Alison Anson, Environmental Sociology, selected as summer intern for LAKES program

Alison Anson, a senior Environmental Sociology major, recently learned that she was selected as a summer intern for the Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability/Research Experience for Undergraduates (LAKES) program in Wisconsin. This program aims to better understand the root causes of phosphorus pollution and solutions through cutting edge research under research mentors in biology, sociology, economics, anthropology, mathematics, geology, or communications.  Alison will be working in the Farmer Social Networks research project this summer. This research studies social capital as a resource for mitigating phosphorus pollution, and how government and non-profit organizations can better resolve environmental issues by valuing diverse human interests and working with local stakeholders to forge lasting solutions.

This was a highly competitive process, with only 10 of over 330 applicants selected for inclusion. Tremendous congratulations to Alison, and best wishes!

Jennifer Tobin-Gurley, Sociology, 2014 Beth Hess Memorial Scholarship award winner!

Congratulations to Jennifer Tobin-Gurley. She was selected as the 2014 Beth Hess Memorial Scholarship award winner.  The committee noted that Jen exudes “the qualities that Beth embodied, including: excellent scholarship and overall academic potential, especially in the areas of gender and social inequality; and a commitment to teaching, mentoring and social activism, especially in a community college setting.”


This award comes with a stipend of $15,000 from SWS (Sociologists for Women in Society), and travel support of $300 from SSSP (Society for the Study of Social Problems), to be used to support the pursuit of graduate studies, as well as one-year student memberships in SWS and SSSP. Additionally, Jen will receive complimentary registration and banquet/reception tickets for the summer meetings of SWS, SSSP and ASA (American Sociological Association) in San Francisco.


Tremendous congratulations to Jennifer for this wonderful honor!

Prabha Unnithan Named New President of Western Social Science Association

N. Prabha Unnithan, professor of Sociology at CSU, became president of the Western Social Science Association at the group’s annual conference in Albuquerque.

Unnithan, who serves as director of CSU’s Center for the Study of Crime and Justice, will oversee WSSA for the coming year. He takes over from CSU alumnus Les Alm (Ph.D. Political Science ’88), who is a distinguished professor of public administration at Boise State University.

WSSA was founded in 1958 with a mission to foster professional study, advance research and promote the teaching of social science.Its 850 members hail from throughout the western United States, Canada and Mexico.

Expanding organization’s reach

Unnithan, a Malaysian native who has been on CSU’s faculty since 1987, is an expert on violence, corrections and other criminology subjects. He hopes to expand WSSA’s reach and include more undergraduate and graduate students in the organization.

“We have always had good participation from Canada and Mexico, and now we have more Association of Borderlands Studies members from Europe and Asia and scholars from other Latin American countries participating,” he said. “WSSA is also co-sponsoring an International Conference on Behavioral & Social Science Research in Malaysia as a way of expanding the socials sciences in a developing country and region. Since I was born and raised in Malaysia (to parents who migrated from India), this is particularly gratifying to me as the organizers invited me to work with them to plan the conference in August, 2014.”

Dr. Tara Shelley, Sociology, part of a 2014-15 Research Team to be funded by SOGES

The Institutionalization of Equity and Environmental Justice at CSU: A Proposal for an Interdisciplinary Working Group. Principal Investigators: Tara O’Connor Shelley, Department of Sociology; Melinda Laituri, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; and Dimitris Stevis, Department of Political Science. This research team’s mission is to explore how and why Equity and Environmental Justice are important elements of the study of the environment, public health, and sustainability at CSU.


Congratulations Dr. Shelley!


Michael Carolan, Sociology, publishes Cheaponomics: The High Cost of Low Prices

Cheaponomics is a revelation! It uncovers the devastating truth behind the modern economy of ‘bargains’. It turns out to be like a game of global Whack-a-Mole – when prices are pushed down in one place, the real costs pop up somewhere else, often in our own backyards. Michael Carolan finishes by describing a new game that would make 99% of us better off.” – Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia and author of Growth Fetish, Affluenza and Requiem for a Species.


Do you really think you are getting a good deal when given that free mobile phone for switching service providers, if a multinational retailer undercuts its competitors or by the fact that food is relatively cheaper today in many countries than ever before?

Think again! As Michael Carolan clearly shows in this compelling book, cheapness is an illusion. The real cost of low prices is alarmingly high. It is shown for example that citizens are frequently subsidising low prices through welfare support to poorly-paid workers in their own country, or relying on the exploitation of workers in poor countries for cheap goods. Environmental pollution may not be costed into goods and services, but is paid for indirectly by people living away from its source or by future generations. Even with private cars, when the total costs of this form of mobility are tallied it proves to be an astronomically expensive model of transportation. All of these costs need to be accounted for.

The author captures these issues by the concept of “cheaponomics”. The key point is that costs and risks are socialised: we all pay for cheapness, but not at the point of purchase. Drawing on a wide range of examples and issues from over-consumption and waste to over-work, unemployment, inequality, and the depersonalising of communities, it is convincingly shown that cheapness can no longer be seen as such a bargain. Instead we need to refocus for a better sense of well-being, social justice and a balanced approach to prosperity.


For more information see

Lauren Alessi, Sociology, successfully defends Masters thesis

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Sociology Community…

Lauren Alessi successfully defended her Masters research project, “Commitment to Drug Treatment in the Czech Republic: An Application of the Investment Model,” on Friday April 4, and will be graduating in the summer. Please take the opportunity to congratulate her her if you have one.

Dr. Pete Taylor, Sociology, new Co-Editor of journal Society and Natural Resources

The Department of Sociology would like to congratulate Dr Pete Taylor for being awarded the (co-) editorship of the journal Society and Natural Resources (SNR)


SNR is a premier journal in environmental and natural resource sociology, conservation management, environmental studies, and related fields.


Congratulations to Dr. Taylor!

Sociology College to Career Panel, April 9th at 4pm

The College of Liberal Arts is pleased to present the Sociology College to Career Panel on Wednesday, April 9th. As part of the College to Career Panel series, this panel will feature three alumni from the Sociology Department who have created successful and meaningful careers with their Sociology degrees. Students, faculty, and CSU alumni are invited to attend these panels. The alumni panelists will discuss how their degrees have helped them establish their careers, offering students advice, tips, and best practices to follow when networking and applying for jobs.  A question and answer session will follow the panel.


For more information see:

Dr. Peek, Sociology, Brazil-U.S. Frontiers of Science and Engineering Symposium

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Dr. Lori Peek, Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis at Colorado State University, was recently invited to participate in the Brazil-U.S. Frontiers of Science and Engineering Symposium. This meeting was sponsored by the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

A description of this event follows, from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences website ( “Since 1989, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has organized annual symposia on Frontiers of Science. These symposia bring together some of the very best young scientists, mostly between the ages of 30-45, to discuss exciting advances and opportunities in their fields… At each symposium, approximately 25 young scientists report on current research within their disciplines to an academically trained and scientifically diverse audience. They highlight major research challenges, methodologies, and limitations to progress at the frontiers of their respective fields. All attendees participate actively in a general discussion period, during which they learn from and form and collaborative relationships with other scientists in different fields.”

Congratulations to Dr. Peek on being invited to take part in such an important and intellectually invigorating event!