Students and young scholars have been a big part of my life at USC, where I was hired in 1991. Some of my most gratifying work has been helping students to craft and design their own research projects. I think of myself as a guide, passing on some traditions, and helping students formulate their own research questions and projects. There’s no one right way, but there are many wrong ways, and I try to steer against those.
Undergraduate students pass through our classes quickly, usually during the span of one or two semesters, but many of them are out in the world doing amazing things. For example, Monica Valencia (www.ggu.edu/shared-content/faculty/bio/monica-valencia), who was already an Air Force veteran when she received her BA in Sociology from USC, is now Supervising Attorney for the Immigrant Rights Team at Central Legal de la Raza in Oakland, California and an adjunct professor of law at Golden Gate University, focusing on asylum and deportation defense. Jose Miguel Ruiz was never a student in my classroom, but he began working on my community garden research immediately after he graduated from UC Santa Cruz, and today he is the founder and Executive Director of an innovative urban agriculture program, CultivaLA (www.cultivala.org), an effort that I am proud to support.
I’ve also mentored a number of pre- and post-doctoral fellows doing innovative research. At the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, I mentored Fatima Suarez (PhD, UCSB) and John Arroyo (PhD, MIT), and at USC, I mentored a talented group of in-residence and mostly international research fellows, including Ann Cathrin Corrales-Overlid (U of Bergen, Norway), Veronica Montes (UCSB, now associate professor at Bryn Mawr), Angel Serrano Sanchez (U of Windsor, Canada), Karin Krifors (U of Gothenberg, Sweden), Victoria Volodko (National University of Lviv, Ukraine), Jessica Vasquez (Princeton, now associate professor at U of Oregon), and Joseph Palacios (Berkeley, now lecturer and pastor).
Chairing a PhD student’s work occurs over a span of 5 to 8 years. I’m enormously proud of my graduate students, both current and former, and from them I’m always learning about new sociological approaches and different subfields. The Former PhD Students button to the right links to the PhD students I have chaired, and to their own faculty webpages. The Text-readers button links to several edited books that been adopted in sociology classrooms across the country. The Syllabi button links to a sample of recent syllabi, giving you an idea of how I organize my classes.