As the 2012-2013 academic year comes to a close, I’m struck by how quickly the past two semesters have gone by. Cliché as this is—we all say it each time finals week hits us with its piles of blue books and lurking deadlines—this year seems to have flown by with particularly intense speed. Perhaps that’s because our department has been bustling with exciting new projects like the Culture Lab and the Critical Race Initiative, and events and lectures such as Tim Moran’s talk for the William Form Alumni Lecture. Look for coverage of these topics, and more, in this semester’s newsletter. Continue reading
As we bring the 2012-3 academic year to a close, our department is experiencing an exciting combination of changes and achievements!
Over the past year, we have received many wonderful additions to our faculty, such as Assistant Professor Rashawn Ray, Associate Professor Liana Sayer, and Research Professor Chris Bachrach. In addition, we spent the year conducting several exciting new searches, and over the summer we will officially announce the very fruitful outcome of our efforts. Together, all these recruitments are simultaneously deepening some of the traditional strengths of our department, while opening up new areas of collaborative work and study.
Our graduate students continue to show great success. To take but two examples, Shanna Brewton-Tiayon was selected as a winner in the 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), and Kathleen Denny received a Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship. Congratulations to both, and all other graduate students in our program, for their achievements. Continue reading
In the Graduate Director’s office I see a little bit of everything. Fortunately, it is more good than bad: students winning awards, publishing their work, getting grants and fellowships, and finishing their degrees. Of course, I also see some of the downsides, such as students having a hard time with their coursework or funding, or struggling to attain a foothold in the long climb that is a dissertation.
In the process of receiving all of this news and making the small decisions of the day, I look for opportunities to give advice on more general topics as well. (Stop by and let me bore you with some today!) Here’s one piece of advice I have felt the need to deliver lately: broaden yourself.
First of all, let us say how proud we are to have served the GSF as co-presidents this past year. We are humbled to have served as the GSF’s first Black woman/ gay man leadership team. Probably. We don’t know, that’s not really something the GSF keeps track of. Regardless, we’re currently in talks with the Bravo network to parlay our administration into a reality show. While we wait to hear back from the network, though, we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the things the GSF has accomplished this year. Despite our failure to enact legislation that would mete our swift punishment for people who misuse the word “literally” (our now-infamous Lohan’s Law), we have nonetheless made some great strides during our short tenure leading the GSF.
- GSF Presidents: Joe Waggle & Denae Johnson
- Treasurer: Mandi Martinez
- Social chairs: Jenelle Clark and Lucia Lykke
- Department Information/Newsletter Representative: Anya Galli
- Graduate Student Government Representative: Tyler Crabb
- DGSAC Rep: Jonathan Jackson
- Pre-Candidacy Representative: Ann Horwitz
- PhD Representative: Kendra Barber
- Admissions Representatives: Nicole Deloatch and Joanna Kling
- Policy Committee: Joe Waggle
- Awards Committee Representative: Rachel Guo
- General Representative: Crosby Hipes
- C. Wright Mills Lounge Representative: Mandi Martinez
Many graduate students know that sound. The elevator ding at 4 a.m. on a weekday morning. An alarm clock-of-sorts welcoming us into a straight 25th hour of sleeplessness. Within minutes we hear the rustling of keys, giving us enough time to wipe any drool from our imprinted chins and slumber from our tired eyes. Then our office door is opened, entering in Elizabeth. A bit (un)surprised, Elizabeth smiles her famous smile, ever so bright, waves her finger with one hand and the other on her hip, allowing her the perfect pose for the motherly words, “Go home right now and get some rest, young lady!”
Elizabeth has always reminded me of my mother, up before the birds to provide for her family. And a picturesque mother (and grandmother) Elizabeth is! After immigrating to the U.S. from Colombia 28 years ago, Elizabeth soon after met and married her husband, who had also immigrated to Maryland from Guatemala. Together they started a family, now three sons, two daughters-in-law, and one scrumptious grandbaby.
I have been fortunate to solicit feedback on a few papers in the past year and a half from individuals at several conferences. The range of conference venues includes: the Eastern Sociological Society (ESS) meetings, a research colloquium among four universities, an ASA conference for the Development Sociology subdivision, and the Population Association of America (PAA) meetings. At each of them, it was important to be a professional through and through. This means dressing the part (collared shirt, dress pants, polished shoes, etc.), having business cards (which you can easily get through Printing Services on campus), making new connections with professors, and most importantly, being prepared for your presentation. But each venue provides unique challenges. Continue reading
Spearheaded by Professor Melissa Milkie, the Culture Lab is a training and research lab for the systematic study of culture, with a particular focus on social issues related to gender, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Professor Milkie, graduate student Kathleen Denny, and I spent last fall creating a website (http://www.theculturelab.umd.edu/) for this new venture. We interviewed several faculty and grad students working on these types of projects for input into the lab. Aiming to create a dynamic site for scholars seeking to study culture, we sought to create a resource with practical tools on how to systematically analyze cultural texts, such as newspapers, magazines, social media, videos, websites, and television broadcasts. With a particular emphasis on content analysis, we envision the site as a repository for information and supporting materials for those undertaking this method. Continue reading
We’ve all experienced them: those moments when the stresses of grad school seem too overwhelming, and we find ourselves questioning whether we’ll ever make it out of this place alive and with our dignity relatively intact.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. But every grad student knows that the road can sometimes seem very long and arduous. For that reason, it’s nice to hear the success stories of recent PhD recipients. Here are three outstanding UMD sociologists–Michelle Smirnova, Paul Dean, and Javier Garcia-Manglano–for us to look up to (and envy).
The 2013 William Form Alumni Lecture on April 26, 2013 featured Dr. Timothy Moran Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Stony Brook University, SUNY. Moran received his PhD from the University of Maryland Department of Sociology in 2000. Moran’s talk, titled “Studying Social Stratification: From Art/Soc to the World as a Whole,” covered his work in stratification and social mobility which has led to a research partnership with Dr. Patricio Korzeniewicz, the current Chair of our department.
Jonathan Jackson, a 3rd year graduate student, wrote this reflection on Moran’s talk.
I enjoyed Dr. Moran’s talk in part because it was nice to put a face to one of the many papers I had to read for comps. Moran’s research with Dr. Patricio Korzeniewicz on global inequality helped ground my overview of the topic. And as I found out, the amount of reading I had to do for my exams paled in comparison to what graduate students had to cover in the 1990s. Continue reading
Critical Race Theory is no longer only three words UMD’s sociology graduate students read about in social theory textbooks and discuss around graduate seminar tables. It’s now something that we’ve breathed alive, birthing a tangible sociological practice within our department and broader college and university community. Derrick Bell, widely known as a forerunner of Critical Race Theory, frames critical race theorists as active scholars that
… strive for a specific, more egalitarian, state of affairs. We seek to empower and include traditionally excluded views and see all-inclusive as the ideal because of our belief in collective wisdom (1995:901)**.
It’s our intention, as creators of and participants in our department’s Critical Race Initiative, to sociologically embody Bell’s words. That said, the following summarizes our Initiative’s beginnings, our recent events, and our plans for next academic year.
Fall 2012 PhD Graduates
Elizabeth “Betsy” Thorn
Spring 2013 PhD Graduates
Chang Won Lee
J. Michael Ryan
Michelle Hannah Smirnova
Gheda Khodr Temsah
Spring 2013 MA Graduates
Mistead Sai is a 2012 Sociology Major and former undergrad program rockstar. Kendra Barber, an advanced Sociology graduate student, had Mistead in two of her classes. She caught up with Mistead this semester to see what he’s up to.
What made you decide to be sociology major?
I decided to be a Sociology major because I wanted to examine and address the social inequalities in our society. During my sophomore year at the University of Maryland, I was debating on what I wanted to major in. When I was discussing the issue with a couple of my friends, they suggested I look into sociology, therefore I decided to take a couple courses during my Spring semester, which I fell in love with. I took a course on contemporary social problems instructed by Professor Kendra Barber and it opened my eyes to social inequalities. Professor Barber encouraged me to look and think critically about social problems. I left the class questioning, how I can help to alleviate social inequalities and seek out justice for folks in my personal, interpersonal, and professional life. It is been those two objectives that have been the vehicles for transforming my college experience and my future pursuits.
This semester two outstanding Senior Sociology majors—Maegan Zielinski and Tuesday Barnes— were nominated by their professors for the undergraduate spotlight. Maegan and Tuesday interviewed each other for the undergraduate spotlight.
We all know how hungry a long grading session or marathon lit review compilation can make us. To that purpose, four of our graduate students share their favorite recipes for comfort foods.
After the jump: Southwest Baked Ziti from Lori Reeder, Macaroni and Cheese from Denae Johnson, Cranberry Streusel Pie from Jenelle Clark, and Whole Lemon Bars from Anya Galli Continue reading
As incoming editress, I want to start by thanking Beverly Pratt and Meg Austin Smith for their outstanding work on the newsletter in past years. I am honored to follow in the steps of such fabulous and talented women. With so many transitions in our department this year—Dr. Patricio Korzeniewicz as incoming chair, Dr. Phillip Cohen as incoming graduate director, and the arrival of assistant professor Dr. Rashawn Ray, and an incoming graduate cohort of 17 students, to name a few—I hope this issue of the newsletter provides readers with a lively snapshot of our University of Maryland Sociology community.
In this issue, look for spotlights on 2003 alum Rose Kreider, staff member Orienta Huger, graduate student Denae Johnson, and sophomore undergraduate Christopher Quach, as well as a profile of our diverse group of new graduate students. We report on recent and upcoming events in the department, including the Rosenberg Forum and exciting goings-on with the Sociological Cinema, with a reflection from Lester Andrist, one of the editors of the site. Additionally, four faculty members offer their responses and generous advice on the topic of “balancing work and family.” This issue ventures into new territory by highlighting some of the undergraduate work happening in our department with a piece on the McDonaldization of secondary education by sophomore Clio Grillakis.
As always, I am grateful for the intellectual strength, generosity, and humor of our department community. Many thanks go to all who made this issue of the newsletter possible, especially our contributors.