Summer 2022 Award Winners

2022 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Winners Announced!

Florence Emilia Castillo is the 2022 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award Recipient.

Cierra Sorin is the 2022 Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Honorable Mention Awardee.

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 less privileged students, and exemplify Beth’s commitment to professional service and social justice work through activism. Beth B. Hess was a President of SWS and one of our mentoring award winners; she was also the President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) and Secretary Treasurer of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

SSSP and ASA join SWS in supporting the Beth B. Hess Scholar each year given Beth’s significant contributions to SSSP and ASA. Advanced graduate students in sociology at the dissertation writing stage are invited to apply. In 2022, the subcommittee (Sarah Bruch, Chair; Myra Marx Ferree, Nancy Naples, Toni Calasanti, and Mairead Moloney) faced the challenge of selecting the winner. When there is more than one exceptionally strong candidate, an Honorable Mention Awardee is also selected. The Honorable Mention Awardee receives a $3,500 scholarship.

The scholarship carries a stipend of $18,000 from SWS with travel assistance, $500 from SWS, $300 from SSSP, and $500 from ASA to support 2022 Summer Meeting travel, as well as one-year memberships in SWS, SSSP, and ASA. SSSP will celebrate the awardees at their Annual Meeting.

The subcommittee is thrilled to announce that the 2022 Beth Hess Award winner is Florence Emilia Castillo (pictured above). Emily is an activist researcher doing her dissertation on the effects of ethnic studies teaching on student learning under the direction of SWS member Nancy López at the University of New Mexico. Emily’s application notes that this award reflects her own “intersectional identity, non-traditional experiences in academia, and my commitment to pursue positions within academia that will allow me to continue mentoring students and doing work grounded in social justice” and we strongly agree. As a first-generation college student, Emily worked and helped support her family even when she was enrolled in community college in Dallas, Texas. Going on to pursue higher education while still holding down jobs in insurance and tech support, she tried international studies, then Latin American Studies, then anthropology, but did not feel like she had found an academic home until she discovered sociology. As she explains, “I continuously felt out of place amongst academics “studying” people and communities that looked like my own without any reflexivity about their privilege and power” until sociology offered her the “tools for praxis-based work” and “educational liberation.”

Once Emily landed in New Mexico, she put her dedication to intersectional mentoring and activism to work. Her transformative teaching practices center on counter-narratives from the cultural resources that her low-income Black and Brown students bring into the classroom and have brought Emily nominations for college-wide awards. Her mentoring has been supported by an El Puente Research Fellowship that allowed her over the last six years to instruct and intensively involve twenty undergraduates of similarly marginalized backgrounds in the research process, and to successfully put them on track for becoming independent researchers themselves in their own graduate careers. She has facilitated workshops on intersectionality and ethnic studies both locally at the teachers’ union and in 2020 at the Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) Summer Meeting. Emily’s activism at the University of New Mexico has included participating in both a campaign for a graduate requirement on race, ethnicity, intersectionality for all graduate students and the creation, analysis and action plan based on the climate survey in the sociology department itself, as well as being on the multi-university National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded team assessing how context diversity in teaching STEM subjects fosters increased minority inclusion and degree attainment.

Her major advisor, Nancy López, credits Emily with being one of the graduate students “responsible for establishing our Ethnic Studies Education and Health Research Practice Partnership through the Institute for the Study of ‘Race’ and Social Justice” and describes her as being passionate about “creating scholarly innovations for equity based policy action.” Nancy López lauds her transformational, intersectional teaching and her ability as a public-facing sociologist to communicate with people of any level of education and all backgrounds, and rates her as in the “top 1%” of the many graduate students she has mentored. Emily herself credits her community college philosophy teacher, John Wadhams, as the one who first taught her to think critically about the ethical and material consequences of policies and defend her perspective and analysis in debate.

Emily’s activism outside the university has centered on involving young people in participatory action research, in one case challenging the policies that criminalize and incarcerate them, and in another case with a grassroots organization concerned about racism in the K-12 system. This latter project dove-tailed with a larger initiative, the Research Practice Partnership, studying how to improve pedagogy for ethnic studies teachers in the Albuquerque Public Schools and assess how inclusion of ethnic studies in the K-12 curriculum improves student learning, graduation, and health and well-being indicators. This timely issue speaks to the broad politics of suppression and exclusion from learning about race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality that are sweeping across many states.

Emily has built on this activist research project to construct her dissertation, which employs the Latin American feminist methodology of testimonio, that is, collecting the narratives and counter-narratives of those who experience an oppressive system from multiple standpoints to build a deeper understanding of the processes of exclusion and silencing in the collective knowledge thus produced. Using testimonial narratives from 30 activists in various roles in the creation of ethnic studies in the Albuquerque Public Schools, Emily is analyzing the connections between their analysis of white supremacy as systemic racism and their strategies of resistance to it. She has prior research experience using this testimonio methodology in the youth participatory action research project, showing it to be a means to empower youth, build self-esteem, and improve educational outcomes. As a public-facing sociologist, Emily’s goals include producing both academic articles and practical policy research, along with offering transformative teaching and mentoring to students like herself who are new to the academy, empowering them also to do research that changes many lives, including their own.

The subcommittee strongly believes that Emily’s research, activism, teaching, and mentoring capture what the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship stands for. We are pleased to give this award to Emily and look forward to her continuing commitment to intersectional social justice in her teaching, feminist methodology in participatory action research in communities of color, and the kind of public-facing sociology that will make an impact in and outside of the academy.

The subcommittee is delighted to recognize Cierra Sorin (pictured above) as the 2022 Honorable Mention. Cierra has faced numerous hardships in her life that would have hindered many from achieving their full academic potential. Cierra, however, persevered in the face of long-term interpersonal violence, and is the first woman in her family to receive a bachelor’s degree.

Cierra began her academic career at Cerritos College, a comprehensive community college in Norwalk, California. Her own experiences with interpersonal violence, coupled with the experiences of other women in her inner circle, prompted her to embark on her first social science research endeavor. Her multi-method project utilized surveys and interviews to better understand experiences of sexual violence and introduced her to the discipline of sociology. Cierra subsequently deepened her research and disciplinary foci, earning her B.A. in sociology from the University of California, San Diego before attending graduate school at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Cierra is currently a doctoral candidate in sociology with an expected dissertation defense in 2023. Her research builds on her prior work and examines processes of consent within the context of pre-existing social inequities. Specifically, Cierra examines consent knowledge, practices, and education efforts within United States BDSM communities. She will draw upon 75 hours of in-depth interviews with 55 BDSM practitioners to answer research questions related to consent violations in this community, and the social power dynamics that fuel and sustain them. Cierra has created a bridge between her research and activism by actively engaging with University of California policy makers to improve campus policies on sexual violence and sexual harassment. She has also given back to her community college by regularly visiting classes and explaining the transfer process, the university hidden curriculum, and her decision to attend graduate school. She also serves as a graduate student mentor, graduate instructor, and lead teaching assistant to undergraduates at UCSB.

Despite myriad academic and family breadwinning responsibilities, Cierra is a highly productive scholar, having co-authored four publications and sole-authored one. We agree with Cierra’s mentor, Tristan Bridges, that she is “poised to make important contributions to our understandings of sexual consent” with the completion of her doctoral work and future endeavors. As an intersectional scholar of gender and sexualities continuously engaged in research, mentorship, and activism, Cierra embodies the spirit of the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship Award, and we are pleased that the Honorable Mention funds will support her final year of dissertation writing.


2022 Chow Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winners Announced!

Katherine Maldonado Fabela is the 2022 Chow Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Recipient.

Karina Santellano and Carieta Thomas are the 2022 Chow Green Dissertation Scholarship Honorable Mention Awardees.

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 and non-binary scholars of color 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 and a $500 travel stipend for the SWS 2022 Summer Meeting and SWS 2023 Winter Meeting. The Honorable Mention Awardees will each receive a $1,750 scholarship.

Special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Sister to Sister Committee: Esther Hernández-Medina and Pallavi Banerjee and the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Subcommittee Members: Alexia Angton, Elizabeth Hughes, Kristy Kelly, and Marisa Salinas.

Katherine Maldonado Fabela is a mother of three from South Central Los Angeles, and a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests include medical sociology, inequalities, critical criminology, and visual methodology. She earned her B.A. in Chicana/o Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, Katherine conducted research as a McNair research fellow on gang-affiliated mothers’ resistance through education. She received her Master’s degree in Sociology at UC Riverside where she examined the ways gang affiliated women experience institutional violence and developed a conceptual model on life course criminalization. She continues this line of work in her dissertation by examining the experiences of Chicana mothers with intersectional stigmatized statuses in the carceral system, specifically the Child Welfare system. The investigation centers the multi-institutional violence that mothers navigate via child welfare, how it affects their mental health, and the ways they resist and heal from multiple forms of criminalization through system- impacted motherwork.Throughout her dissertation the experiences of families after child welfare involvement underscore the complex interactions of social, psychological, and biological dimensions of health and healing.

Katherine is a Pre-Doctoral Ford Foundation Fellow, American Sociology Association Minority Fellow and American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education fellow. Her research has been funded and recognized by grants including Abolitionist Teaching Network grant, Women’s Health, Gender and empowerment grant, among others. Katherine’s research has been published in the Journal of Critical Criminology, Aztlan Journal of Chicana/o Studies as well as multiple book chapters. She has been invited to speak to international audiences at the European University Institute, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and the United Nations about gang-affiliated women’s experiences and hopes to develop collective care models through policy. In other collaborative projects, as a research assistant, Katherine explored and testified on behalf of asylum seekers, and continues to explore the impacts of the immigration regime on Latinx families’ health.

In addition to her research, Katherine is also involved with activist organizations where she supports formerly incarcerated and system impacted students and mothers. She provides workshops to community members, mothers, and incarcerated youth where she aims to build a prison to education pipeline and organizes with system-impacted families involved in CPS. Katherine’s scholar activism is grounded in trauma-informed, healing-centered practices that push for collective health. Katherine hopes that her research, teaching, advocacy, and passion for social justice can push for abolition and also support mothers in crisis in ways that center healing for themselves, their children, and communities. The short-term goal of publishing her dissertation into a book forms part of her larger commitment to the decriminalization of mental health for mothers living within criminalized poor communities, while also complicating understandings of gendered criminalization, intergenerational health disparities, and resistance in system-impacted families.

Karina Santellano is a first-generation college student and Chicana PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a certificate in Latino/a studies from Duke University. Karina is an American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Graduate Fellow, a Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship recipient, and most recently an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellowship recipient.

Karina’s desire to study Latinx life through an intersectionality framework is shaped by her own life as a low-income Chicana raised by immigrant parents in San Diego, California. In her dissertation, Karina is examining upwardly mobile Latinx populations and cultural life through the site of Latinx owned and inspired coffee shops in the Southern California region. She examines how race/ethnicity, gender, motherhood status, and class shape coffee shop owners’ entrepreneurial pathways and experiences particularly during the pandemic.

In addition to writing peer-reviewed articles about later-generation Latinx entrepreneurship and Latinx consumerism, Karina plans to write stories based on her research on Latina coffee shop owners for local journalistic outlets. She would love to write on the roles of imperialism, colonialism, anti-indigeneity, and capitalism in the history of coffee to show readers how everyday products have landed on our kitchen tables. Similarly, she would love to write journalistic stories on the lives of U.S. born Latinas in the specialty coffee industry and the importance of transnational and ancestral ties to their businesses. In doing so, Karina could incorporate some of the photography she shares on her research Instagram (@Latinxcafecitos) and amplify the powerful stories of Latina entrepreneurs as they weather the racialized and gendered impacts of the pandemic. You can learn more about Latinx-inspired coffee shops through her research Instagram: @Latinxcafecitos.

Carieta Thomas (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Calgary. She received a JD from New England Law|Boston with a specialization in immigration law, an MA in Pan African Studies from Syracuse University, and a BA in International Relations and Africana Studies from Agnes Scott College. Carieta has been an immigrant since the age of two, when her family moved from Guyana to the British Virgin Islands and then again to the U.S., where they fell out of status. Having attended a high school with students from 50 different countries, Carieta began to grapple with the particular struggles that Black immigrants face. She then became involved in refugee resettlement, post-conflict resolution, and later interned with legal aid organizations in immigration law. As such, Carieta’s research is a culmination of her educational background and lived experiences.

Her research examines the role pre-employment screening is playing in the management of undocumented Caribbean care workers within the labour force in the U.S. and Canada. Specifically, it explores the location of undocumented women from the Caribbean within the context of increased surveillance in the labour market. The study investigates these issues on three levels: the responses of undocumented women from the Caribbean to these approaches in employment screening (micro); the role of individual employers and employment agencies in deploying technologies that screen workers based on immigrant status (meso); and Canadian and U.S. immigration policies/regulations (macro). The Caribbean women at the center of the study are at the intersections of being low-wage, racialized women with precarious immigrant status. It is especially important to tell their stories because not doing so will result in incomplete policy advocacy and further marginalizes the people doing the much needed and important labour of caregiving.

Carieta’s research and career goals are geared toward illuminating the stories of Black immigrants. In the short term she hopes to expand her current study to include undocumented care workers from countries in Western Africa who, like women from the Caribbean, have come to fill spaces in the global care work regime. She would also like to explore care work training programs in the Caribbean geared toward migrating to the U.S. and Canada, including possible policy changes that could expand visa options for care workers. Longer-term, her research plans include exploring the three-step and multi-step migration paths of Caribbean immigrants, the high rates of deportation among Black immigrants, and return migration.

Congratulations to the 2022 Summer SWS Social Actions Initiative Award Winners: Minwoo Jung and Leslie Wood!

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. Special thanks go to the Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee: Kris De Welde (Co-Chair), Heather Hlavka (Co-Chair) Rebecca P., Kira Escovar, Natascia Boeri, Rosalind Kichler and Kristy Kelly.

Minwoo Jung is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. His research investigates the impacts of global and regional geopolitics on political, economic, and social life of marginalized groups and individuals. His work grows out of multi-sited fieldwork conducted across East and Southeast Asia. His work has been published in The British Journal of Sociology, The Sociological Review, Social Movement Studies, and positions: asia critique.

As a transnational gender and sexuality scholar, Minwoo worked on a multi-sited research project on how global politics impact the conditions of queer activism in various parts of Asia, including South Korea. During Minwoo’s fieldwork, he became involved in the work of Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights in Korea, a Korean queer activist organization. For more information on Solidarity Korea, please visit: Solidarity Korea and Minwoo proposed educational workshops on transnational climate justice and queer feminist action for Korean queer and feminist activists. The workshops will provide a space for transformative education for Korean queer and feminist activists who seek to build coalitions between climate justice activism and queer and feminist activism in South Korea and across Asia. They will work with local climate justice organizations to create educational resource and identify shared issues, challenges, and agendas related to the uneven impact of the climate crisis on vulnerable women, as well as queer and trans people. During the workshop, they will also seek to form coalitions with feminist and queer movements in other Asian countries, particularly Taiwan and Japan, to address regional-scale climate challenges. With these workshops, Minwoo plans to bring the important issue of how impacts of climate change have been and will continue to be unequal to the attention of activist communities so that we can better understand climate injustices form a queer and feminist perspective, as well as discuss possible action plans for queer and feminist sustainability that challenges heteronational and reproductive futurism.

Leslie Wood (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate at Kent State University. She studies medical sociology/mental health and deviance. Her current work focuses on the social aspects of drug use, harm reduction, and experiences and perceptions surrounding the recovery community. Over the past 5 years, she has volunteered with and built relationships with numerous grassroots organizations and individuals in Akron, Ohio where she lives. She is passionate about meeting people where they are and providing access to harm reduction and recovery resources for marginalized populations. She strongly believes in asking people what they need, because every individual is the expert in their own lives, their own drug use, and their own definitions of recovery.

Leslie is thrilled and honored to receive an SWS social action award to help her in this work. Her proposed social action, “Boots on the Ground Initiative to Increase Public Awareness of Harm Reduction and Treatment Resources for Underserved Communities,” is a targeted campaign to provide education about and access to resources for harm reduction and recovery to specific neighborhoods where these vital tools are rarely provided. Using recent local overdose data to identify appropriate zip-codes, we will visit three underserved neighborhoods – low SES neighborhoods with high overdose rates – on three separate dates to engage with community members and pass out brochures, as well as naloxone with instructions and demonstrations of use. We also hope to offer other harm reduction tools including fentanyl test strips and wound care supplies.

Leslie proposed outreach campaign is targeted towards specific neighborhoods in Akron, Ohio where there is limited access to or awareness of local resources for harm reduction and treatment for people who use drugs. The goals for this campaign are as follows: 1) increase public awareness of what services and resources are freely available and local, 2) provide education on harm reduction and safer drug use 3) serve specific, underserved populations within their own communities. This campaign will be implemented by a team of local advocates primarily composed of people with who have lived experience with drug use, harm reduction and/or recovery. Ultimately, the team hopes to increase the services available directly within these underserved neighborhoods where funding does not seem to reach and decreasing the fear of asking for help and reducing the stigma of talking about drug use.

SWS Congratulates the 2022-2023 ASA Minority Fellowship Awardees Sponsored by SWS: Theresa Hice-Fromille and Carla Salazar Gonzalez

Theresa Hice-Fromille
Graduate Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Sociologists for Women in Society MFP

Theresa Hice-Fromille is a PhD candidate in sociology with designated emphases in critical race and ethnic studies and feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). She graduated from Lock Haven University in 2016 with a BA in political science and Spanish. At UCSC she developed a transdisciplinary scholarship and dissertation project titled Black Feminist Leadership, Black Girlhood, and Community-Based Education in the Global Black Imaginary. Within this study, Hice-Fromille examines the complex processes of teaching, learning, and imagining within the African diaspora by centering the experiences of Black women leaders and Black girl participants of two community-based educational organizations that incorporate travel abroad. She utilizes community-engaged methods, including youth participatory action research (YPAR) projects. Her work draws on literature that centers diasporic travel, community-based education, and Black girlhood to frame her investigation into the ways that Black girls’ experiences and imaginations for the future are oriented within a global context, and how Black women empower girls to take their social positions as starting points of solidarity and advance the struggle for liberation. She has published preliminary analyses of her dissertation research in Sociological Perspectives and Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. In her forthcoming open-source book chapter, “Teaching for Black Girls: What Every Graduate Student Instructor Can Learn from Black Girlhood Studies,” Hice-Fromille discusses curricular approaches that early career university instructors can use to cultivate a pro-Black pedagogical praxis that centers care for Black girls. Outside of teaching, researching, and leading Pathways to Research—a UCSC research mentorship program—Hice-Fromille enjoys traveling, gardening, baking, and finding the best Bay Area boba spots with her daughter.

Carla Salazar Gonzalez
Graduate Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Sociologists for Women in Society MFP

Carla Salazar Gonzalez is a PhD candidate in the sociology department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She earned her MA in social sciences with a concentration on demographic and social analysis and BA in sociology from the University of California, Irvine. Gonzalez’s research interests include immigration, asylum law, race/ethnicity, inequality, family, and gender. Born in Los Angeles (unceded Tongva lands). She was raised by her Mexican immigrant grandmother, and she spent part of her childhood in Tijuana, Mexico, where she now conducts research. Broadly, her mixed-methods research agenda seeks to generate greater understandings of the implications and consequences of immigration border policies and laws on immigrant populations and their families within and outside of the U.S. Gonzalez’s dissertation, Race and Gender in U.S. Immigration Policy: Mothers Seeking Asylum at the U.S.-Mexico Border, examines how asylum-seeking women and their children from Central America, along with their attorneys and advocates, negotiate and are affected by the laws and immigration policies surrounding borders and asylum. Her research leverages insight from 14 months of participant observations at an immigrant-serving organization, Al Otro Lado (AOL), and 125 interviews with Honduran, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran mothers in Tijuana seeking asylum in the U.S. Gonzalez’s research has been supported by the Fulbright Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, and various fellowships from research centers at UCLA. She looks forward to becoming a professor who will empower the next generation of race, immigration, and legal scholars. In addition to conducting research, she enjoys spending time with her partner and two spirited children and engaging in activities in her local community.

Here is the link to the first piece of writing to come out of Carla’s dissertation work: