2020 Summer Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2020 SWS Barbara Rosenblum Cancer Dissertation Scholarship Winner: Aisha Abimbola Adaranijo

Celebrate with the Awardee on July 9, 2020. Please Click HERE to Register for the Award Presentation


Photo of Aisha Abimbola Adaranijo

Sociologists for Women in Society is proud to announce the recipient of the 2020 Barbara Rosenblum Cancer Dissertation Scholarship, Aisha Abimbola Adaranijo. Special thanks go to the 2020 Barbara Rosenblum Cancer Dissertation Scholarship Subcommittee: Eleanor Miller (Chair), Jean Elson, Gloria Gadsden, Melissa Day, and Ana Porroche-Escudero. This scholarship was established with a bequest from Barbara Rosenblum, an active and longstanding SWS member, who died February 14, 1988 after a long battle with breast cancer. Colleagues, friends, and family made contributions to the fund in Barbara’s memory, and fundraising efforts continue to ensure that a $2500 scholarship can be offered every year. The purpose of the scholarship is to encourage doctoral research in sociology, anthropology, psychology and related fields on women’s experience of breast cancer and other reproductive cancers and the prevention of these cancers. Another goal of the scholarship is to encourage scholars to make this type of research accessible to the public through speaking and publishing for lay audiences.

Aisha is on a mission to make the indigenous African woman’s voice heard. Trained as a Sociologist, with a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH), she has over 15 years of experience as a developmental worker and researcher, holding positions as programme officer, assistant programme manager, and senior programme manager. Aisha’s focus has been on the most vulnerable populations in Nigeria which include children under the age of 5, young girls, drug users, sex workers, people living with HIV and the LGTB community. Aisha’s works resonate around the formulation of policy documents, planning and implementation of interventional projects on the ethics and rights of vulnerable groups to research, reproductive health for young adults, women and LGTB communities, and the empowerment of child and family welfare and protection. Currently, a Ph.D. candidate at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, conducting a novel qualitative study of the lived experience of women with breast cancer in Nigeria, a country in West Africa. Indigenous African women studies telling their own stories especially within health research is often insufficient in Africa. Aisha is committed to raising the voices of women in all forms particularly within the research and educational communities.

Aisha’s main interests are gender and sexuality studies, culture, theory and research, reproductive health and identity development. Aisha’s and her team’s works have appeared in Developing World Bioethics (2012), Microbicide Conference, Australia (2012), Multipurpose Prevention Symposium (2011), AIDS Impact conference, USA, (2011) and UNAIDS’s Good Participatory Practice (GPP) document, UNDP Lagos Municipal Action Plan for HIV/ AIDS for Most at Risk Population. Previous studies include Society’s Perception of HIV/AIDS in Kano metropolis, (2002), Parental Roles in Sexuality Education of Adolescents (2010), Qualitative Research: An appraisal (2014).

In a review of literature from Nigeria, research usually concentrates on issues such as knowledge, attitude and practice, morbidity/mortality rates, incidence and prevalence etc., a situation that could be attributed to the dominance of such studies by biomedical researchers. The social-cultural dimensions and the subjective experiences of having breast cancer are usually not considered. Yet, the culture and subjective factors are critical in defining and evaluating treatment options, help seeking behavior as well as subsequent living with the disease.

Aisha’s study seeks to explore these factors from the perspective of a developing country. Aisha’s dissertation research examines the social context of living with breast cancer for women in Lokoja, Kogi State. With regards to the study concerning women with breast cancer at the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, the specific objectives are: to explore the meaning of living with breast cancer (LWBC), to explore the lived experience of WLBC, to examine how socio-demographic factors affect WLBC, to explore the medical and socio-psychological consequences of LWBC, and examine the roles of health practitioners in the lived experience of WLBC.

SWS will be honoring Aisha via a Virtual Awards Presentation. Pre-registration is required. Please click here to register for the Rosenblum Award Announcement taking place on July 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. If you are interested in making a gift to support the Barbara Rosenblum Cancer Dissertation Scholarship, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at swseo.barretkatuna@outlook.com. You can also make a gift online, by clicking here.


Congratulations to the 2020 Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winner: Carmela M. Roybal

Celebrate with the Awardee on July 16, 2020. Please Click HERE to Register for the Award Presentation

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Photo of Carmela M. Roybal

Sociologists for Women in Society first established the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship at its annual meeting in February 2007. The primary purposes of the scholarship are: (1) To offer support to women of color scholars who are from underrepresented groups and are studying concerns that women of color face domestically and/or internationally and (2) To increase the network and participation of students and professionals of color in SWS and beyond. The award is named after Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green to acknowledge the contributions of these two SWS members who played an integral role in making SWS more inclusive of women of color. The awardee receives an $18,000 scholarship.

Carmela M. Roybal “Than Povi” is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Mexico. Her specialties include: medical sociology, bioethics, and public health with a focus on the study of race, gender, ethnicity, discrimination and health disparities. Her research uses intersectionality as a tool for examining racialized and gendered inequalities in health, with an emphasis on Indigenous peoples of the United States and globally.

Born and raised in New Mexico, land, culture, and language, are all an integral part of Carmela’s existence. Carmela calls Ohkay Owingeh (Land of the Strong) Pueblo and the Embudo Valley her home. In addition, she is a descendent of Sakonaekwaeku’i’e Owingeh, and the genízaros and Mexicanos of the Northern Rio Grande Valley.

Her dissertation, “Intersectionality and Lived Experiences of Inequality: Intergenerational Addiction, Opioid Use, and the Constrained Choices of Women Caregivers in Rural New Mexico,” is an intersectional knowledge project guided by attention to the simultaneity of structural inequalities, such as settler colonialism, structural racism, racialized capitalism, and heteropatriarchy, all of which shape women’s lives. Through a decolonial lens, her research will take an intersectional approach to understanding the health and social inequalities experienced by women living through an opioid epidemic. She examines the lived experience of Native American, Latina, and White women as they navigate a family addiction, constrained choices, and layers of overlapping inequalities in housing, employment and health. Through centering the voices of women, Carmela provides not only theoretical and empirical contributions to the racialized and gendered dynamics of oppression and resistance, but she also builds the foundation for policy change and action. It is her hope that this study also changes the conversation about the fundamental causes of childhood traumas, addiction, and opioid misuse and shapes solutions through equity-based policies and practices that center women’s lives.

Carmela intends on utilizing the funds and time the award will afford her to publish peer- reviewed papers, which will disseminate findings on women’s health, sociological research, and leadership roles as they pertain to gender. Her long-term career goal is to become a public scholar and a critical voice for Indigenous peoples. She hopes to bring awareness to women’s health for lasting change, cultural longevity, and community healing. She plans to develop innovative decolonial and antiracist interventions for mental health and addiction, specifically for marginalized populations, communities of color, and tribal peoples.

Kunda Wo’ha’/Special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Sister to Sister Committee: Sasha R. Drummond-Lewis and LaTonya Trotter, and to the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Subcommittee members, Tracy Ore and Melissa Abad.

Carmela wishes to extend Kunda Wo’ha/Special thanks to her children Esai C. Morales Roybal, Benjamin T. Morales Roybal, and Nizhoni T. Morales Roybal.

SWS will be honoring Carmela via a Virtual Awards Presentation. Pre-registration is required. Please click here to register for the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Announcement taking place on July 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. If you are interested in making a gift to support the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at swseo.barretkatuna@outlook.com. You can also make a gift online, by clicking here.


2020 SWS Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Winner and Honorable Mention Awardee Announced

Celebrate with the Awardees on July 13, 2020. Please Click HERE to Register for the Award Presentation


Photo of Brandi Perri

The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award was established in 2005 to support first generation college students who began their academic careers in a community college, have faced significant obstacles, are committed to teaching and mentoring other first-generation students, and exemplify Beth’s commitment to professional service and social justice work.  Beth B. Hess was a President of SWS and one of our mentoring award winners; she also was the President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) and Secretary/Treasurer of ASA, and these other organizations join SWS in supporting the Beth B. Hess Scholar each year. Graduate students in sociology at the dissertation writing stage are invited to apply. In 2020, the subcommittee (Sarah Bruch, Chair; Myra Marx Ferree, Mairead Eastin Moloney, Nancy Naples, Elizabeth Seton Mignacca, Toni Calasanti, and Gul Marshall) faced the challenge of selecting the winner, who notably receives an $18,000 scholarship, a certificate from SWS, one-year complimentary SWS membership, a $500 travel grant to attend SWS’s 2021 Winter Meeting and a $500 travel grant to attend the SWS Summer Meeting in 2021. SSSP honors the awardee with a one-year membership and will also be providing a $300 travel award for future academic meeting travel. ASA will provide an ASA membership through the end of 2021 as well as a $500 travel grant to off-set the cost of attending the next in-person ASA Annual Meeting. When there is more than one exceptionally strong candidate, an Honorable Mention Awardee is also selected.

This year’s Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award winner is Brandi Perri. Brandi is a self-described third-generation janitor who has overcome enormous personal challenges to become a rising sociology star and exemplary teacher and mentor. Brandi had two unsuccessful attempts at starting college before she attended Austin Community College (ACC). At ACC, Brandi found connection with other students who, like herself, were working full time even as they yearned to learn. She also encountered a faculty member who, despite Brandi’s struggles with her coursework, “never made me feel like a D student.” Instead, Brandi recounts, she “made me feel like a valued student, even if I was not a model student.” Like Brandi, her professor was juggling multiple jobs, even as she worked at ACC. Previously, it had not occurred to Brandi that someone with a similar background could pursue a position in academia.

Inspired to tap into her own potential and consider new possibilities, Brandi transferred to SUNY Purchase to finish her Bachelor’s degree. At SUNY Purchase, Brandi discovered sociology. Using her new insights and methodological tools, she could finally explore the questions of identity and inequality that fascinated and challenged her. Brandi quickly recognized that the approach of intersectionality was central to both her life and to her research. Brandi’s teaching and research agendas are guided by two central questions: “How do our intersectional identities shape how we interact with the world around us? And what does this tell us about inequality?”

Pursuing a doctoral degree in Sociology at UMass Amherst has allowed Brandi to delve deeply into these questions. Her dissertation “Born to the Broom: The Relationship between Identity Work among Janitors” “considers how the interactions among a diverse janitorial crew at a public school reflect the larger institutional environment when services are being privatized.” Her central research questions are: (1) What are the day-to-day experiences of janitors in educational institutions? (2) Through what processes are social boundaries produced and maintained among janitors? and (3) How do janitors’ experiences and relationships with each other in the workplace reflect the political climate within the educational system, their union, and the larger culture? To explore these questions, Brandi is collecting ethnographic data, conducting interviews, and performing content analysis of formal documents from unions and the corporation. Her work builds on previous research on service work but importantly, considers how race, gender, and social class inform experiences in this “invisible” profession.  Impressively, Brandi has already spent over 2000 hours working on-site with the janitorial crew and completed fifteen interviews. She is well on her way to completing her dissertation, and also has multiple publications under review.

In addition to her innovative and important research agenda, Brandi is an exceptionally committed teacher. In fact, she has won multiple awards in recognition of her teaching, including the SAGE Teaching Innovation Award. During her time at UMass Amherst she has been recognized with both the Best Teaching Award (2019) and Best Teaching Assistant Award (2018). As Brandi notes, when she decided to pursue a Ph.D., she vowed to use her education to make campus experiences more accessible for working-class students, through teaching and mentorship. She has already designed and taught ten classes at UMass Amherst and Greenfield Community College. She uses her own experiences as a queer student from a working-class background to inform her pedagogy. Brandi supports her students as they guide one another through deeper explorations of the course materials. Using her own experiences as a framework and example, she encourages her students to think critically about their own experiences and biases in relation to the narratives and research they analyze.

Brandi’s teaching, research, and mentorship truly embody the spirit of Beth Hess. We have no doubt that Brandi, like Beth, will change lives, inspire the next generation of sociologists, and engage in activism and research that will erode deep social inequalities. We are delighted to honor her and her work with the 2020 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship.



Photo of Sandra Portocarrero

The Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Subcommittee recognizes Sandra Portocarrero with the 2020 Honorable Mention.  Sandra began her academic trajectory at Berkeley City College (BCC), an institution that reflects the San Francisco Bay Area’s ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity. Without any family support, she worked for years at various restaurants before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a doctoral student in Sociology at Columbia University. In her three-article dissertation, Sandra examines diversity, equity, and inclusion management practices in organizations, focusing on processes. She seeks to understand what people talk about when they talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and how this meaning making process has an impact on organizational behavior.

Along with these areas of focus, she maintains a strong interest in the relationship between education and inequality. At Columbia, Sandra co-chaired the Graduate Students of Color Alliance, and founded the Intimate Conversations with Women in Academia series in the Sociology department, a once a semester meeting between professors and graduate students who identify as women. The subcommittee is confident that her personal experience, scholarship, and public advocacy, reflect the characteristics of the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award and Berkeley City College’s belief “in the power of education as the engine for cultivating a democratic society, where the hopes and dreams of the community are nurtured.”

SWS will be honoring Brandi Perri and Sandra Portocarrero via a Virtual Awards Presentation. Pre-registration is required. Please click here to register for the Bess B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Announcement taking place on July 13, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. If you are interested in making a gift to support the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at swseo.barretkatuna@outlook.com. You can also make a gift online, by clicking here.


Congratulations to the Summer 2020 SWS Social Actions Initiative Award Winners Tannuja Rozario and Pedrom Nasiri


In 2016, SWS Council approved the Social Action Committee’s (SAC) proposal to support more direct social action of SWS members.  The Social Actions Initiative Awards provide a way for the SAC to directly support and encourage the social activism of SWS members.  Awards are given out twice per year on a competitive basis until funds run out.  The social actions represented by this initiative are central to advancing the mission of SWS. Both of the award winners this funding cycle will each receive $500 to support their social activism projects. Special thanks go to the Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee: Ruth Marleen Hernández (Chair), Penny Harvey, Rosalind Kicher, and Sam Harvey.

Photo of Tannuja Rosario

Tannuja Rozario is a Ph.D. student in Sociology and earned her Advanced Certificate in Feminist Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Currently, she is working on her dissertation about reproductive health experiences of Indo-Caribbean women. Her project is funded by the National Science Foundation.  Tannuja’s passion for advocacy and research stems from her background as an Indo-Caribbean immigrant.  At a young age, she witnessed gender-based violence and reproductive injustice in Guyana, causing her to realize that gender inequality Indo-Caribbean women experience. As an activist, she became an Executive Board Member of South Queens Women’s March—a gender justice organization in South Queens, New York that fosters empowerment and provides resources for women and gender non-conforming folks. Based on her research with community members, she realized that conversations on maintaining healthy relationships and sexual empowerment are integral to reproductive justice.

Tannuja’s project, “Healthy Relationship Series for Indo-Caribbean Women and Gender Non-Conforming Folks in South Queens, New York,” is the first-ever healthy relationship series Indo-Caribbean community in Richmond Hill, NY.  The healthy relationship series will include workshops on healthy relationships, consent, sex positivity, and healing. These workshops will invite community activists, students, professors, healing justice coaches, and healthy relationship coaches to come together to help an under-resourced community that continues to witness the deaths of many community members to gender-based violence.

Photo of Pedrom Nasiri

Pedrom Nasiri is a Joseph-Armand Bombardier doctoral student in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Calgary, under the supervision of Dr. Pallavi Banerjee. Their doctoral research employs critical phenomenology and intersectionality to examine how the increasing prevalence of polyqueer families articulate with ongoing racial, gender, and class formation projects. Pedrom completed their M.A. at the University of Toronto in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, where they explored the experiences of Queer Muslim refugees in the Canadian asylum apparatus.

Much of Pedrom’s work is guided by critical social theories that emphasize the need to employ academic theory and inquiry to address everyday social injustices. Pedrom has worked with various governmental and non-governmental agencies across Canada to address long-standing inequities in healthcare and social service systems. Pedrom has been recognized for this work by The Order of St. John, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, and the Governor-General of Canada.

Funds will facilitate focus groups and interviews across the Fall of 2020 with polyamorous women inhabiting a diversity of identities. The data gathered from focus groups and interviews will be used to implement a five-day series of workshops, as well as printed materials, on the subject of violence, financial literacy, and trauma in polyfamilies. The project is in line with SWS’s Mission to engage in social justice projects to advance the well-being of women in society.

Pedrom would like to extend their sincerest thanks to the SWS Awards Committee, the SWS Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee, Pallavi Banerjee, Julie-ann and Mansour, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

SWS will be honoring Tannuja and Pedrom via a Virtual Awards Presentation. Pre-registration is required. Please click here to register for the Social Actions Initiative Awards Announcement taking place on July 24, 2020, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. If you are interested in making a gift to support the Social Actions Initiative Awards, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at swseo.barretkatuna@outlook.com. You can also make a gift online, by clicking here.


Congratulations to the 2020 SWS-ASA Minority Fellows, Shannon Malone Gonzalez and Sofia Locklear!

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Shannon Malone Gonzalez (Sociologists for Women in Society MFP)

Graduate Institution: University of Texas at Austin

Shannon Malone Gonzalez is from Jackson, MS, where she graduated from Tougaloo College with her bachelor’s degree in English. She subsequently received her master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Nonprofit and NGO Leadership. Prior to becoming a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, Gonzalez spent several years working on issues around health, reproductive justice, and violence against women and girls of color in Mississippi. She has also worked in philanthropy to support local community organizations and promote foster youth involvement in state policies. Her interests are black feminist criminology and social policy. Her research incorporates an intersectional analysis into the study of police surveillance, criminalization, and violence. Gonzalez’s dissertation, “In Her Place: Black Women Redefining and Resisting Police Violence,” uses mixed-methods to interrogate the social conditions that shape and marginalize black women and girls’ lived experiences with police across cultural and institutional contexts. She is especially interested in understanding how police officers leverage institutional power to inflict gender-based and sexual violence against black women across social class. Gonzalez’s research is published in Gender & Society and forthcoming in Social Problems. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, and she is a W.K. Kellogg Community Leadership Fellow. Gonzalez enjoys long talks with her elders and long hikes in the rural South with family and friends.

Photo of Sofia Locklear

Sofia Locklear (Sociologists for Women in Society MFP)

Graduate Institution: University of New Mexico

Sofia Locklear is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and a part of the vibrant urban Native community in Seattle, WA. She earned her BA in sociology from Seattle University, her MA in sociology from the University of New Mexico, and is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of New Mexico. Her dissertation explores the social construction of white identity among individuals in the Pacific Northwest who work with American Indian and Alaska Native issues and peoples through semi-structured, in-depth interviews. This project links white individual understandings of racial formation to the larger institutional systems that uphold and perpetuate oppressive ideologies for American Indian and Alaska Native people. Locklear’s broader research areas include the sociology of Indigenous Peoples; sociology of race and ethnicity; and the sociology of health, focusing on the intersections of colonialism and Native health outcomes. Locklear is an instructor at Seattle University and also works for a tribal epidemiology center assisting urban Indigenous communities across the country to showcase their knowledge and resilience. In her down time, Locklear provides care to her plants, tries to read for fun (but, somehow, it always ends up being something sociological), travels, and spends time with friends and relatives.

Congratulations to the American Sociological Association (ASA) Minority Fellows Sponsored by SWS.

SWS congratulates all of the ASA-MFPs in 2020! Please view click HERE to see all the MFPs for 2020.