2017-18 Sociology Graduate Student Achievement Highlights

June 29, 2018

Sociology@UCSantaCruz is proud to announce the following graduate student scholarship, awards, publications and other scholarly achievements in the 2017-2018 academic year. 


3 PhD Recipients

Christie McCullen completed the PhD program with a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Studies (Summer 2017); Dissertation title: “Felt Understandings: Talking About Race in College Classrooms”; Committee: Dan Takagi (Chair), Herman Gray, Julie Bettie.

Darren Willett completed the PhD program (Summer 2017); Dissertation title: “All that is Solid Melts into Sound: Music, Interculturality and the (Trans)formation of the Self in Desegregation Era Los Angeles”; Committee: Eric Porter (Chair), Herman Gray, Julie Bettie.

Bernie Zaleha completed the PhD program with a Designated Emphasis in Environmental Studies (Spring 2018); Dissertation title: “A Tale of Two Christianities: The Religiopolitical Clash Over Climate Change Within America’s Dominant Religion”; Committee: Andrew Szasz (Chair), Miriam Greenberg, Nathaniel Deutsch, Bron Taylor.

5 MA Recipients

Kyle Galindez MA paper title: “Defend Mother Earth! And Sign My Petition? Metaphors, Tactics, and Environmental Movement Organizations” 

Aida Mukharesh MA paper title: “Organizing Anarchy: The limits and possibilities of radical place-making in West Oakland” 

Saugher Nojan MA paper title: “Afghan-Americans Negotiating the Paradox of Visibility”

Uriel Serrano MA paper title: “Campus Racial Microclimates: The Complex Experiences of Black and Latino Men with Compositional Diversity”  

James Sirigotis MA paper title: pending

4 Qualifying Exams

Fall 2017: Kristin Miller, Stephen Sepaniak

Spring 2018: Aida Mukharesh with Honors, Julian Rodriguez


Andy Murray’s master’s thesis on "Meat cultures: Lab-grown meat and the politics of contamination" was published as an article in BioSocieties.

Uriel Serrano published two research reports with Professor Veronica Terriquez titled “A Beloved Community: Promoting The Healing, Well-Being, and Leadership Capacities of Boys and Young Men of Color” and “Youth and Community Well-Being in Mid-City Community Advocacy Network” for the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE); and a book review of “Educating a Diverse Nation: Lessons from Minority-Serving Institutions” for the Journal of Negro Education.

Yvonne Sherwood published a book review of “Prairie Rising” for the American Indian Culture and Research Journal.



Kati Barahona-López recipient of a 2017 PIMSA Award; serving on the ASA’s Student Forum Advisory Board.

Laura Harrison recipient of a Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship for the Fall 2018 quarter.

Theresa Johnson recipient of a GSA Research & Travel Grant.

Aki Kurosawa recipient of a GSA Research & Travel Grant.

Yi-Chen Liu recipient of a Certificate in Guitar Craft from the Musicians Institute.

Sarah Mason recipient of a GSA Research & Travel Grant.

Marcelo Mendez recipient of a UC HRI Humanists at Work Conference Travel Grant.

Kristin Miller completed her second year as a HASTAC Scholar (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory); Participant of the HKW’s Anthropocene Campus Philadelphia.

Aida Mukharesh recipient of a UCSC-Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Program grant.

Saugher Nojan recipient of a Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion grant for the Muslim Students Capture Campus Climate Photovoice Exhibit; a GSA grant for research development; Graduate Student Fellowship from the UC California Immigration Research Initiative; and was elected to serve on the ASA’s Student Forum Advisory Board for a 2-year term.

Justin Obcena recipient of a distinguished service award as a PyeongChang 2018 Olympic/Paralympic Volunteer.

Michelle Parra recipient of the Lionel Cantú Memorial Award.

Julian Rodriguez recipient of a Lionel Cantú Memorial Award and was a 2018 CITL Graduate Pedagogy Fellow.

Toni Rouhana recipient of a Global Religion Research Initiative (GRRI) Dissertation Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame.

Uriel Serrano received Honorable Mention and Alternate for the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, a UCSC-Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Program grant, recipient of the Lionel Cantú Memorial Award, elected as Graduate Student Representative for the ASA Latino/a Sociology Section, elected as the Graduate Student Representative for the PSA Board of Directors while finishing a 3-year term with the PSA’s Student Affairs Committee.

Yvonne Sherwood recipient of a President's Dissertation Fellowship for the 2018-2019 academic year; a GSA Research & Travel Grant; an ASA Travel Grant Award; and is one of three recipients of the 2018 Jessica L. Roy Memorial Award.

Roxanna Villalobos recipient of a UCSC Blum Scholars Research Grant and a Koret Graduate Student Mentor Scholarship.

Erica Zurawski recipient of an ASFS Conference Travel Grant; an ASA Student Travel Grant and a GSA Research & Travel Grant.


Sociology graduate student Julian Rodriguez selected for the 2018 Graduate Pedagogy Fellows Program

Sociology graduate student Andy Murray in BioSocieties on "Meat cultures: Lab-grown meat and the politics of contamination"

Sociology graduate student Uriel Serrano is elected for the Pacific Sociological Association's Board of Directors

See Also