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Department News


Department News at a Glance                                               December 16, 2014



 Just the Headlines

Dr. Heather E. Dillaway and Dr. Cathy Lysack were awarded the 2014 Outstanding Profesional Paper Publications Award by the National Council on Family Relations for their paper “’My doctor told me I can still have children but...’: Contradictions in women’s reproductive health experiences after spinal cord injury.” Chapter 8 in Reframing Reproduction. Palgrave McMillan Publishers, p. 135-149.  

Save the Date--April 23, 2015 




Off Topic

Dr. Errol Liverpool (Social Psychology; SOC 4100) took part in serving students at the Late Night Breakfast in the Towers Residential Suites Cafe on Wednesday, December 10th.  The all you can eat breakfast was a wecolme study break for students, filled with lots of activities and dancing.  



Sociology Cares

In the News

Amanda Levitt, MA graduate student and GTA, has been named one of ravishly.com's  "Ladies we Love:   Movers, Shakers and Glass-Ceiling Breakers" as noted fat activist and researcher.  "Fat politics is about the dehumanization of fat peopole and the structural/institutional discrimination that is found within our society," said Levitt.  

Addtionally, Levitt was interviewed for a November 28, 2014 article in Detroit Free Press, "As Drivers Get Fatter, so do Crash Dummies," as the founder of fatbodypolitics.com.   


Robin West Smith, MA student and adjunct in Urban Studies, was quoted in an article for  INSIGHT Magazine regarding the bankruptcy, decline and rise of Detroit.  The article is titled "A Tale of Three Cities" by Sheryl Nance-Nash.     

Sociology Cares volunteers packed 1,450 boxes of food at Focus Hope Saturday morning, December 6th.  The group consisted of many undergrad students (who came with their parents, family and friends) as well as faculty, Drs. Hankin, Merolla and Jacobs, and grad students.  We had so many volunteers we are able to send a smaller group to help the Arthritis Foundation at the Jingle Bell Run that same morning.  

Student Success

Congratulations to PhD students Shelytia Cocroft and Rondrell Taylor as they passed their dissertation proposal oral examinations earlier this month.  Shelytia's dissertation is titled "Cognitive Health and African American Elders: Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior."  Rondrell's dissertation is titled "Affirming Expectations:  African American Men's Perception os of Trust in Physicians."   Both students' specializations are medical sociology. 

William "Chuck" Jackson received his doctoral degree at on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at the commencement ceremony.   He is pictured on the left with his faculty advisor Dr. David Merolla who was present to place the doctoral hood.  Congratulations once again to Dr. Willliam Jackson. 

During the last 30 days, Sociology Cares volunteers have packed 3500 pounds of food at Forgotten Harvest, 1,450 boxes at Focus Hope and collected 45 pounds of food donations for Gleaners Food Bank.

Thank you to everyone that helped.   You do make a difference.  

Tis the Season

The Sociology holiday party was held on Friday, December 5th at Tony V's Tavern.  A good time was had by all.  Here are a few photos





Department News at a Glance                                            November 25, 2014



 Just the Headlines

The newly formed Sociology Cares group packed 3500 pounds of meat sticks at Forgotten Harvest on Nov. 21st.  The group of 14 packed excess meat sticks donated from ConAgra (food that would normally otherwise go to waste) into family-sized packages for distribution to emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless and domestic shelters, children's homes, senior centers and  group homes throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Pictured below are some of the volunteers.


Left to Right:  Ian Palmer, Megan Petersen, Dennis Savard, Joseph Byle, Julianne Meiu, Heather Dillaway, Idasia Sellers, Patrick Nefcy and Laconia McNear


Around Campus

Several sociology professors together with Advisor Stacie Moser participated in various campus activites last week incuding Discover Your Major, Undergraduate Research Fair and Scholars Day. Pictured below are some of the professors particpating--Dr. Krista Brumley with Dr. Janet R. Hankin and Dr. Shirin Montazer and Dr. Jessica Penwell Barnett at Scholars Day.



Dr. David M. Merolla presented a paper "Investigating the Effects of Role and Social Identity on Sustained Interest in Science Education" at the UC Riverside/Kent State University Identity Theory Conference in Riverside, California on November 15, 2014.


Dr. David Fasenfest presented a talk "Limits to Social Sustainability:  An Unattainable Goal?" as part of the Humanities Center Brown Bag Colloqium Series on November 18, 2014. 






Dr. R. Khari Brown, and Political Science Professor Dr. Jeff Grynaviski presented a joint workshop for graduate students called "Getting Published" which provided valuable information on submitting journal articles for publication.  Also participating were Dr. Heather Dillaway and Sharon F. Lean (Graduate Director, Political Science). 

Undergraduate Capstone student Egla Kishta helps out on Research Day.





Sociology Cares is hosting a Food Drive for Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan through Wednesday, December 10th.  If you can, please drop off non-perishable food items outside the Department Office #2228 to help.  In deperate need are canned meats (e.g. canned ham, tuna, stews and soups), canned fruits and vegetables, cereral and peanut butter.

Student Success

Sociology Major, Jazmine Williams has been accepted into the Master's Program for Social Work.  She will begin graduate school in Fall 2015.  Congratulations Jazmine.











Save the Date--April 23, 2015


Department News at a Glance                                               November 11, 2014

Just the Headlines


Dr. Sarah Swider, Dr. David Fasenfest, Kaleema Sumareh and Dr. Janet Hankin joined Dr. William Julius Wilson as presenters at the Humanities Center "re:  the city" Fall symposium on October 31, 2104.

In the News








Dr. David M. Merolla appeared on WDIV Local 4 News Monday, November 10th in a segment with reporter Evrod Cassimy titled "What's in a Name?" where he discussed the effects names have on all aspects of one's life.  


Dr. Krista Brumley's article "The Gendered Ideal Worker Narrative:  Professional Women's and Men's Work Experiences in the New Economy at a Mexican Company,"  appeared in the current, December 2014 issue of Gender & Society.  It was published online before print on August 19, 2014. 


Dr. Jessica Penwell Barnett presented her paper "Sex on the Autism Spectrum:  What Sex Educators and Therpaists Need to Know" at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Study of Sexuality in Omaha, NE on November 8th. 


Congratulations to PhD student William Carrington on his election to the Pontiac School Board on Tuesday, November 4th. 


Student Success

MA Student Braelin Setttle's thesis has been selected by the Graduate School to represent Wayne State University's nomination for the 2015 Midwestern Association of  Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Master's Thesis Award in the social science category.  Her thesis was selected from a record number of nominations and is titled "Defying Mandatory Motherhood:  The Social Experiences of Childfree Women." 


Works in Progress/Under Review

Dr. Heidi Gottfried has a book-length project "The Reproduction Bargain:  Deciphering the Enigma of Japanese Capitalism" under contract with Brill. 


Save the date for our annual Student Research and Award Day, Thursday, April 23, 2015. 





Department News at a Glance                                    Week of October 27, 2014



Just the Headlines

Dr. Sarah Swider, Assistant Professor of Sociology, has a forthcoming book tentatively titled “Building China and the making of a new working class,” under contract with Cornell University Press.  The book looks beyond China's global cities new modern façade to the behind-the-scenes work on construction sites across these cities, revealing how they are being built by migrants who are part of a large and fast-growing informal urban workforce. Dr. Swider does extensive ethnographic research on migrant workers in China and has research interests in gender, global inequality and immigration, social movements, and asian studies. 

Off Topic

Save the date for our annual Student Research and Award Day, Thursday, April 23, 2015. 


-- In Memory of Mary Cay Sengstock --

 The Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect dedicated a special issue to the memory of late sociology professor Dr. Mary Cay Sengstock.   The In Memoriam article is written by Dr. Melanie Hwalek, a colleague, collaborator, former student and friend of Dr. Sengstock's. 


Kaleema Sumareh, PhD graduate student and Rumble Fellow, presented at the 44th Annual Association of Black Sociologists Conference on Friday October 24, 2014 in Charlotte, NC.  Her paper entitled:  "Human Agency and Activism: Exploring Activists Belief that Welfare Rights are Human Rights" is based on her master’s thesis on the state of the contemporary welfare rights movement.


Coincidentally, both Dr. Krista Brumley and Dr. Zachary Brewster appeared in the same issue of Sociological Inquiry, Volume 84, Issue 3, November  2014.  Their articles were published online first:  “Organizational Commitment over the Gendered Life Course at a Mexican Company,” by Brumley and “Black-White Earnings Gap among Restaurant Servers:  A Replication, Extension, and Exploration of Consumer Racial Discrimination in Tipping” by Brewster and Michael Lynn.

Graduate student Amanda Levitt and Dr. Zachary Brewster presented a paper, “At the Intersection of Food and Fat:  Exploring the Link Between Obesity and Customers’ Experiences in Full-service Restaurants,” at the Michigan Sociological Association Conference in Muskegon, MI on October 25, 2014. 

Dr. Janet Hankin, Professor and Chair, together with PhD alum Deborah Charbonneau, Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science and Sandra L. King, MSA and Sociology PhD Candidate presented their research examining six major newspapers' coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the Humanities Center Brown Bag Lunch Series on October 22nd.    As a side note, Dr. Charbonneau is part of a research team that was recently awarded funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for the project “eHealth Activity among African American and White Cancer Survivors.” 

Graduate student Robin West Smith presented initial research on her MA Thesis Subject:  Social Problem or Social Condition:  A Content Analysis of the Local Print Media Framing of the Pensioners in Detroit’s Municipal Bankruptcy at the ASA 2104 Media Conference earlier this year.

The Michigan Sociological Review honored late Professor Mary Cay Sengstock in a memorial article written by Jay Weinstein in their Fall 2014 issue.





Dr. Heather Dillaway, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Master’s Program at the Graduate School joined fellow Graduate School  personnel  in serving free cider and donuts to students on Gullen Mall Wednesday, Oct. 22nd.   She is pictured below with fellow Associate Dean of PhD Programs, Ken Jackson.

Student Success

Congratulations to William Charles Jackson, sociology doctoral candidate, for successfully defending his dissertation on October 23, 2014.  The title of his work is "The Circle of Courage:  Childhood Socialization in the 21st Century.  Dr. Jackson's dissertation committee members included Wayne State professors Dr. David M. Merolla, Dr. Zachary W. Brewster, Dr. R. Khari Brown, as well as Dr. Larry Brendtro, Dean of Starr Commonwealth Learning Network and senior editor of Reclaiming Children and Youth

Happy 1st Birthday Hailey!  Academic Advisor Stacie Moser's beautiful daughter turned one on October 22nd.


Works in Progress, Under Review and in the News

 PhD alum, Lari Warren-Jeanpierre, and Dr. Heather Dillaway have had some interesting media attention surrounding their recent article on aging African American women with HIV.  With co-authors from Georgetown University, Warren-Jeanpierre and Dillaway published an analysis of focus group data in Summer 2014 in the journal, AIDS Patient Care and STDs. In their analysis Warren-Jeanpierre and Dillaway argue that women with HIV are actually sometimes finding HIV easier to handle than other comorbidities as they age. After living with HIV for many years, some women may learn how to manage this illness fairly well but other health conditions, such as diabetes, may be harder to navigate. The authors are getting some interesting press on this article because this finding is seen as controversial to some. The idea that women with HIV are more than just their illness and may be thinking about other aspects of their health besides HIV has been surprising to some readers. The good news, though, is that people are reading this article!

Don't forget:  Save the date for our annual Student Research and Award Day, Thursday, April 23, 2015. 



Department News at a Glance                                    Week of October 20, 2014



Just the Headlines

Please welcome Visiting Scholar Dr. Ali A.Hadi Alshawi Almarri, Assistant Professor of Political Sociology at Qatar University.  Dr. Alshawi will be continuing his research on Civil Society in Qatar, which includes the unique aspects of state and society in the petroleum-rich nations of the Arabian Peninsula.  We look forward to the exchange of knowledge and academic experiences with Dr. Alshawi.  His office is #2254. 

Please also welcome incoming Master students  Randall Wyatt, Catina Polk  and Christina Soliz and incoming PhD students Charles Bell and Dennis Savard  together with our new Graduate Teaching Assistants: Jenny Lendrum (SOC 2000),  Amanda Levitt (SOC 2020), Michael Sabbagh (SOC 2000) Dennis Savard (TA-R. Khari Brown SOC 4996), and Christian Genesky (TA-Janet Hankin SOC 4996).

Off Topic

Karl Marx step aside.  Dr. Brewster’s beard is gaining fame.  Currently he is second in the Best Beard in Sociology contest by the Sociology Job Market Rumors.   If you’re so inclined, you can vote for him at http://www.socjobrumors.com/topic/best-beard-in-sociology.


Dr. Krista Brumley’s  article “The Gendered Ideal Worker Narrative:  Professional Women’s and Men’s Work Experiences in the New Economy at a Mexican Company” was published in Gender & Society (online first) August, 2014.    

Dr. Zachary Brewster together with PhD Candidate Shelytia Cocroft and Michael Lynn published an article on racial profiling in Sociological Form , “Consumer Racial Profiling in U.S. Restaurants: Exploring Subtle Forms of Service Discrimination against Black Diners.”

Sociology BA Alumna and current medical student at Wayne State, Toni H. Lupro co-authored and published her first paper in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, titled “Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Maternal and Child Positive Behaviors in Daily Life Among Youth With Asthma” in August, 2014. 

Based on her Master’s thesis work, PhD Candidate Victoria Velding published an article in Youth & Society titled "Depicting femininity: Conflicting Messages in a “Tween” Magazine"

Congratulations to Sara Goodman for her second place finish in Jeopardy.  Sara gave a very respectable performance, answering the Final Jeopardy question and most her questions correct.  She was beat out by a competitor who entered the final round with more money from answering the Double Jeopardy question.  Sara is the daughter of Sociology Chair, Dr. Janet Hankin and Prof. of Economics, Dr. Allen Goodman.  Congratulations Sara you made us all proud!   

Student Success

Master’s Degree awarded -- Richard Blair successfully defended his thesis “Recipe for Disaster?  An Exploration of Work-Family Spillover Conversations in Food Memoirs,” on October 6th.  Richard is pictured alongside his advisor, Dr. Heather Dillaway.  His committee also consisted of Drs. Krista Brumley and Zachary Brewster.    


PhD Candidates:  Congratulations to the following students that achieved Doctoral Candidacy Status, Fall 2014:  Abdulaziz Fahad Alkaltham, Joseph Byle, Amanda Draft, Sandra Lee King, Jenny Lendrum and Anabel Stoeckle

PhD Candidate William A. Carrington is running for Pontiac School Board. Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th.  http://www.williamacarrington.com

Works in Progress, Under Review and in the News

Dr. Michelle R. Jacobs has a forthcoming article in Qualitative Sociology, “Urban American Indian Identity:  Negotiating Indianness in Northeast Ohio.” She is also working on a book “Weeding out Wannabees: the Urban American Indian Experience.”  Her book prospectus will be reviewed December, 2014.

Pacific Standard Magazine (PSmag) cited Dr. Zachary Brewster and Michael Lynn’s research on the black/white earnings gap in restaurant workers.  The PSsmag article written by columnist Tom Jacobs, September 4, 2014, appears in the Finding Section of the magazine and is based upon Brewster and Lynn’s published article in Sociological Inquiry, Black-White Earnings Gap among Restaurant Servers: A Replication, Extension, and Exploration of Consumer Racial Discrimination in Tipping,” (online first), July 2014.   





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