Dear Sociology Community, Alumni, and Friends,
As the spring season blooms around us, we are excited to share the latest news and updates from our department. Thanks to your ongoing support, we have been able to achieve significant milestones and make noteworthy contributions in our field. In this edition of our newsletter, we'll highlight some of our recent achievements, upcoming events, and initiatives that are shaping the future of our department. We hope that you enjoy reading about the impact of your continued generosity and involvement.
First, we acknowledge the achievements of our seniors and extend an invitation to join us in celebrating their success! Our senior Sociology majors and minors have been well-recognized for all of their accomplishments this spring, with several receiving some of the highest University awards! Angel Lin was selected as the University Valedictorian for her outstanding academic achievement and University service. Judith Li was awarded the Saint Clare Medal for her outstanding academic performance, school activities, personal character, and constructive contribution to the University. Jessica Cuellar was presented the Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. Award for exemplifying the ideals of Jesuit education and being “a whole person of solidarity in the real world.” Grace Leete was one of the winners of the Richard J. Riordan Award for outstanding community service. Minor Anna Murrin was one of the winners of the Student Life Award for her incredible contributions to the SCU Wellness Center and supporting programs for student mental health. Ana Martinez was awarded the 2023 Hoefer Undergraduate Writing Prize in the category of student and faculty jointly-authored essay for her work on a manuscript on climate change, disasters, and disability.
Congratulations to all of our graduating Sociology Majors: Jocelyn Anaya Galvan; Sofia Basilo; Jessica Cuellar; Johana Cuevas; Gideon Devendra; Nina Foguet; Maria Garcia; Adelaide Hanson; Vaneysha Hicks; Jessie Hill; Megan Imai; Audrey Isackson; William Lai; Grace Leete; Georgia Lewis; Judith Li; Angel Lin; Anthony Locatelli; Eduardo Lopez Perez; Ana Martinez; Cathy Moya; Kiara Nevarez Garcia; Angelica Nuñez; Emily Pachoud; Celeste Perales; Anthony Ramos Flores; John Robertson; Sonali Sidhu; Aimee Truscott; and Karen Walker Valenzuela
We hosted a special dinner on May 12 to celebrate these exceptional graduating seniors and announce our annual awards. Read about all of our awards later in the newsletter!
And a big congratulations as well to our graduating Sociology Minors: Delali Dzikunu; Maia Foelsch; Ann Jacob; Jessica Jordan; Kathleen Mahoney; Christine Mok; Anna Murrin; Lauren Neri; Cameren Rodriguez; Meghna Shankar; Elizabeth Stern; Phoebe Tanuwidjaja; and David Whitlock.
Our faculty have been busy this spring–please see their news below.
Cara Chiaraluce has been finishing her manuscript on the intensification of carework to be published with Rutgers University Press, and was invited to serve as a panelist on an American Sociology Association (ASA) webinar titled “Internship Programs for Undergrads.”
Di Di has been working on her project on religion and ethics in tech companies in China and the US. This year, she published an article, “Ethical ambiguity and complexity: tech workers’ perceptions of big data ethics in China and the US” in Information, Communication, and Society. She hopes to introduce a new course on spirituality and diversity next year.
Maggie Hunter is finishing her first year at SCU and has enjoyed it tremendously. She has been working in the Dean’s Office on DEI Initiatives such as the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty, equitable access to honor societies for students, and improving faculty mentoring. She recently published a book chapter, “Educational Ecosystems for Equity” in the Handbook for Academic Deans and she hopes to introduce a new Sociology course next year titled, “Body Politics: Race, Class & Gender.”
Molly M. King has been continuing her work on knowledge inequalities. Most recently, she published a co-authored article in Nature Human Behavior on the ways that algorithms misgender and misrecognize race/ethnicity of people. This year, she also published an article with coauthor senior Sociology major Megan Imai on the benefits and challenges of faculty-student research collaborations: “The Undergraduate RA: Benefits and Challenges for Sociology Faculty and Research Assistants” in the journal Teaching Sociology.
Patrick Lopez-Aguado has been presenting his research on gang labeling to public defenders throughout California and is developing a new project on how carceral identities change over time as they spread out from penal settings. He is excited for his paper “The Social Construction of the American Street Gang” to be published this year.
Laura Robinson has been enjoying her work with Miller Center Fellows including a number of Sociology majors! According to Robinson, it is exciting to see sociology research methods come alive to solve pressing problems around the globe from clean water to supporting artisans to agricultural innovation for social impact. In addition Robinson continues to mentor current and former students as they pursue careers and enter graduate programs, one of the most fulfilling parts of the teacher-scholar mission animating our department and university community!
Laura Nichols has presented the results of her research on the middle school to college trajectories of aspiring first-generation college students as a keynoter for the national network of nativity schools (Nativity Miguel Coalition) and Nativity Prep in San Diego, as well as the results of her analyses of the rates of Catholic colleges and universities enrolling first-generation and Pell eligible undergraduate students. She has so appreciated the generosity of our alum this academic year, sharing their expertise and advice with our current students.
We extend our thanks and appreciation to Professor Laura Robinson for her service as Department Chair over the past year and a half. Robinson’s shepherding of our department into the new post-pandemic normal has played a pivotal role in keeping our students supported and engaged and our department moving forward by revitalizing our Visiting Scholars Program and providing numerous opportunities for faculty and students to engage in the development of new courses, in research, and in professional development. Long-time department member, Laura Nichols, will start a three-year term as chair in the Fall of 2023.
Finally, we honor Professor Emerita Alma M. García who is retiring after over 40 years of service to the SCU Department of Sociology, as well as Latin American Studies and Ethnic Studies. Please see the tribute in our newsletter celebrating her career and lifetime contributions to our department, university, and the greater field. We also recognize Dr. Katia Moles’ service to the department as she takes on a new role in the School of Engineering.
We are tremendously grateful to our alumni and donors for their unwavering support. Your generosity has enabled us to continue providing exceptional education and research opportunities to our students and faculty. Thank you for your commitment to our institution and for making a meaningful impact on the lives of our community.
The SCU Sociology Department