Professor's Interest in Sociology started at SCU
Teresa Ciabattari ’94, professor at Pacific Lutheran University, is currently the Director of Research, Professional Development, and Academic Affairs at the American Sociological Association
"I started at SCU in 1991, without a clear idea of what I wanted to study. I was attracted to so many different fields, and for the first year and a half of my studies, I jumped from majors in French, Childhood Development, Psychology, and Combined Sciences. Then, to fulfill a general education requirement, I enrolled in Introduction to Sociology with Professor Marilyn Fernandez, and my entire life path was altered. Within weeks, I was hooked. Sociology gave me the language and skills to investigate so many of the questions I had been struggling to answer. Thanks to Dr. Fernandez’s mentoring and support, I attended graduate school at the University of Washington, where I studied family demography. As a professor at Pacific Lutheran University, my work focuses on the ways that families in the U.S. are shaped by broader gender, racial, and class inequalities. I have published articles on gender inequality in families, family change, and work-family conflict. I also wrote a textbook for courses on the sociology of families. I was frustrated that most textbooks in the field treated race, gender, and sexuality as special cases, rather than central parts of family experiences and opportunities. So, I decided to write a book that integrated family diversity throughout.
In July 2018, I took a leave from PLU to become the Director of Research, Professional Development, and Academic Affairs at the American Sociological Association. In this role, I support sociology departments across the country in curricular development, gather and present data on the field of sociology, and provide professional development for sociologists working in academia, government, non-profits, and industry. It has been very rewarding to be able to advance the field of sociology in this way.
The world needs more sociology -- more people who can think critically about complex social problems, see connections between individuals and broader social structures, and advocate for social change. I hope that all undergraduate students will take advantage of the opportunities to learn new perspectives, read some things they might not otherwise read, and apply their sociological skills outside the classroom. Be intentional about how you use your time in college -- do an internship, contribute to the community, take time to reflect on your values, goals, and pathways. The world will be a better place for your contributions to it."