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S P R I N G 2016

Four New Faculty will be Joining the Department of Sociology in Fall 2016! The department has just finished a very successful recruitment season and we’re proud to announce that four new faculty will be joining the department in Fall 2016. These new faculty will bring new perspectives, new classes, and new vitality to Illinois Sociology. They are:

Ghassan Moussawi Ghassan Moussawi joins us from Rutgers University (PhD expected Spring 2016). Ghassan’s research and teaching interests are in sex and gender, sexualities, race relations, social movements, post-colonial theory, and qualitative/interpretive methods. He has published in Sexualities, Gender, Place


Department of Sociology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 3120 Lincoln Hall, MC-454 702 South Wright Street Urbana, IL 61801

and Culture, and has a book manuscript in-progress. His dissertation examines the social space created for LGBT people in post-conflict Beirut, Lebanon.

Eunmi Mun Eunmi Mun joins us from Amherst College where she was an assistant professor of sociology (PhD Harvard University 2011). Her research and teaching interests are in gender, law and organizations, labor market institutions, and employment practices in East Asia. Her work has appeared in Social Forces, Work and Occupations and the Socioeconomic Review. Eunmi will be splitting her time as a joint appointment between the School of Labor and Employment Relations and the Department of Sociology in LAS.

Jane VanHeuvelen Jane VanHeuvelen joins us as a lecturer from Indiana University (PhD expected Spring 2016). Her research and

teaching interests are in medical sociology, health disparities, social psychology, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. In addition to her considerable field research experience in hospital settings, she has been selected for numerous teaching awards and scholarships while at Indiana.

Tom VanHeuvelen Tom VanHeuvelen joins us from Indiana University (Phd expected Spring 2016). Tom’s research is in social inequality, globalization, sociology of religion, political, and comparative historical sociology. He’s written extensively on the role of religion and within-group changes in rising national and cross-national inequality and brings extensive teaching experience in data management and quantitative analysis. Please extend a big welcome to our new faculty who will help keep Illinois Sociology great!

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Meet the New Faculty


2 Faculty Spotlight

Department Spotlight 3



Professor Assata Zerai “Makes a Difference” Providing Leadership in Diversity Professor Assata Zerai was presented with the Larine Y. Cowan “Make a Difference” Leadership in Diversity Award at the University of Illinois in November 2015. She has provided leadership in diversity in multiple realms on campus, but her experiences at the Graduate College prompted this distinguished recognition. Zerai currently serves as Associate Dean for Educational Equity programs (EEP), and her portfolio includes serving as chair of the Graduate College Fellowship board. She works in conjunction with a highly capable staff to deliver large programs at the University of Illinois to increase the numbers of underrepresented students applying for and enrolling in our graduate programs, such as Aspire (the GC Campus Visit and Early application program), the Community of Scholars program (fall campus visit program), the Summer Pre-doctoral Institute, the Illinois Summer Research Symposium, and the Illinois Summer Research Opportunities Program. EEP also provides many opportunities for professional development to current underrepresented minority (URM) students at the University of Illinois, including offering three annual conferences/symposia for students to present their research. And last year, Zerai began a new program to celebrate the

at Dartmouth Medical School along with residency and fellowship in General Internal Medicine at Harvard University (1993-2000). His research and policy interests have focused primarily on improving quality of health care and health outcomes, particularly with respect to reducing racial/ethnic, SES, and gender gaps in care. He has worked extensively with regional and national health care delivery systems and policy makers conducting translational research projects designed to address gaps in health care and health outcomes.

Professor Assata Zerai receives the Larine Y. Cowan “Make a Difference” Leadership in Diversity Award at the I-Hotel in Novemeber, 2015.

accomplishments of URM during the annual Graduate Student Appreciation week. Most recently as Associate Dean in the Grad College, Zerai has worked with colleagues to establish an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation University Center of Exemplary Mentoring. They were awarded $1M to increase numbers of graduate students underrepresented in in 18 STEM programs on campus. The Sloan UCEM at the University of Illinois will increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields by 50 over a three-year period.

McDermott Receives Grant from Russell Sage

Professor Monica McDermott

Sociology Alumni Dr. Allen Fremont Gives Keynote at AKD Induction Ceremony in Fall 2015

In December 2015, our very own Professor Monica McDermott was awarded the Inequality, Diversity and Working-Class Attitudes Grant from the Russell Sage Foundation. Her focus point for the project was based on what political scientists have theorized, which is that the shift of many white workingclass voters from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party may be related to the Democrats’ association with black Americans and ethnic minorities. Sociologist Monica McDermott and other participants, social psychologists Eric

Knowles and Jennifer Richeson, have conducted a series of experiments to investigate the reactions of workingclass whites to conditions in which their relative social disadvantages are highlighted and in which the growth and visibility of racial and ethnic minorities is made salient. The experiments were followed by a qualitative study of working-class residents and community leaders, in three strategically selected communities, to learn about their reactions to increasing racial and ethnic diversity. Professor McDermott was awarded $114,316. Kudos Professor McDermott!

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Alumni Dr. Allen M. Fremont (far left) and Head of the Department of Sociology Professor Kevin Leicht (far right, rear) stand with AKD inductees in Decemeber. Inductees are (Back row, from left to right:) Alexander Horton, Jameycia Jenkins, Lauren Capizzi, Quinn Crowley, Sara Helwink, Dessiree Malone and (front row from left to right:) Pei Chia, Sean Scopelliti, and Jaqueline Resnick.

In December 2015, the Department of Sociology and the Gamma Chapter (University of Illinois) of Alpha Kappa Delta International Honors Society for Sociology (AKD) hosted alumni Allen M. Fremont, Ph.D. M.D. of the RAND Corporation. Dr. Fremont gave the Keynote Address at the December 5th AKD Induction Ceremony in which eleven new members were inducted in front of their families and faculty members. Dr. Fremont also gave a more informal talk the day before titled, “A Conversa-

The Induction Ceremony sought to

tion about Sociology Careers outside of Academia” for undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Sociology.

acknowledge our Fall 2015 and Spring 2015 Initiates. Fall 2015 Initiates: Lauren V Capizzi, Pei Qi Chia, Quinn William Crowley, Emily Forbes, Ashai (Sunny) Kato, Hannah Nicole Nobbe, Dr. Fremont is a Sociologist and Anwen Jane Parrott, Jacqueline Physician based at the RAND CorR Resnick, Sean Anthony Scoporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan pelliti, Adam A Sidor, and Erika think tank, and has academic appoint- Teresa Weir. Spring 2015 Initiments at University of California, Los ates: Chengyu Fang, Sara Ann Angeles, and the West Los Angeles Helwink, Alexander Khalif Horton, Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He Jameycia Janae Jenkins, Annie earned his PhD. in Sociology in 1993 Hall Jones, Dessiree Monique at the University of Illinois-Urbana Malone, and Alexander Michael Champaign and his medical degree Rennolett.

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Stay In Touch 4 Do you have internship opportunities for Sociology undergraduates? Sociology students possess several skills your organization may be looking for in an intern: written and oral communication skills, computer/ technical skills, leadership, teamwork, global competency, diversity awareness, and research/statistics. If your business or organization has potential internship opportunities, please let us know. If you cannot attend our Internship Fair, we can promote your opportunity on our website. Please email: with your opportunity or any questions you may have about the program.

Support Illinois Sociology! The Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois welcomes donations and contributions to the Sociology Department Annual Fund. These funds are earmarked for helping the department carry out its mission of enhancing undergraduate and graduate education; granting awards and scholarships to students; facilitating the recruitment of outstanding scholars; putting on conferences of note; and extending the breadth and reach of our outreach programs and projects. If you or someone you know are interested in contributing to our broad range of activities, please contact us at (217) 333-1950 or at Or, donate online at: where you can also download a printable PDF form to mail in your donation if you prefer.

We want to hear from you! Mail us your contact information, or enter it online at Please mail to: Department of Sociology, 3120 Lincoln Hall MC454, 702 S. Wright St, MC 454, Urbana, Il 61801 Name_______________________________________ Year graduated________ Degree granted ___________ Email address ______________________________ Phone number___________________________________ Physical address_____________________________________________________________________________ Current position______________________________ Organization/institution__________________________ Milestones/accomplishments__________________________________________________________________ Comments________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________


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Spring 2016  

University of Illinois Department of Sociology Spring 2016 Newsletter

Spring 2016  

University of Illinois Department of Sociology Spring 2016 Newsletter