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Santa Clara University


Sociology Alumni Newsletter Letter from the Chair A very special hello from the third floor of O'Connor. We hope this letter finds you every bit as fit and lively as the sociology department, now sprinting into its fifty fifth year. And many thanks to Dr. Nichols, who over the past four years as department chair, has sustained and shaped a working environment characterized by active learning, exciting scholarship, and campus/community engagement. Perhaps more than ever before, the department is churning with research activity on a wide spectrum of sociological topics. Of special interest to alums, Shannon Gleeson (class of 2002), who is now an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, will be visiting us this year as a Ford Foundation Fellow, while she is working on a forthcoming book on immigrant communities and the law. The third floor is also bustling with student research activity, as there are more students in the Research Practicum class right now than at any time since the course was established (38 students enrolled this term). So think about us and send us your positive thoughts of encouragement! We are happy to announce that Dr. Regina DavisSowers has joined the continuing faculty of the department at the rank of Lecturer. With a complement of eight full-time faculty this year, we are offering a broad range of courses to meet student needs and interest in

the major as well as through our involvement in the core curriculum.

Inside this issue:

Dr. Westermark Retires


Newman Civic Fellow Award


AKD, Sr. Banquet, Class ‘11


Powers, Symposium, Iwamoto


Undergrad Conference


Faculty Notes


Alumni Mailbox

Since we last wrote, several alums visited classes, either in person or through skype, helping us bring the versatility and on-going relevance of sociological training to life for current students. The faculty send a special thank you to Rebecca Jones, Nicole Kemper, Jenna Lugonja, Cindi Nguyen, Randy Reyes, Kim Thomas and many others for remaining a part of the life of the department in many ways, including sharing their experiences since graduation. During 2011-12, we will be conducting some program assessment activities, with special focus on assessment of student learning outcomes. The feedback and advice we receive from alums are always extremely valuable to us in the on-going process of trying to create a departmental environment that serves the curricular and future professional needs of students, both current and alum, and the wider community in the Santa Clara tradition. Thank you for your continuing interest and support. And please do drop us a note, and stop by when you are in town. Sincerely, Charles Powers

The Krassowski Award

Witold Krassowski

The 2011 Witold Krassowski Award was presented to Jenna Juliana Lugonja for her paper titled “Latinos’ Perceived Level of Teacher Support in Economically Disadvantaged and Advantaged High Schools.” Miss Lugonja was also inducted into the Alpha Kappa Delta honor Society. Dr. Nichols & Miss Lugonja, May 2011


Dr. George Westermark Retires As many of you will remember, Dr. George Westermark, who served as the Anthropology and Sociology department chair in the 1990’s and taught a majority of the Anthropology 3 courses, is now retiring from SCU. It is with a heavy heart that we bid our colleague farewell. We wish him and his wife well as they enter into this new phase of their lives. Congratulations George!! Now go out there and enjoy that fly fishing!! Please come back and see us from time to time….you will be missed. Dr. Westermark in the field.

Laura Snowden, Sociology, Class of 2013, wins the “Newman Civic Fellow Award” Taken from “The Santa Clara”, May 1, 2011 edition

“Santa Clara University Sophomore Laura Snowden Receives Newman Civic Fellow Award for Helping to

Campus Compact honored Santa Clara University sophomore Laura Snowden with a Newman Civic Fellow Award for being an inspiring college student leader and finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

Rebuild New Orleans As a co-founder of the non-profit organization “Shirts Across America”, Snowden has been tireless in her efforts to contribute to the rebuilding efforts of New Orleans through fund raising, organizing student visits to the region, and keeping this issue a part of public dialogue. She is also a respected student leader on campus who facilitates conversations about diversity and encourages others to work for social change.

Dr. Frank Newman, one of the founders of Campus Compact, which has a tremendous impact on American education and its role in the development of citizens who are eager and prepared to make a difference. He dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform. College and university presidents nominated the best-ofthe-best, promising college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Through service, research, and advocacy, these Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

Snowden is among the 135 students from 30 states honored with this award, which was named after

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Volume XL

Alpha Kappa Delta “Alpha Mu of California” On May 5th, 2011 our sociology department celebrated the achievements of our graduating class in the Adobe Lodge. Eleven students were inducted into Alpha Mu, the Santa Clara University Chapter of the International Sociology Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Delta. Beyond receiving a teal honor cord and a one year subscription to the journal of Sociological Inquiry, inductees pledged to continue to study humankind for service, human welfare, and to solve social problems.

Our 2011 inductees are: Alexander Boll, Sarah Birrell, Amanda Brown, Jackie Flynn, Jenna Lugonja, Laura Preuss, Jacqueline Peterson, Lisa Vassiliadis, Paola Garcia, Frances Coutermarsh, and Marta Robinson. Did you know that membership in Alpha Kappa Delta meets one of the requirements for entrance at the GS-7 level in federal employment? Congratulations!

Senior Banquet


At the Sociology Senior Banquet on May 5th in the Adobe Lodge we celebrated the graduation and accomplishments of our graduating seniors. Awards and senior reflections were the highlights of the evening. Thank you to alum Lily Salinas and Sandee Chiaramonte for helping us organize the banquet and to faculty and student attendees for their presence. We look forward to the next banquet!!

A question was asked “SHARE WITH US YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW SOCIOLOGY HELPED YOU PREPARE FOR LIFE AFTER SCU?’ Sociology helped me to be well prepared for Grad School! Cindy Nguyen You have given me a lot to help me prepare but the #1 is the friends/colleagues/connections. They are life-long and I am so lucky. Thank you! -Lisa Vassiliadis The amazing Sociology Faculty have given me the positive encouragement needed to make it in this crazy world. anonymous


You have given me an outlook on life along with so many new friendships and strong relationships with amazing professors. Thank you so much for everything! -Marta Robinson You have prepared me to have the confidence I need to enter the real world!! Thank you! -Wren White

Sarah Birrell, Alexander Boll, Amanda Brown, Nicholas Cheadle, Alexandra Concannon, Frances Coutermarsh, Laura Flanagan, Sean Fleming, Nicolas Garcia, Rene Garcia, Paola Garcia-Vega, Rebecca Leon, Cassandra Limgenco, Jenna Lugonja, Rick Navarro, Cindy Nguyen, Justin Nychay, Evie-Marie O’Connor, Jacqueline Peterson, Laura Preuss, Caitlyn Remenyi, Elias Rivera, Lanesha Roberts, Marta Robinson, Melissa Rueda, Kareem Syed, Lisa Vassiliadis, Wren White, and Sergio Zepeda, Jr. Sociology

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Sociology Symposium “From Data to Delivery: Using Data for Resource Enrichment”

On Saturday, January 15, 2011 in SCU’s Benson Center Parlor B, the Class of 2011 held the first Sociology Symposium about research the students had completed in their Sociology 121 course. The day started with a welcome breakfast, then a student panel about “Digital Inequality” and another panel regarding “Aspirations and Inequalities”. By noon participants had lunch and listened to Keynote speakers Cindi Fiechtner and Karen Draper. After lunch there were two student panels on “Social Support from Groups & Families” and “Social Support from Educators”. At the conclusion participants were awarded certificates. It was a rewarding day for all!!

2011 Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence was awarded to

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Powers (The article was taken from the Provost’s website November 2011)

Student and alumni nomination letters describe the lasting impact of Chuck's teaching and mentoring, describing influence that consists of equal parts compassionate nurture and uncomfortable challenge, with the result, as one student said, that “he inspires his students to question the world around them instead of being passive bystanders.” He compels students to take intellectual risks and to reconsider their assumptions about themselves and the world they inhabit. A colleague notes, “I cannot think of any other faculty member whose entire professional efforts are so singularly focused. I have never observed a hint of concern on his part for personal career advancement or other self-oriented goals. The advancement of student knowledge, maturity, career discernment and personal character are at the heart of everything he does.” Students described his influence on their sense of themselves, their sense of the world, and, in particular, their sense of the future: “The knowledge that he imparted will impact the rest of my life.” “[He is] totally invested in the future of his students.” “He taught me that I could have a career based on service to others.” “[He] knew my work and encouraged me to push my thinking and improve my formation of research questions. His commitment to social justice and students extended beyond his classroom. Three years after graduation I still remember the content of his courses. But what I really took away was his belief that I should put the privilege of a Santa Clara diploma to work to improve the world.”

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Dr. Kichi Iwamoto on a short teaching stint in China

This is the first week of teaching in China for the “Global Citizens Teaching and Learning: Conversational English Program” at Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China (north of Shanghai). I am teaching undergraduate honor students, mostly engineering, graphic design, computer science majors. There are no social science students here. I think the Chinese do not see any real value in it for them. My TA takes me to the student cafeteria everyday, and I am enjoying a hot plate of Chinese food and a can of Sprite for about 75 cents. On Sunday the school bused us to Suzhou, a beautiful neighboring city. We had lunch and visited an ancient garden called “the humble administrator’s garden”. It covered acres of land, behind a very high wall, and he had a different place to sit in a small house for each of the seasons. He had separate sitting rooms for each of the wives, and another place for his concubine. I covered the last topic on American gender roles and it went great. They loved talking about how they wanted to improve certain characteristics of themselves, and also had to pick the three most important characteristics for a spouse. This whole teaching adventure was fantastic!! I would do it again in a heart beat!!!

Volume XL

38th Annual Western Undergraduate Conference The 38th Annual Western Undergraduate Research Conference, jointly hosted by the Departments’ of Anthropology and Sociology and this year was sponsored by the Sociology department on April 9, 2011. The Distinguished Visiting Scholar was our own alum Dr. Shannon Gleeson, now Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Shannon presented a wonderful talk titled, “Theory Building or Building Justice through Research? Lessons Learned from a Survey of Low-Wage Workers.” There were 26 exciting presentations from 10 different colleges and universities. It was a great conference, and everyone spoke highly about the level of professionalism of the presentations by top undergraduates. Research is alive and well in academia.

Ms Chiaramonte spent the summer with family and friends, busy visiting museums in California. California is rich in history and it is fun to visit and see the sights. Had a wonderful and enlightening visit to the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu. It is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. She also had a wonderful dinner by the sea at Dukes. She highly recommended it to all. Dr. Marilyn Fernandez was truly glad to be back in the classroom after being on sabbatical during the previous academic year. She taught her usual set of classes: Human Services and Quantitative Methods and Applied Statistics. She has also been working on her next book on the role that caste plays in the new Indian Information Technology sector. She continued to co-edit (along with Dr. Powers) the journal Sociological Perspectives; their co-editorship will officially end this year.


Dr. Alma M. Garcia chaired a committee to establish an interdisciplinary minor in Latin American Studies (LAS) in the College of Arts & Sciences. This new minor was approved and Dr. Garcia was appointed the program director for a three year term. She has now completed her latest book, Contested Images: Women of Color and Popular Culture (AltaMira Press, 2011). Her article, “Mexican Immigrants” was published in Multicultural American: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans (Greenwood Press, 2011). Her journal article, Latina Day Workers: Narratives from the Margins” is in the final stages of preparation for submission to the journal Gender & Society. Dr. Garcia has also started a new oral history project, “Latino/a Leaders of Silicon Valley.” She is working on this research project with Professor Francisco Jimenez, SCU, Department of Modern Languages. She continues her professional work as a member of the editorial committee for the Journal of Popular Culture.” Dr. Garcia is also working on an anthology,

"Immigrant Businesses in the United States: Entrepreneurship and Race, Class and Gender." Since many of you knew her mother, Dr. Garcia is saddened to inform you that she (Alma A. Garcia) passed away in April at the age of 90.

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Faculty and Staff Notes

Dr. Laura Nichols still enjoys teaching students across the curriculum and especially enjoys a quarter where she gets to have one class made up primarily of our fabulous majors and another class of students who have never heard of sociology before! She is also working on her research (that a number of students/alums helped with) on attrition off the premedical track and outcomes of first generation college students, as well as a Ford Foundation grant with researchers at Fairfield University and Loyola University Chicago on the resources of Jesuit schools for students who are undocumented. She also continues to maintain a Sociology Alum group in SCU's “inCircle” alumni networking site. If you haven't joined yet, please do--link at: Dr. Charles Powers was on a scholarship sabbatical last year, and he returns to campus not only as the new department chair, but excited about his sabbatical work on boundary points among divergent theoretical perspectives in sociology. His sabbatical writing is closely tied to the theme of the new core curriculum's Pathway on "Paradigm Shifts and the Nature of Human Knowing". Two of the department's courses contribute to that particular pathway. (Sociology is contributing in important and exciting ways to several of the new pathways as well as to the common requirements of the new core!) Dr. Laura Robinson is enjoying her fourth year in the Dept. This year she continues her work on digital inequalities and informational inequalities related to social reproduction. She will be teaching Soc. 49 and 149 this year. For the last two years she has enjoyed teaching Soc. 121 and publishing The Silicon Valley Notebook with students. In addition, she has worked with Sociology majors on several research projects resulting in a forthcoming publication in Explore magazine with students. Previous to joining SCU, she earned her Ph.D. at UCLA where she held a Mellon Fellowship in Latin American Studies. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow on a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation funded project. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland and received a Bourse d’Accueil at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. Her research has won awards from the American Sociological Association Computer and Information Technology Section, the Association of Internet Researchers, and the National Communication Association International and Intercultural Communication Division. She studies new Page 6

media in Brazil, France, and the United States. Robinson’s current multi-year study examines digital and informational inequalities. Other publications explore online interaction and norm building, national and collective identities, 9/11 and political violence, and cultural discourse in Brazilian, French, and American contexts. Her website is This year Dr. Sabeen Sandhu experienced a happy balance of professional and public sociology. Along with her book set for publication in the Summer of 2012, Dr. Sandhu has been presenting the applied aspects of her research. She recently spoke to two hundred incoming international students about assimilating to life in the U.S. at Santa Clara University’s International Student Service Orientation. Dr. Sandhu is happy to report that our Alums continue to see the world with a sociological imagination. In the Spring she was invited by Kylee WebberNguyen (2008 Alum) to speak about demographic diversity and changing perspectives on childhood development at the Early Horizons Preschool in Sunnyvale, California. This year Dr. Sandhu is teaching Sociology 1, 11A, 12A, 138, and 175. She is also the faculty advisor for Broncos for a Better Tomorrow and INTANDESH. On a personal note, Dr. Sandhu cannot believe that she got to visit the first Starbucks in the world at PSA this year! Dr. Sandhu sends her best wishes to all of you and hopes that you are all well, inspired, and stay in touch! Dr. Regina Davis-Sowers received a threeyear appointment as a Lecturer in Sociology. As a continuing faculty, she is excited that she can remain at SCU. Over the last three years as a Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. DavisSowers worked hard to complete at least one manuscript for publication, and in July, 2011, her article, “It Just Kind of like Falls in Your Hands: Factors that Influence Black Aunts’ Decisions to Parent Their Nieces and Nephews,” was accepted by the Journal of Black Studies. She is working on two other projects, hoping for the second manuscript to be submitted sometime during Spring, 2012. She received permission from the San-

ta Clara University Human Subjects Committee to start interviewing for another project that examines the experiences of children raised by their aunts and other relatives. She wrote a book review for the International Social Science Review, due out in November, 2011. She felt especially blessed to be asked to participate in the Christmas Program last December in the Mission Church. She was the keynote speaker at the 2011 Dinner for Seniors of African Descent, encouraging the attendees to put fears aside and soar like eagles. One of the most wonderful aspects o the last year was an invitation by Senior Troy Payne to attend the Basketball banquet. Nearly the shortest person in attendance, she sat at the table with the head coach and felt honored to be asked by a student-athlete to attend the gala. She chaired the 38th Annual Anthropology and Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference which was successful and enlightening, with many speakers coming from far and wide. She presented a paper at the American Sociological Association meetings in Las Vegas, and now she fully understands why everything done in Vegas stays there. On a personal note, Dr. DavisSowers welcomes two new twin granddaughters, Zailie and Tylie, in March 2011, as well as a new greatgranddaughter, Briana, in May, 2011. She will travel home for the holidays to meet the newest members of her expanding family. Her summer was thrilling in that she finally agreed to go camping with her husband, Douglas, and they spent three days in the Sierras, where the nights were cold but the days were beautiful. She now wishes she had gone camping sooner and cannot wait to go back. Dr. Anke Schulz newsletter shy.

Volume XL

ALUMNI MAILBOX CLASS of 1998 Congratulation to Dr. Tomas Jimenez: He receives the “2011 Distinguished Book Award from ASA’s Sociology of Latinos/as Section”. The committee wrote, “We believe that your book makes a major theoretical contribution to the sociology of Latino/as, ethnic studies and immigration studies”.

CLASS of 2003 Hieu shares some good news: “I want to thank you both again for your recommendations for the MBA graduate schools. After 6 months of preparation and deliberation, I decided that Business school and the career path I was taking was not my calling. After 5 years working in the Biopharmaceutical, corporate industry helping patients, I saw the greater need for preventative and early intervention. My experiences with community-based volunteering and learning at SCU has helped me immensely by opening doors for me in the workforce; but more importantly, it has helped me to stay connected to communities I am serving. I continue to use the skills I learned to assess the needs of my clients and to grow personally and professionally. It’s been a little over a year and I’m still working at Pacific Autism Center of Education (PACE). My role will soon change from a Developmental Therapist working directly with the children and families to a Development Associate working to help procure donations, organize volunteers/events, database management, among other responsibilities. In the past year, I saw the efficacy of early intervention in working with children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder especially through PACE’s philosophy of joining the child and helping the child to develop cognitively, socially, emotionally, etc. through play therapy. PACE is definitely a place I enjoy working because of the genuine people who truly embody the mission of the organization. I’m glad I can support this company in a different capacity aside from direct services. When I interviewed for the Development Associate position, I was ASKED to share my experiences at Santa Clara University. I mentioned how SCU connected me to different community organization/services and shared the work I did as an intern for the Santa Clara Department of Human Services, Immigrant Action Network as well as my involvement with People Acting in Community Together (PACT). These experiences were invaluable and I think were some of the deciding factors leading to the job offer. I touted not only my previous work experiences but also how Sociology at SCU emphasizes both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and one of the few programs that offer Bachelor of Science rather than Bachelor of Arts. I think my sociology degree at SCU has opened a lot of different doors for me in spite of the grim job market. I think plugging myself into different volunteer/internship opportunities and gaining work experience before I graduated helped immensely. My supervisor/friend previously at PACT is still one of my best professional references. The Executive Director at PACE is an SCU Alumni in Engineering, though I didn’t mention that in the interview nor make the alumni connection to obtain this position”.

CLASS of 2007

are affected by wage theft. I loved being back in school and am considering applying for PHD programs. As for now, I serve as the Director of Operations for the non-profit worker rights center where I began working as a Jesuit Volunteer out of college. Things are going well and I’m finding a home here in Phoenix”.

CLASS of 2009 Received an email up-date from Deniss Escorcia who writes: “Currently I’m working part-time as a Site Director for an after-school program at Columbia Middle School in Sunnyvale. I’ve been there for about 2years now. I really enjoy working there and I’ve definitely applied my sociology when it comes to managing the program and staff!”

CLASS of 2010

Martha Njie sends her regards from The Gambia where she returned in December 2010: She is the Program Coordinator at The American Corner, which fosters cultural events promoting Gambian culture and fostering the mutual cultural enrichment of our two countries. She currently runs her father's bureau de change, managing an internet cafe, working on starting a Kid's Reading Program that will help disadvantaged children to learn how to read. Rubin Dario Villa writes: “I wanted to thank you for everything you have done for me. I have recently applied to the Media Design Program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Within the MDP, the school offers a Media Design Matters track that basically brings design/innovation to realms of life (including sociology, anthropology, economics, policy etc.) and works to design to solve real issues and needs in society. Basically, this program combines my two loves: Art and Sociology. This program is very research based and the website describes the almost 60% of the program as what I learned in the Qual./Quant./Applied/Research Practicum. I am so excited to have found this program and I find out in March if I get in. I had no idea that I would ever continue a formal sociological education, but thanks to you and entire Sociology Department I am confident I prepared for the road ahead. Let me know if you have some time to get together. I will also let you know when I am around so that I can stop by and say hello. Please send my regards and love to the rest of the department (especially Powers). Thank you so much and I hope to stay in touch with you more”.

CLASS of 2011 Jenna Lugonja writes: “I was accepted to the master’s program in Criminology at Florida State”. Justin Nychay writes: “I have been interviewing with ClearSlide. ClearSlide is a relatively new company whose product is a sales delivery platform. The platform allows for a sales presentation to be viewed by both the presenter and the potential client on their computers while talking in person or over the phone. ClearSlide also enables those in sales to send their presentation to potential clients via email. Later he writes: Thank you for your help! I got the job!! When asked about going into sales and my sociology background in interviews, I replied… that for a sales person to reach a client they must understand the social relationships that influence the potential client and understanding the influence of social relationships is a major part of sociology. They were very receptive to that answer because I don’t think they’ve seen a lot of sociology majors”.

Rebecca Jones writes: I was just accepted to the Social Welfare (MSW) program at UC Berkeley”.

CLASS of 2008 Cristina Sanidad writes: “I recently graduated from ASU’s Social Justice and Human Rights Masters Program, and am working on publishing my thesis which focused on how the socio-legal climate in Maricopa County affects the state of labor for immigrant workers, and how they Sociology

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SOCIOLOGY S A NT A C LARA U N I V ER S IT Y Sociology Department Santa Clara University 500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053 Phone: 408/554-2794 Fax: 408/554-4189 E-mail:

Sociology Newsletter cas/ sociology

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR ADJUNCT LECTURERS Congratulations to long time Sociology Quarterly Adjunct Lecturer Sheila Yuter for the completion of her Ph.D. from the University of San Francisco!!! Job well done!!

David Armstrong (who teaches Sociology 49 & 149) received the Outstanding paper award for “Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning and Instructional Tools: A Qualitative Study of Undergraduate Students Use of Online Tools” His paper was presented at E-Learn 2011—World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, Honolulu, Hawaii in October 2011. “Congratulations”

Congratulations to Dan Dexheimer and his wife, Elizabeth Bishop (Class ‘07) on the birth of their son, Will.

Socio Winter 2012  

Socio Winter 2012

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