Two Professors and an Alumna Named Russell Sage Foundation Scholars

February 2, 2023

The prestigious fellowship supports research to improve social and living conditions in the U.S.

Two Faculty and a Grad Named 2023-4 Russell Sage Scholars
Professors Leslie McCall and Núria Rodríguez-Planas and alumna Alexandrea Ravenelle (Ph.D. '18, Sociology) will be Russell Sage Foundation visiting scholars in 2023-2024. (Leslie McCall photo by Alex Irklievski)

Two Graduate Center professors and an alumna were named Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholars in January. The prestigious 10-month residential fellowship supports scholars as they pursue research and writing projects that reflect the foundation’s commitment to strengthening the social sciences and conducting research to improve social and living conditions in the United States. The foundation, one of the oldest in the U.S., selected 18 visiting scholars for the 2023–2024 year.

Leslie McCall, presidential professor of Sociology and Political Science and associate director of the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, will study public opinion and media coverage on economic inequality and related policy preferences. She will investigate responses to class, racial, ethnic, and gender inequality using survey experiments, media content analysis, and new policy questions. The motivation for her research, she said, is to examine how people draw connections among different forms of economic inequality (class, race, gender, etc.) and coalesce around certain solutions to widespread economic inequality.

“The Russell Sage Foundation has a unique and wonderful staff, administration, and space that genuinely values and supports collaborative research that can enhance understanding of, and ultimately have an impact on reducing, the most persistent and troubling social problems and inequities that we face today,” she said.

Núria Rodríguez-Planas, a professor of Economics at the Graduate Center and Queens College, will explore how low-income and minority urban college students have coped during the pandemic. She will draw on surveys with over 24,000 students, CUNY academic records, and New York City COVID-19 data to examine how the pandemic affected students’ academic performance as well as their educational and labor market expectations and trust in the government and members of their community.

The fellowship, she said, “is a great recognition of my academic work and career. It is also a great opportunity to get more attention on my research on how the pandemic is affecting CUNY students’ lives at the educational, emotional, and economic levels.”

Alexandrea Ravenelle (Ph.D. ’18, Sociology), an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will work on a book examining the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on precarious workers. She has conducted in-depth interviews with more than 70 workers to better understand how low-wage and restaurant workers and gig workers make sense of their experiences with the pandemic and how they assess risk.

“It’s such an incredible honor to be selected,” she said. “When I was at the GC, my then executive officer, Phil Kasinitz, also had the fellowship, and that was my first exposure to the Russell Sage Foundation. I remember thinking as a grad student that it sounded pretty great, and now as an assistant professor, the opportunity to spend a year writing is invaluable.”

Published by the Office of Communications and Marketing