

They are two of the four books published this summer by the University of Texas Press as part of the Katrina Bookshelf series conceived by distinguished sociologist and series editor Kai Erikson in honor of the storm that hit the Gulf Coast a decade ago.

“Katrina was an unbelievable disaster, unlike anything else we have experienced in our country; it destroyed not just property but also the way of life of everyone in its path,” said Browne. “I wanted to know how large, interconnected families, so common in the area, cope with something like this. How do they rebuild their lives in a place that has been changed forever?”

With a grant from the National Science Foundation, Browne located a family of more than 150 who had fled their bayou home in St. Bernard Parish ahead of Katrina and taken refuge with a relative in Dallas. She recruited a filmmaker and, with colleague Ginny Martin, tracked the family for 20 months as they returned home. The documentary, Still Waiting, was first broadcast on PBS stations in 2007.

“What I observed as members of the family tried to resume life in little bitty FEMA trailers was that no one in what I call the ‘recovery culture’ understood who they were or what they needed to truly recover,” Browne said.

Determined to follow a family she had come to respect, Browne continued her research for six more years after the completion of the film. She learned how recovery proceeds in fits and starts, how people adapt to sweeping change, and how a tattered social fabric can be repaired. Browne also discovered that the years of hardship family members endured were caused less by the storm than by the institutional approach of the recovery effort itself.

“There were ways that the institutions of recovery could have brought comfort by helping restore the cultural vitality of this family, including providing places to gather, cook big meals together, and care for their children,” Browne said.

With her book, Browne offers a partial roadmap for recovery for an entire community, even a nation, whenever and wherever the next disaster strikes.

Peek’s book, Children of Katrina, draws on research that involved about 700 children between the ages of 3 and 18 as well as 100 adults. The authors focus primarily on 25 young people who they followed intensively over the seven years after the storm. In the book, they tell the stories of seven individual children who exemplify the varied experiences of the larger group.

“We think it’s the longest qualitative study of children after a disaster that’s ever been done,” Peek said. “We watched these children grow up and change over time. It was incredible.”

Soon after starting their observations, interviews and focus groups, Fothergill and Peek realized they would have to get creative about getting the youngest survivors of Katrina to open up about how they felt. So they gave them paper and crayons and encouraged them to draw their answers to questions about what Katrina looked like, or what good came out of it, for example. The researchers also made flash cards labeled with topics they wanted to discuss, placed them in front of the children, and let them take turns picking the subject.

When children experience upheaval and trauma, adults often view them as either vulnerable and helpless or resilient and able to “bounce back.” But Peek and Fothergill found a more complex reality.

The two authors’ work demonstrates that outcomes were often worse for children who were vulnerable and living in crisis before the storm. Fothergill and Peek outline what kinds of assistance children need during emergency response and recovery periods, as well as the individual, familial, social and structural factors that aid or hinder children in getting that support.

A launch party for both of their new books will be held at Avogadro’s Number, 605 S. Mason St. in Fort Collins, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 10. The event will feature live music by the Hazel Miller Band.

Corey Wrenn (Sociology) named the 2016 Exemplary Diversity Scholar

Corey Wrenn (PhD student) has just been name the 2016 Exemplary Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity.


As they explain it: “Exemplary Diversity Scholars are awarded to candidates with an established history of contributions in diversity-related research, practice, and teaching. These candidates tend to be existing PhDs, or early-career scholars with tenure-track positions.”
Congrats, Corey!


Dr.Lori Peek (Sociology), featured as part of the Women and Girls Lead initiative

Lori Peek, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University, was one of three female faculty members across the university selected to be featured as part of the Women and Girls Lead initiative. This is a public media campaign designed to educate and connect people worldwide in support of issues facing women and girls. At the root of the program is the idea that even though much progress has been made in many places,there is still work to be done to ensure equality, justice, and opportunities for all.

Dr. Peek, as well as several of her students at CSU, is featured in a 30-second advertisement for Women and Girls Lead that has been running on Rocky Mountain PBS television stations since early 2015. The video can be viewed here:https://vimeo.com/101540271

To learn more about Women and Girls Lead, visit: http://womenandgirlslead.org/

Dr. Jeni Cross (Associate Professor of Sociology) featured in Coloradoan

College of Liberal Arts interdisciplinary research team receives $1 million grant to study green schools

Jennifer Cross
Click here to read the full story.

Two Sociology undergraduates awarded prestigious Gilman International Scholarship

Six undergraduate students from Colorado State University have received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for summer 2015. The scholarship aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad, and the countries and regions where they go. Eligible recipients must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant, with plans to study or intern abroad for academic credit. This summer, 1,000 American undergraduate students from 332 U.S. colleges and universities received the Gilman Award.

CSU Gilman Scholarship Recipients

Kayla Beverly, a sophomore psychology and international studies double major from Conifer, Colorado, will complete a three month long CSU-sponsored internship as an events assistant with Shanghai Business Review Magazine in Shanghai, China. Kayla, who has a minor in Chinese language, also received a $2,000 Office of International Programs China Scholarship to fund her experience this summer.

Junior Malissa Gill, a hospitality management major, will study Japanese language and culture on a CSU-sponsored program in Kagawa, Japan this summer, earning credits toward her minor in Japanese. Malissa is from Aurora, Colorado, and also received CSU’s Mona Mitchell Education Abroad Scholarshipfor Students with Disabilities, which provides an additional $500 of funding for her program.

Austin Johnson, a social work major with a minor in criminology, will study for six weeks in Prague, Czech Republic, on CSU’s Criminology & Criminal Justice Program with CSU faculty member Tara Shelley. Austin is a junior from Basalt, Colorado.

Maryann Lasco, a first-generation student originally from Rawlins, Wyoming, will also participate in CSU’s Criminology & Criminal Justice Program in Prague. Maryann is a junior sociology major with a minor in criminology, and will be interning with the Fort Collins Police Department as a crime analyst this fall. She hopes to draw comparisons between the Czech and American criminal justice systems.

Freshman Veronica Villalobos, a first-generation student studying languages, literatures and cultures, as well as international studies, will complete a study abroad program through the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Veronica is from Boulder, Colorado, and is studying Portuguese. She hopes to teach abroad after graduation.

Aurora, Colorado, native Kayla Banks will participate in a program through the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) in Santiago, Chile, which includes both academic coursework and an internship. Kayla is a senior dance major, with minors in arts leadership and merchandising.

Scholarships and Support

During the academic year, Student Financial Services partners with Education Abroad to offer financial aid advising and workshops for students who are considering going abroad on a study, research, internship or service-learning program. Hosted twice a semester, Gilman Scholarship Information Sessions provide students with specific application tips and helpful advice from experts in the application process. Advisers are also available to assist with essay development and feedback.

In addition to federal financial aid like the Gilman Award, the Office of International Programs awards more than $200,000 annually in need- and merit-based scholarships for education abroad, with the average scholarship recipient receiving $750. The Education Abroad office oversees programs in nearly every country around the world and provides support services to students, including advising, orientations, outreach, program coordination and risk management oversight.

Dr. Peek (Sociology) wins prestigious teaching award

Congratulations to Associate Professor of Sociology Lori Peek, who received the 2014-15 Ann Gill Excellence in Teaching Award in the Tenure-Track/Tenured Faculty Category at Colorado State University (CSU). This prestigious award recognizes faculty members who are instrumental in students becoming lifelong learners, critical and creative thinkers, outstanding communicators, successful in their careers, and engaged and caring citizens in their various communities. This award was established by CSU alumnus Dennis Repp, and thanks to his generous contribution, Peek will receive a $10,000 cash award in recognition of her teaching and mentoring efforts.


Dozens of current and former students wrote letters on Peek’s behalf for this award. One nomination letter said: “I will never forget the day I met Dr. Lori Peek when she committed to our Contemporary Race and Ethnic Relations class that she would know each one of our names. That gesture was just the first of many which demonstrated her genuine passion, commitment, and care for all of her students.” Another student wrote, “Part of why this class is a favorite is because of the professor. Dr. Lori Peek may be the most enthusiastic and energetic teacher I have ever had in my 16+ years of education. I have never had a teacher individualize her teaching in a classroom of more than 120 students, but she managed to learn everyone’s name, and does so every semester.  Apart from how great Dr. Peek is, the bottom line is that the class makes you learn.” Many of the letters focused on how the classes students took inspired them to make a difference in the world: “I was fortunate to have Lori as my professor for two classes while I attended CSU. I immediately noticed she was unlike any teacher I have had. Her positive energy and contagious smile created a learning environment that students enjoyed. She had a passion and knowledge for what she was teaching; making it evident that she truly loved her job. It was refreshing to see someone with a love for teaching so much that it rubbed off on me. She inspired me to be a teacher myself. I often try to model actions Lori did that made me love coming to her class every day.”


Dr. Peek has been recognized numerous times for her research and teaching. In 2009, she received the Early Career Award for Outstanding Scholarship from the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth. Her first book, Behind the Backlash, was also selected for two major book awards. At Colorado State University, she has received the Greek Life Professor of the Year Award, the Alumni Association’s Best Teacher Award, the College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Waterpik Excellence in Education Award from CSU Athletics.


SOC 205 at Colorado State University

Reception Honoring Author Dr. Stephanie A. Malin (Sociology)

April 28, 2015 | 4pm – 6pm | 108 Johnson Hall

Stephanie A. Malin is an Assistant Professor of Sociology.

Stephanie is a sociologist of environment, globalization, and development, focusing on community-level outcomes of natural resource development.  Her main interests include environmental justice, environmental health, social mobilization, poverty, and political economy of energy development.  Stephanie examines how these variables intersect in rural communities across the American West and Northeast.

The Price of Nuclear Power: Uranium Communities and Environmental Justice (2015)