Jennifer Jones is an assistant professor of sociology and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research uses qualitative methods to explore increasing migration, the growing multiracial population, and shifting social relations between and within racial groups. In this video, she discusses her work on how race relations are changing and what race means for politics and inequality.
Whether their research explores community-led initiatives, national trends, or international issues, Ph.D. students in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology produce outstanding research that is leading to grants, fellowships, and job offers. “Our students benefit from the fact that our faculty is unusually large and strong and covers almost the entire range of sociology,” said Lyn Spillman, director of graduate studies. “They enjoy not only our excellent faculty/student ratios but also the wide range of expertise we offer. The result is that our students produce new knowledge across the entire disciplinary range.”
What draws people to become friends, leads them to form social networks, and what keeps those relationships going? Omar Lizardo, a professor of sociology, is seeking to answer those questions as he researches whether people with similar health habits and even sleep patterns are naturally drawn together — and whether those friendships influence people’s attitudes and health and fitness choices.
Notre Dame senior Ash Smith wants to become a public-interest attorney in order to fight for justice for marginalized populations. And majoring in sociology has played a key role in preparing her for that future. “Sociology lets you study some of the bigger questions, like why we have a lot of the social issues we have today. ” Smith said. “If you’re interested in law school, sociology is a great way to study how these different groups are discriminated against, how the law can help, and how people work together to develop practical solutions.”
In the American health care system, the elderly can often be shortchanged. Dr. Nick Schneeman ’80 is convinced that a typical office visit or a trip to the emergency room is simply not enough to address the complex medical issues they face. Schneeman developed a model to provide compassionate and effective care for the frail elderly while also running his business successfully. From humble beginnings, the practice has flourished.
Robert Vargas, a Notre Dame assistant professor of sociology and faculty fellow in the Institute for Latino Studies, has won a book award for his ethnographic study of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood and its confrontational relationships between police, politicians, and gangs. The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences will present its Outstanding Book Award to Vargas at its annual meeting in March in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dear friends of Sociology at Notre Dame,
Sociology students, faculty, and staff have excelled in many areas of research, teaching and learning, and service this year.
At the undergraduate level, we successfully launched our new undergraduate minor, which enrolled over 50 students in its first year. The minor provides an alternative for students who do not have room for another major but believe sociology can augment their first major or future career. For example, one pre-med student I spoke with said she couldn’t fit in enough courses to major in sociology (though she wanted to), but knew our classes focusing on health, inequality, and social problems could help her become aware of how the backgrounds and living situations of her future patients might impact their health.…
While universality—and unity amid diversity—is a fundamental characteristic of Roman Catholicism, all-too-familiar issues related to gender, sexuality, race, and authority have wrought the church with internal conflict and no clear path to finding middle ground. A new book, co-edited by Mary Ellen Konieczny, intends to start the conversation about the polarization in the Catholic Church through healthy debates and genuine engagement.
King Fok, a a junior majoring in sociology and Arts and Letters pre-health with a minor in international development studies, has been awarded the 2016 Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship for his semester of study at Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway. Launched by the Association of American Study Abroad Programmes (AASAP/UK), the Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship rewards a “deserving student” who “demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of the value of an international educational experience.”
A new book by Notre Dame Sociologist Terence McDonnell examines why expensive media campaigns that try to harness the power of culture to change beliefs or behavior often fail. Using AIDS campaigns in Ghana as his central case study, he lays out an argument that carries important implications for diverse types of media campaigns around the world.
Kevin J. Christiano, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, is the recipient of the 2016 Prix-du-Québec, presented by the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie of the Gouvernement du Québec in association with the American Council for Québec Studies.
Notre Dame student Stephen “Pete” Freeman, a sociology and gender studies major, has been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study or intern abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go.
Twenty-four members of the Class of 2016 who study in the College of Arts and Letters have won major national and international fellowships and scholarships, from prestigious institutions such as the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and the National Science Foundation.
Tamara Kay, a scholar with extensive experience in Latin America and Africa, will join the new Keough School of Global Affairs as associate professor of global affairs, according to Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School. Kay will hold a joint appointment in the Notre Dame Department of Sociology.
Notre Dame alumna Ray’Von Jones ’16 wants to make a difference in the world of education. And her sociology and Spanish majors are going to help her get there. “Education doesn’t only happen inside schools,” Jones said. “It happens in communities and in neighborhoods. So it’s important for me to have a larger understanding of what’s going on in our country in terms of racial climate, what different communities look like, and how they interact." Jones will begin a master’s of education program at Stanford University this year.
Lyn Spillman, professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, has been awarded two book prizes from the American Sociological Association for her work Solidarity in Strategy: Making Business Meaningful in American Trade Associations (University of Chicago Press). The Mary Douglas Prize honors the best book in the field of cultural sociology, and the Viviana Zelizer Award recognizes the best book in economic sociology.
Driven by a commitment to Catholic social teaching and a strong belief that a liberal arts education can transform lives, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College faculty are teaching college-level courses for inmates at Indiana’s Westville Correction Facility. Since 2013, nearly 100 inmates have earned college credit and 11 have earned associate degrees as of this month. But developing a strong foundation in reading, writing, research, public speaking, and critical thinking offers benefits that go far beyond the professional opportunities a degree might one day provide.
With her Notre Dame sociology degree in hand, Sarah Hart ’15 is headed for the business world. When she starts work as a project manager at Epic, a software development company in the health care industry, her major has her set to succeed in a corporate environment. “It’s definitely given me a wide range of skills that can be applied to almost anything,” Hart said. “Critical thinking, delving deep into a problem and finding a solution, interacting with people, communicating your thoughts and ideas—those are transferable skills you can use in absolutely any workplace.”
Sarah Mustillo, a professor of sociology, has been named chair of the department, beginning this fall. Mustillo, whose research involves the effects of adverse childhood experiences on health and mental health trajectories, came to Notre Dame in 2014. She will be the first woman to chair the department.
Notre Dame sociologists are undertaking major research initiatives analyzing the effects of Indiana’s school choice program, one of the largest in the United States. Mark Berends, a professor of sociology and director of the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, is leading a study on how educational options impact schools and students, while Megan Andrew, an assistant professor of sociology, is leading a separate study on the social aspects of school choice policies.