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Department of Sociology Fall 2017 | Commencement Edition Saturday, June 17, 2017

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Commencement 2017 Ph.D. Recipients Letter from the Chair New Faculty TA Awards New Grad Cohort Recent Publications Staff Spotlight News & Achievements Thank You

Faculty, families, and friends gathered in Wilson Plaza to recognize and honor the achievements of the Class of 2017. Darnell Hunt, Professor & Dean of Social Sciences, opened the ceremony, followed by the ‘Voices of the Class of 2017’ with speeches from students Nancy Nguyen, Rosie Rios, and Andrew Winn. In his commencement speech, Keynote Speaker Tim Harris received laughs and applause with his self-deprecating humor and perfect comedic timing. Harris, a UCLA Sociology alumnus and member of the UCLA Athletics Department Hall of Fame, currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Lakers. Once a disinterested student, Harris found a way to combine his love of soccer with his desire to express his expanding intellect. He shared with the crowd three important lessons: Don’t be afraid to fail, cultivate your relationships, and live in the moment. After telling a crushing story about losing his chance to play as a goalkeeper in the 1984 Olympic Games, Harris encouraged the audience to dream big and to share those dreams with others. According to Harris, “If you aren’t failing every now and then, you aren’t risking enough.” He then encouraged the graduates to take a moment to think about the journey they had made, and the barriers they had to overcome in order to succeed. By reflecting on their hard work and perseverance, the students could truly appreciate the moment and take pride in their accomplishments. Congratulations, Class of 2017!

UCLA Sociology Alumnus, Dr. Susila Gurusami

Alumni of the Class of 2017


Commencement 2017

Voices of the Class of 2017 (left to right): Andrew Winn, Rosie Rios, & Nancy Nguyen

Darnell Hunt, Dean of Social Sciences

Associate Professor Ed Walker & Professor Min Zhou


Dr. Zsuzsa Berend with the 2017 Honors Cohort

Commencement Speaker Tim Harris

Professor Stefan Timmermans


Commencement 2017

Ph.D. Recipients Susila Gurusami w as hooded by Professor Vilma Ortiz. Her dissertation title was "Deprivation and Depravation: Moral Policing of Formerly Incarcerated Black Women.” Susila accepted the following two positions: Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Riverside Department of Sociology & Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto (starting 2018).

Molly Jacobs w as h o o ded by Professor Rebecca Emigh. Her dissertation title was "Infighting at the Fringe: How Fields Shape Conflict and Organizational Outcomes in Social Movements.” Molly is currently a Lecturer at UCLA.

Michael Siciliano w as hooded by Assistant Professor Stefan Bargheer. His dissertation title was "Creative Control: New Relations of Technology, Labor, and Management in U.S. Culture Industries.” Michael is currently a Lecturer at UCLA.

Irene Vega w as hooded by Professor Vilma Ortiz. Her dissertation title was "Legitimacy, Morality, and Criminality: The Occupational Culture of U.S. Border Patrol Agents.” Irene accepted the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in Criminology, Law and Society at UC Irvine.

Eli Wilson w as hooded by Professor Ruben HernanezLeon. His dissertation title was "Serving Across the Divide: Race, Class, and the Production of Restaurant Service in Los Angeles.” Eli is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UCLA.

Terrell Winder w as ho o ded by Associate Professor Marcus Hunter. His dissertation title was "Making Black & Gay Okay: Unspoiling Identity Among Young Black Gay Men in Los Angeles.” Terrell is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Syracuse University.


Dr. Terrell Winder & Dr. Susila Gurusami with their advisor, Professor Stefan Timmermans

Dr. Molly Jacobs with her advisor, Professor Rebecca Emigh

Dr. Eli Wilson with his advisors, Professor Ruben Hernandez-Leon and Distinguished Professor Roger Waldinger

Dr. Michael Siciliano with his advisor, Assistant Professor Stefan Bargheer

Dr. Irene Vega with her advisor, Professor Vilma Ortiz

From left to right: Michael Siciliano, Eli Wilson, Irene Vega, Tim Harris (Commencement Speaker), Molly Jacobs, Terrell Winder, & Susila Gurusami


Letter from the Chair Dear Friends, I am thrilled to be stepping into the role of Sociology Department Chair this year! As you can see from our newsletter, it has been another exciting year in our Department. We are delighted to welcome our newest faculty member, Michael Gaddis, who joins us after spending several years on the faculty at Pennsylvania State University. Professor Gaddis’s research focuses on racial discrimination and educational inequality. In some of his most recent work, Professor Gaddis investigates the influence of racial discrimination on neighborhood choice and the ways in which educational credentials can reduce —or magnify — racial discrimination. Our Department has been humming with activity in recent months as we work to recruit other new faculty colleagues. So stay tuned… Both our graduate and undergraduate programs continue to thrive! We are excited to welcome our new incoming cohort of 13 graduate students. These students, selected from more than 250 applicants, have wide-ranging interests spanning the discipline of sociology. They are joining us from as far as Chile and as nearby as our own Westwood. Our number of undergraduate majors has now grown to a whopping 1,352 students! Most importantly, these students report high levels of satisfaction with their UCLA experience. Nine out of 10 senior sociology majors report being satisfied or very satisfied with their overall academic experiences. Ninety-three percent of our majors report being satisfied or very satisfied with the curriculum in our major, 91 percent report being satisfied or very satisfied with the accessibility of our faculty, 92 percent report being satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of faculty instruction, and an amazing 94 percent

report being satisfied or very satisfied by the level of intellectual challenge they received from our faculty. The exceptional quality of instruction at UCLA Sociology was also recently recognized by our colleagues across campus. Our Department was honored to receive two major teaching awards in 2017. Professor Abigail Saguy was one of only six faculty members campus-wide to receive the UCLA Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Sociology graduate student Aaron Crawford received the equally coveted Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award. Saguy and Crawford officially received their awards last month in a celebration held at the Chancellor’s residence.

Finally, our Department continues to sponsor many events across campus. We are particularly proud of the continued success of our departmental working group program, which brings faculty and students together to sponsor speakers, share works in progress, and discuss the latest research in our discipline. This year we were able to fund activities by 11 working groups representing subfields ranging from International Migration, Gender and Sexuality, to Computational Sociology. I hope you will join us at one or more of these events (for scheduling, see: events). We look forward to connecting with you!

Megan Sweeney, Department Chair


Now Introducing: Assistant Professor Michael Gaddis Michael Gaddis was born in Atlanta, GA and paid attention to the poverty, race relations, and education inequality that occurred within his family and community. When Michael reached middle school, his family experienced some upward mobility and moved to the suburbs and one of the best public school districts in the state — an area represented by Newt Gingrich at the time. By the time he reached high school, the state legislature and Governor Zell Miller created the HOPE Scholarship, giving Michael the opportunity to attend the University of Georgia tuition free. After experiencing some intellectual boredom, Michael dropped out of college for a few years and worked as a coder at Lockheed Martin. When he realized his opportunities for advancement were limited without a college degree, Michael re-enrolled in college and spent one year at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta. At GSU, Michael took a number of sociology courses and realized his calling thanks to Dr. Jim Ainsworth. Michael returned to the University of Georgia and earned a B.B.A. in Management Information Systems and an A.B. in sociology a mere nine years after he originally started college. Michael received his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. For his dissertation, he implemented an audit study to examine the effects of educational credentials, race, and gender on call-backs for job interviews. For this research, Michael received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. One article from this work has been published in Social Forces. After leaving UNC, Michael spent the following two years at the University of Michigan as a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research studying mental health among college students. Before coming to UCLA, Michael was an assistant professor of sociology and demography at Penn State University. Michael and his wife Carrie recently had their first child, Arlo, who is nearly six months old. Arlo is enjoying the warm and sunny climate of L.A. Michael and Carrie hope Arlo never has to live through a gray, snowy, bone-chilling winter of the mid-west or northeast. The Fox/Gaddis clan lives in Silver Lake. They welcome visitors to hang out, play games, and partake in the wonderful bars and restaurants of the east side.


Teaching Assistant Awards Every year the Department of Sociology and the Sociology Graduate Student Association (SGSA) honor the graduate students who have received consistently high evaluation scores and noteworthy remarks from their students with the Excellence in Teaching Award. The winners this year were: Abraham Calderon Elizabeth Gonzalez Paul Martinez Kyle Nelson (right) Gary Yeritsian (left)

Rebecca DiBennardo Andrew Herman Oscar Mayorga J Shim Daniel Zipp

Rocio Garcia Andrew Le Austin Mitchell Emily Yen

The Peter Kollock Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for the most outstanding TA was presented to Elizabeth Gonzalez. Teaching assistants are nominated by the Sociology Undergraduate Association (SUA), with consideration of their teaching evaluation scores and how much they taught throughout the year.

Elizabeth Gonzalez accepting her award from Professor Tanya Stivers


2016-17 Graduate Cohort

Back Row: Anthony Williams, Jorge Mancillas, Oscar Contreras, Zep Kalb Middle Row: Saskia Maltz, Kali Tambree, Arthur Wang Front Row: Josefina Flores Morales, Kristella Montiegel, Harleen Kaur, Angela Clague, Qiaoyan Rosenberg, & Pablo Geraldo Angela Clague is interested in war, violence, and issues facing military and veteran communities. She obtained her B.A. degree in Sociology from Columbia University where she focused on quantitative methods. Prior to coming to UCLA, she worked for the RAND Corporation where she contributed to interview-based and mixed method projects on veteran healthcare and employment, military family violence and sexual assault programs, and recruiting and retention concerns in the military context. She enjoys yoga, hiking, fine arts, and relaxing with her British Shorthair.

Josefina Flores Morales is originally from Mexico and grew up in the LA area. She transferred from the University of Wisconsin, Madison's Sociology PhD program. Her research interests include immigration and inequality. She is currently using demographic and ethnographic methods to study aging among immigrants with a focus on undocumented migrants. Her work has been supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute for Humane Studies. Outside of the academia, she enjoys learning from her 8-year-old brother, dancing salsa, and playing soccer.


2016-17 Graduate Cohort Pablo Geraldo is from Iquique, Chile and received his B.A .in History and MA in Sociology from the Catholic University of Chile. He has worked in Educational Research for Chilean Government and Public Policy related to Technical and Vocational Education. His interests are Social Stratification, Education and Labor Market, and Quantitative Methods. Currently, he is trying to survive Judo lessons.

Zep Kalb is interested in class, contentious politics, and development in the global South. A graduate from Oxford, he worked in Iran as a business journalist for a local newspaper and finished a master’s in Political Science at the University of Tehran. Not less importantly, Zep loves long-distance cycling, and hopes to acquire some surfing skills while at UCLA, too.

Harleen Kaur is a 2015 graduate of the University of Michigan, where she received a B.A. in English. Upon graduating, Harleen spent 10 months traveling solo through 15 countries as a Bonderman Fellow, with the hope of gaining context for her desire to create community-driven improvements for U.S. policy. During her time at UCLA, Harleen will continue broadening the narrative of diasporic identity, seeking to contrast the experiences of immigrant communities in the West and those outside of it. Through this, she hopes to demonstrate how U.S. policy and government creates a uniquely traumatic experience for communities of color, in that they understand their collective identity primarily through the frame of trauma.

Saskia Maltz is originally from London, England. She earned her B.A. in Sociology from UCLA. Her academic interests center on interaction in institutional settings, primarily in sites of healthcare delivery, and include the sociology of knowledge, science, technology, work and disability. At present, she is focusing on collaboration between doctors and families in the interpretation of inpatient medical tests. This year she also plans to finish Octavia Butler’s Patternist series and go snowshoeing.

Jorge D. Mancillas completed his B.A. in Sociology at UC Berkeley in 2017. He has a broad interest in urban ethnography, culture, stratification and works closely with the Underground Scholars Initiative, a UC-wide student organization for formerly incarcerated and criminal justice system-impacted students.

Kristella Montiegel was born in Manila, Philippines, but was raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she received her B.A. in Communication from Coastal Carolina University. Before coming to UCLA, she was living in Portland, Oregon, completing her M.S. in Communication at Portland State University. Her main research interests are in conversation analysis, broadcast media, and the construction of social identities and relationships through everyday talk.


2016-17 Graduate Cohort Qiaoyan Rosenberg is from Qingdao, China. She earned her B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from Qingdao University, China. Her M.A. was in Globalization and Cultural Studies from Kobe University, Japan. Her research interests include international migration, migrant labor in East Asia, globalization, and businessstate relationship in China. In her daily life, she likes running, cooking, and watching movies.

Kali Tambree graduated from Vassar College in 2017 with a major in sociology and a minor in Africana Studies. Her work focuses on the Middle Passage, specifically enslaved Africans who choose to jump off of the ship as it is in transit across the Atlantic. She hopes to trouble dichotomous representations of life and death, and pursue an understanding of Atlantic communities that is otherwise not documented in the Archive. She is from Baltimore.

Arthur Wang is a LA native through and through, having attended UCLA for his B.A. in sociology and lived in the nearby San Gabriel Valley growing up. His broad interests are in race and ethnicity, migration, and education; these include topics such as Asian American ethnoburbs and higher education finance. He is an avid video gamer, occasional cyclist, and compulsive reader of articles of all kinds.

Anthony Williams is from Vacaville, CA and received his B.A. in Sociology, Theatre, and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley in 2016. His research takes a qualitative approach and an intersectional lens to examine social movements and mass incarceration in the U.S. He fights for historically marginalized populations (Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, trans, disabled) and BeyoncĂŠ.


Recent Publications Contemporary Chinese Diasporas By Min


This book focuses on international migration among the Chinese. Long before European colonists set foot on the Asian continent, the Chinese moved across sea and land, seasonally or permanently, to other parts of Asia and the rest of the world to pursue economic opportunities and alternative means of livelihood. This volume addresses the new Chinese diasporas around the world, offering a snapshot of the cosmopolitan and shifting nature of Chinese population dynamics from the perspectives of anthropologists, sociologists, and scholars of international studies.

A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran By Kevan


For decades, political observers and pundits have characterized the Islamic Republic of Iran as an ideologically rigid state on the verge of collapse, exclusively connected to a narrow social base. In A Social Revolution, Kevan Harris convincingly demonstrates how they are wrong. Previous studies ignore the forceful consequences of three decades of social change following the 1979 revolution. Today, more people in the country are connected to welfare and social policy institutions than to any other form of state organization. In fact, much of Iran’s current political turbulence is the result of the success of these social welfare programs, which have created newly educated and mobilized social classes advocating for change. Based on extensive fieldwork conducted in Iran, Harris shows how the revolutionary regime endured through the expansion of health, education, and aid programs that have both embedded the state in everyday life and empowered its challengers. This focus on the social policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran opens a new line of inquiry into the study of welfare states in countries where they are often overlooked or ignored.


Staff Spotlight Natalie Dickson Student Affairs Officer Natalie Dickson joined the Sociology Department earlier this year, in June 2017, after completing her graduate program in Public Health and African Studies. She was born and raised in Oklahoma, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Oklahoma in Anthropology and African & African-American Studies. She is a firstgeneration college student, and a McNair Scholar. Her research interests include the evolutionary history of HIV and combination programs to prevent HIV in East Africa. As an undergraduate she studied abroad in Northern Tanzania in 2013, and in 2015 she interned at Population Council in Nairobi, Kenya for 3 months. She returned to Tanzania for a 5-week research project in 2016, and is currently planning a trip back to Kenya in 2018. She speaks a bit of Kiswahili (and is in desperate need of a practice partner!), and tries to stay up-to-date on the latest research and prevention programs in the region. Natalie was an assistant manager at a local restaurant in Oklahoma from 2010-2012, and has worked in Student and Academic Affairs since 2012. As an undergraduate she worked for Housing and Food at the University of Oklahoma, and became a College Academic Mentor (CAM) for College Academic Counseling at UCLA in 2015. As a CAM she provided academic and pre-health/pre-med counseling, and advice on graduate school to hundreds of students at UCLA. She is a strong supporter of study abroad and interdisciplinary work across the north/south campus “divide.” She is married to her high school sweetheart, Montel, and together they have a sweet tabby cat named Bubby. She is an extreme-couponer and loves to cook, bake, and ride motorcycles. She plans to travel with her husband to Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Bali, and Austria over the next 5 years.


News & Achievements Faculty

Professor Jennie Brand has been elected to the ASA as Chair of the Methodology section. She was also featured in a WalletHub article titled “Best and Worst States to Have a baby.”

Assistant Professor Karida Brown’s dissertation, "Before They Were Diamonds: The Intergenerational Migration of Kentucky's Coal Camp Blacks", was selected as the best dissertation by the 2017 ASA Dissertation Award Committee.

She was also part of a team that received an $877k, three-year grant from Mellon Foundation. The project, “Building a Model for All Users: Transforming Archive Collections through Community-Driven Archives,” is related to Professor Brown’s on-going work on African American migration from Eastern Kentucky.

Distinguished Professor Rogers Brubaker’s op-ed piece titled “The Uproar Over ‘Transracialism’” was published in the New York Times.

Assistant Professor Michael Gaddis’ research on names and the measurement of racial discrimination was the focus of a recent piece in UCLA Newsroom.

Assistant Professor Kevan Harris’ Iran Social Survey was the subject of a recent article in Foreign Policy. He was also interviewed by the Scholars Strategy Network on the Iranian election and long-term social change after the 1979 revolution.

Associate Professor Marcus Hunter published an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee on the effects of the GOP proposed tax plan on California’s homeless and working families.

Distinguished Professor Gail Kligman was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Both the “laudatio” by Professor Marius Lazar of the UBB Sociology Department and her speech will be published this summer in English in Studia Sociologia. While in Romania, Professor Kligman was also interviewed in Romanian by the cultural journal Sinteza.


…Continued Associate Professor Gabriel Rossman published an article in the National Review titled “Elite High Schools Plot to Undermine College Admissions.” His article, “How Ratings and Awards Do (and Don’t) Benefit Companies” was published in Harvard Business Review. In partnership with Joseph Cuhen of CUNY Queens College and Leslie Hinkson of Georgetown University, Professor Rossman published a website called TheAnnexPodcast featuring a sociology-themed podcast.

Professor Abigail Saguy was quoted in a recent New York Times article about Gabrielle Deydier’s memoir of growing up fat in France, a article about the social stigma associated with being obese, and a Christian Science Monitor piece about body size diversity. She was featured in a 14-minute interview with radio station WBEZ Chicago on the global problem of workplace sexual harassment. Professor Saguy was also awarded three years of funding from the National Science Foundation for her project titled, "How difference matters in the development of legal doctrine." The project is collaborative with Juliet Williams, UCLA Professor of Gender Studies and Chair of the Social Science Interdisciplinary Program.

Professor Judith Seltzer has been appointed to the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine for a 3-year term, which officially began July 1. The committee works to foster better measurement and understanding of a wide range of issues including the economy, public health, immigration, the environment, and crime.

Distinguished Professor Roger Waldinger’s work was cited in a New Yorker article titled, “The Limits of Diversity.” His work was also profiled in the Spring 2017 edition of UCLA Blueprint and in UCLA's online newsroom.

Professor Min Zhou published a new book titled Contemporary Chinese Diasporas. She also won the Distinguished Career Award from the ASA Section on International Migration. Her book, The Asian American Achievement Paradox also won the 2017 Association for Asian American Studies Award for Best Book in the Social Sciences. She was also featured in WalletHub's recent piece about the most and least educated cities in America.


News & Achievements

Graduate Students

Aaron Crawford was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants.

Deisy Del Real was awarded the National Science Foundation’s Sociology Program's Dissertation Research Improvement Award for her research: "Why do Most South American Countries Legalize Intra-Regional Migrants and Give Them Rights? The Case of Mercosur."

Amelia Hill was elected to the ASA as Student Council Member of the Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis section.

Chiara Galli published her paper, "A Rite of Reverse Passage: The Construction of Youth Migration in the US Asylum Process" in Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Tahseen Shams accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto

Emily Yen was elected to the ASA as Student Council Member of the Community and Urban Sociology section. She was also named one of the inaugural Port of Los Angeles Fellows earlier this year.

Alumni News & Achievements Karra Greenberg accepted a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the National Institute on Aging at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Eli Wilson published an article in Racial and Ethnic Studies entitled, “Stuck Behind Kitchen Doors? Assessing the Work Prospects of Second-Generation Latino Workers in a Los Angeles Restaurant.” The article was also awarded the 2016 Best Student Paper in the Labor Studies division of SSSP. He also has a forthcoming article in the Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, entitled, “Bridging the Service Divide: Dual Labor Niches and Embedded Opportunities in Restaurant Work.”

Dr. Susila Gurusami published her article "Working for Redemption: Formerly Incarcerated Black Women and Punishment in the Labor Market” in the Gender & Society journal. The article was also awarded the 2017 Blackwell Graduate Student Paper Award from ASASREM.


Thank You! The UCLA Department of Sociology is training the next generation of sociology teachers and researchers. Our graduate students win professional awards, are published in the leading journals, and obtain jobs in other top sociology departments. The competition for promising graduate students is strong and requires financial resources. You can help! We are pleased to announce the Next Generation of Sociology Leaders Fund to support our talented graduate students. Funds received by the department will go to the direct support of graduate student research through a formal application process based on need and merit. Funds will be used for direct research costs and conference travel support. You CAN make a difference in a student’s life at a critical point in time. In addition, we have established the Sociology for the 21st Century Fund to support undergraduate students in Sociology. Every dollar received by the department will be used to support undergraduates in their pursuit of a meaningful education in Sociology. One way we are using these funds is to ramp up the undergraduate Honors Program. Individualized attention to undergraduates through the Honors Program allows students to learn research methodology in more depth and to push students beyond the traditional boundaries of learning. These highly motivated students are the ones who will move into leadership positions after their education and you will know you helped provide the stepping stones of their success! There are few funds available to undergraduates for research or conference support so you can make a significant difference in an individual’s education and life trajectory. You may also contribute to the Sociology’s Chair’s Discretionary Fund. These funds strengthen our ability to attract and retain top faculty and to train the best graduate and undergraduate students. They support a variety of academic endeavors such as our active colloquia series, faculty student working groups, and departmental conferences. We provide research seed funds for promising, high-risk research projects. Annual gifts above $1,000 to the Chair’s Discretionary Fund, in addition to providing vital funds to our department, also qualify the donor for membership into the Chancellor’s Circle, while a gift above $2,500 gives you membership to the Chancellor’s Associates. For additional information and to donate, please visit:, or contact Lisa Mohan at

2017 Fall Newsletter  
2017 Fall Newsletter