Current Student Profiles

Students in the Ph.D. program in Sociology pursue research in many areas of sociology, including urban sociology, race and ethnicity, labor movements, gender, education, and immigration. Our students teach in the various universities across the CUNY system, work at the Graduate Center’s many research institutes, and are involved in ongoing research efforts at organizations across New York City.


Rachael Atheley


Education: B.A., Psychology, Lehman College, M.S., Applied Behavior Analysis, Drexel University

Research Interests: Intersectionality of Race, Disability and Gender, Medical Sociology, Disability Studies, Abolition

Rachael is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst who earned their M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Drexel University. Rachael is a Lead Behavior Analyst currently working with individuals on the autism spectrum at a prominent child welfare agency in New York City. Rachael is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the State University of New York New Paltz campus. In their work, they attempt to dismantle systems of oppression that keep many of the children that they work with from receiving the treatment that is needed. They also work from an intersectional and anti-racist framework. They encourage others to understand that race, gender, disability, and other identities impact each person differently and need to be considered before assessment and treatment. Rachael is a member of the New York State Association for ABA and serves as the chairperson of their DEIA committee. Rachael is currently a student in the Ph.D. program in sociology. Rachael is interested in exploring implicit bias in the diagnosis and treatment of autism specifically from a Black feminist lens. They are also interested in exploring the impacts of systems on those who are living with disabilities in metropolitan and rural locales.

When they are not working or studying, Rachael is spending time with friends in Astoria or watching reality television with their 4lb chihuahua Margo.

headshot: Josephine Barnett

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology and Media Studies, Queens College; M.S. Applied Social Research, Hunter College

Research Interests: visual sociology, media/film studies, medical sociology, generational trauma, critical disability studies, mental health, and feminist criminology

Josephine Barnett is a Ph.D. student earning a doctorate in Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Film Studies at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). She currently holds a position as an Adjunct Lecturer, teaching Research Methods and Analysis in the Sociology Department at Queens College (CUNY). As a trained photographer and sociologist, she employed visual research methods in her work entitled Painting a Voice, which explored how individuals living with stigmatizing illnesses (e.g., HIV/AIDS, breast cancer) used graffiti to raise social awareness about the illness, while also reclaiming their body and public space through ‘street art. Such work was awarded The Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology, sponsored by the Social Science Research Council and continues to be showcased by the International Visual Sociology Association. Josephine is currently developing her dissertation proposal, which aims to bridge sociological theory and visual research methodologies, exploring generational and cultural trauma. Employing mixed methods that include the use of ‘the family photo album’ and ‘home videos’ as data, she seeks to identify the visual aspects that contribute to the concealment (and exposure) of a traumatic past rooted in systemic acts of violence across generations.

Headshot: Duygu Basarin Sahin


Degrees/Diplomas: M.A., Health, Population and Social Policy, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

Dissertation Title: Inequality in later life: patterns, predictors and consequences of post-retirement employment in the United States (tentative), Advisor: Richard D. Alba

Research Interests: Aging, Race and Ethnicity, Inequality, Demography

Duygu Basaran Sahin is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and an alumni of the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR). As part of her fellowship at CIDR, she has worked with Frank Heiland on Black-White mortality differentials in the U.S. and then with Richard Alba on the rise of mixed-race groups in the U.S. She got her B.A. in Sociology in Istanbul, Turkey at Galatasaray University and holds an M.A. in Health, Population and Social Policy from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France. Before starting her doctoral studies, Duygu worked for non-profit organizations in Istanbul and New York. She is fluent in Turkish, English and French.

Headshot: Justin Beauchamp


Degrees/Diplomas: M.A., College Student Personnel, Bowling Green State University ; B.A., Social Identity Development, University of Connecticut

Research Interests: Higher Education, Inequality, Political Sociology, Race, Gender, Critical Theory

headshot: Viktor Bensus

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru; M.A. in City Planning, University of California Berkeley.

Research Interests: Social theory, social production of space, socio-spatial segregation, urban politics, housing policies, social movements, citizen participation, ethnography, and GIS.

Viktor is broadly interested in the relationship between social production of space and urban politics. His more recent research has analyzed how local governments in Lima, Peru, implemented participatory mechanisms that atomized civic participation and limited the public discussion of common urban issues. Previously, he has studied how real estate dynamics intensify patterns of socio-spatial segregation. His first book (co-authored) analyzes the relationship between criminal markets and national borders in Peru. He has also studied and published academic papers on topics related to public spaces, metropolitan governance, citizen participation, intermediate cities, and national borders.

Before moving to the U.S., he worked as instructor and researcher at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru.

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Degrees/Diplomas: M.A. Africana Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY; B.A. English Language & Literature, University of Michigan

Research Interests: race and ethnicity, inequality, culture, social change, historical sociology, urban sociology

Seon Britton is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. His work focuses primarily on marginalized communities seeking political, economic, and social justice and equity. More specifically, he studies organizations (grass-roots, non-profits, and socially-conscious corporations) and the hand that they can have in shaping social change/movements by being accessible to the communities they serve.

Headshot: Anthony Capote

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. in Sociology and Communication at Manhattan College, concentration in journalism

Research Interests: Mass communication, media studies, political economy, intersectional inequality, digital and new media, news media and media control

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Comparative Literature, Emory University

Research Interests: work and labor, emotions, inequality, cultural sociology, critical theory

When Alex C-L woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a sociologist.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology, Universidad Católica Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion; M.A. Sociology, Brooklyn College

Research Interests: citizenship studies, political sociology, social movements

Marco Castillo is an international doctoral student in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. With roots in Paraguay, Brazil, and Sweden, he is interested in the study of citizenship, and how its changing boundaries allow exploring class, gender, race, and ideological dynamics.

Weixiang Chen


Education: M.P.S. Labor and Global Workers' Rights, Penn State University; Bachelor of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, China

Research Interests: Labor resistance, labor process, labor and social movements, China

Weixiang Chen is a Chinese labor activist and a doctoral student in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He has been active in labor organizing and worker empowerment for a decade in southern China. His research interest lies in the state-capital-labor relationship, and class struggle among the Chinese working class. He is also very committed to public sociology.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology and Social Sciences, University of Brasilia; M.A. Sociology, University of Brasilia

Research Interests: social stratification, gender wage gap, top incomes


Juliana de Castro Galvao is a PhD student in Sociology at the Graduate Center, Cuny. Conducts research in the field of social stratification. She is interested in understanding the extent, trends and determinants of socioeconomic inequalities both within and between countries. She has a master’s degree from the University of Brasilia (UnB) where she performed research using Brazilian 2010 Census data and tax income data – in order to correct for underestimation at the top of the earnings distribution –  to analyze the extent and determinants of the gender wage gap in Brazil among top, median and low income holders. Before coming to New York, she also worked as a consultant for the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) and the Brazilian Ministry of Human Rights carrying out data management studies for the construction of the Brazilian national inclusion register of people with disabilities.

She is currently working on a research project led by professor Paul Attewell and funded by Ascendium and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that examines to what extent some colleges in the U.S. are more effective in getting their degree-seeking students a diploma even after controlling for student body and institutional characteristics. She is also working on a project that analyzes intra and inter-cohort lifetime earnings inequality in the US from 1967 to 2016 using data from the PSID. 


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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology, American University

Research Interests: Urban Sociology, Economic Sociology, Cultural Sociology 

Joanna Dressel is a Ph.D. student in Sociology. She received her B.A. in Sociology from American University, where she developed an interest in narratives of place, specifically in the context of urban development and what is good for the city. Recently she has been working on a project that considers venture capital and the startup economy as a strategy for economic development in 'secondary cities.' 

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Degrees/Diplomas: M.D. Universidad Nacional de La Plata; M.P.P. Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University

Research Interests: political economy, Latin America, labor movements

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Comparative American Studies, Oberlin College

Research Interests: labor and labor movements, race and ethnicity, collective behavior and social movements, working class politics

Inspired by my years as a union organizer in Chicago, my research focuses on race in the American Labor Movement. Specifically, I have written about historical cases of anti-black discrimination and violence in labor struggles, as well as solidarity and discord between organized labor and racial justice movements. More broadly, I am interested in theories of working class identity formation, political ideology and behavior, social movement spillover and interaction, and racial solidarity and conflict. In addition to my academic research, I teach Sociology courses at John Jay College as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. I am also the student representative for the Labor and Labor Movements Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA); a student fellow with ARC, CUNY’s Advanced Research Collaborative; and a member of the Student Advisory Board for Social Problems.

Albert Garcia


Education: M.A. Study of the Americas, CUNY City College of New York; B.A., Sociology, CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice; A.A. Liberal Arts, Bergen Community College

Research Interests: Spatial Sociology, Transnational Hispaniola, Power and Globalization

Albert Garcia received his MA in the Study of the Americas from CUNY City College of New York focusing on climate change as a power structure that has reshaped tourism in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Albert is currently a student in the Ph.D. program in Sociology. He is motivated by how processes of power influence how marginalized communities interact in and navigate social spaces.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Political Science, Université Libre de Bruxelles; M.A. Population and Development Studies, Université Libre de Bruxelles; MSc. Latin American Politics, University College London

Research Interests: Latin America, social control, discourse analysis, poverty and inequality, hegemony and ideology, public policies, neoliberalism

Hugo Goeury received his MA in Population and Development Studies from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Based on a four-month field research in La Havana, his dissertation studied the impact of urban agriculture on food security. He then completed an MSc in Latin American Politics at the University College London (UCL), focusing on the evolution of the official memory promoted by successive Argentine governments towards the military dictatorship of 1976-1983. Following graduation, he worked for about a year in the research department of the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) in Buenos Aires. Hugo is currently enrolled in the PhD Sociology program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. His research interests include issues of social control, State transformation, ideology and neoliberalism and inequalities in the Latin American context.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Biology, Wesleyan University

Research Interests: neighborhoods, race, crime, and stratification/inequality

Miranda Grundy

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Education: B.A., Ethnic Studies, Brown University 

Research Interests: Urban Sociology, Qualitative Methods, Race & Ethnicity, Feminisms, Labor, Criminology, Critical Theory

Miranda Grundy received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies from Brown University, with a focus on the criminal-legal system, urban social policy, and feminized labor. Miranda went on to serve as an Americorps VISTA leading and participating in political campaigns to end solitary confinement, legalize sex work, reform probation, and reduce the incarceration of women in Rhode Island. She is currently a student in the Ph.D. program in Sociology, with interests in women's labor and the intersections of race, class, gender, and criminality.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Race, Migration, and Social Change, The Graduate Center, CUNY (CUNY BA)

Research Interests: social movements, migration, labor, race, incarceration, historical sociology.

Jane Guskin is a doctoral student in sociology at The Graduate Center, the City University of New York. Her research explores race, migration, labor, criminalization, and social change through a historical-sociological lens. Her current work investigates how thousands of immigrant workers across the United States navigated power relations to set the terms of their participation in “Day without an Immigrant” general strikes during the spring of 2006. She has also studied the dynamics of power in grassroots campaigns against immigration detention in New York City in the post-9/11 period. In 2017 Jane worked for Dr. Ruth Milkman conducting focus groups in Spanish and English with home care workers for a research project with New York City’s Office of Labor Protections and Standards. She has also worked for Dr. Els de Grauuw at Baruch College, researching local initiatives on immigrant integration in New York State. Jane has a background in labor and immigrant rights organizing, nonprofit administration, and grants management. She is co-author of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers, published by Monthly Review Press.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.S. Chemistry, University at Albany, SUNY

Research Interests: science and technology, gender, sexuality, race, youth and education, social movements

Maeve Haggins

Prior to joining the PhD program, Maeve completed an MA in International Migration Studies at the Graduate Center. Her research interests are migration and bordering, with ethnography, race, class and gender within those. Her goal is to become a qualitative sociologist focused on migration and to continue bridging the gap between academia and the wider public. Outside of the GC, Maeve is a writer, comic and actor. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Irish Examiner.

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Degrees/Diplomas: L.L.B., Sociology, Minzu University of China; M.A. Social Sciences, University of Chicago

Research Interests: Ethnoracial Categorization, International Immigration, Geospatial Analysis, National Identity

Beiyi Hu received her MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago studying how people and institutions perceived and deployed categories that created geographically inscribed “Otherness” in Sweden. After completing her Master’s, Beiyi worked on Harvard Faculty Policy and Benefits Survey Project as a research assistant at the University of Chicago Survey Lab. Beiyi is currently an Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) student fellow. Her current research focuses on the myth of Swedish national identity and its relations with refugees. 

Isaac-Jabola-Carolus-photo student


Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Development Studies, Brown University

Research Interests: labor and labor movements, social movements, social welfare policy

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Race, Migration, and Social Change, The Graduate Center, CUNY (CUNY BA)

Research Interests: social movements, migration, labor, race, incarceration, historical sociology.

Jane Guskin is a doctoral student in sociology at The Graduate Center, the City University of New York. Her research explores race, migration, labor, criminalization, and social change through a historical-sociological lens. Her current work investigates how thousands of immigrant workers across the United States navigated power relations to set the terms of their participation in “Day without an Immigrant” general strikes during the spring of 2006. She has also studied the dynamics of power in grassroots campaigns against immigration detention in New York City in the post-9/11 period. In 2017 Jane worked for Dr. Ruth Milkman conducting focus groups in Spanish and English with home care workers for a research project with New York City’s Office of Labor Protections and Standards. She has also worked for Dr. Els de Grauuw at Baruch College, researching local initiatives on immigrant integration in New York State. Jane has a background in labor and immigrant rights organizing, nonprofit administration, and grants management. She is co-author of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers, published by Monthly Review Press.

Angela LaScala-Gruenewald student


Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Political Science and International Studies, University of Chicago

Research Interests: Law and society, social stratification/inequality, critical criminology, the welfare state, qualitative and quantitative methods

Angela LaScala-Gruenewald is a PhD candidate in sociology at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. Their research explores social control exercised through public institutions with an emphasis on the relationship between bureaucratic processes and social inequalities. Angela’s current study uses ethnographic methods to examine how fines and fees are implemented in local courts in New York. Prior to their dissertation research, Angela worked at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and Arnold Ventures. Angela received their M.A. in Sociology from CUNY’s City College of New York and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

Xuemeng-Li headshot student


Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology, Nanjing University; M.A. Sociology, Nanjing University; Graduate Certificate in International Relations, Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University

Research Interests: quantitative methods, factories and labor studies

Shannon-Lund headshot student


Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Journalism, Brooklyn College; M.S. Business Economics, Brooklyn College

Research Interests: HIV and AIDS, gender and sexuality, LGBTQ youth,

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Political Sciences, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Rennes; M.A. Urban Studies, Sciences Po. Paris

Josue Melendez

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Education: BSW, Loyola University Chicago; MSW, Organizational and Community Practice, Michigan State University; MA, Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Michigan State University

Research Interests: Social Inequality/Privilege and Oppression/Equity and Inclusion, Intersectionality and Critical Theories, Surveys and Qualitative Methods

Short Summary: Josué's previous studies and work have focused on exploring privilege and oppression alongside equity and inclusion in education, community, and healthcare institutions. In addition to his formal undergraduate and graduate studies in social work and education, he has over twelve years of direct practice experience providing services to clients and engaged in managerial duties in both public and nonprofit organizations. Currently, Josue is a sociology PhD student working to develop further expertise in the areas of social inequality, intersectionality and critical theories, and survey and qualitative research in order to focus on critical research of social inequality within a variety of settings, including areas as varied as graduate education and corporate employment.


Education: B.A ., Sociology, Brooklyn College

Research Interests: Digital Sociology, Sociology of Media and Communication, Race, Class, Gender, Social Movements, Social Stratification, Urban Sociology

After years working in the technical side of Event Production and Performing Arts, Turi Robert Mendoza received his B.A. in sociology from Brooklyn College in 2019 focusing on examining the connection between the minimum wage increase and the anxieties around rising cost of living concerns of low income and working class New Yorkers. After completing his B.A., he began working in the non-profit sector in organizations that focused on providing support for Low Income Families and At-Risk Children. Turi is currently a student in the PHD program in Sociology. His current research interest centers on the ways that Digital Spaces and other forms of interactive technological media impact the creation of Personal and Political identities and affect the political engagement of individuals in broader social movements.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A., Sociology, California State University, Northridge

Research Interests: Education, Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, Criminalization of Cultural Performance, Qualitative Methodologies

Brian is a PhD student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He completed a B.A. in General Sociology from California State University, Northridge. His research interests include the criminalization and exclusion of youth entangled in the school/prison/deportation regime nexus and the impacts that interconnected systems of power in and around school settings have on “Othered” students’ decisions to reject dominant cultural values and practices by engaging in criminalized cultural performances.

Parisa Montazaran Osmanovic student


Degrees/Diplomas: MA in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from NYU

Research Interests: Economic sociology, immigration, religion, culture and race/ethnicity

Parisa Montazaran Osmanovic is a third-year doctoral student in the department of Sociology at the Graduate Center. Her interests include the intersections of economic sociology, immigration, religion, culture and race/ethnicity. She received her MA in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from NYU (‘16) and her doctoral research at the GC continues to explore the financial inclusion of Muslim Americans. 

Parisa serves on the Sociological Students Association (SSA) Anti-Racism Committee and Funding Equity campaign and was elected for a second term to the Curriculum and Examination (C&E) Committee (2020-22), which was awarded a PublicsLab Doctoral Curriculum Enhancement Grant (DCEG) for their research and mission to Decolonize Theory Curriculum. This project is especially meaningful to her teaching experience, as she lectures Intro to Sociology and Decolonizing Feminism courses to undergraduates at Hunter.

In 2021, she was also elected to the Doctoral and Graduate Student Council (DGSC) as a representative for the department of Sociology and therein elected 2021-22 University Faculty Senate (UFS) Liaison on behalf of the Doctoral students at The Graduate Center. 

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Degrees/Diplomas: M.F.A. Poetry, Hunter College; B.A. Philosophy, Baruch College

Research Interests: Education, religion, collective memory

Education: B.A. Psychology, Reed College; M.S. Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences, CUNY Graduate Center

Research Interests: Inequality, Political Sociology, Political Economy, Politics and Business, Mixed Methos, Quantitative Methos

Robert (Robby) received his BA from Reed College in 2018 where he conducted experimental research on the social psychology of prejudice and mixed methods research on prejudice in higher education classrooms. After completing graduate coursework in social psychology at Purdue University, Robby worked as a researcher at a program evaluation firm evaluating non-profit programs in New York City. He earned a M.S. in the CUNY Graduate Center’s Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program and for his capstone project, investigated corporate political activity and economic inequality in the United States since the 1970s. He is currently building on this work to examine how the US financial sector has used structural versus instrumental power to influence the politics of inequality.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. in Spanish and Social Work, Marist College; M.S.W in Social Work, Columbia University

Research Interests: Race, Disability Studies, Intersectionality, Family Studies, The Welfare State, Family Regulation System, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, Ethnography

Siobhan Pokorney is a PhD candidate in sociology at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. Her research explores the intersection of race and disability in the family regulation system. More specifically, she investigates how Black disabled mothers are treated in a more punitive manner by the family regulation system than their Black able-bodied and white disabled peers. She connects the need for abolition of the carceral system to the need for the abolition of the family regulation system. Siobhan utilizes quantitative and qualitative methods in her research. Prior to her dissertation research Siobhan worked within the family regulation system in New York City. She continues to do clinical mental health work for college students while completing her dissertation research. Siobhan received her Masters in Sociology from CUNY’s City College of New York, Masters in Social Work from Columbia University, and Bachelors in Spanish and Social Work from Marist College.



Michael-Raphael photo student job market



Dissertation: The Politics of Expertise in Professional Education: Cognitive Style and Metaphor in the Problem-Based Learning of Decision-Making

Degrees/Diplomas: B.S. Sociology, Northeastern University; M.S.C.J. Criminal Justice, Northeastern University

Dissertation Title: The Politics of Expertise in Professional Education: Cognitive Style and Metaphor in the Problem-Based Learning of Decision-Making

Research Interests: medical sociology, sociology of law, social control (policing and deviance), culture and cognition/cognitive sociology, social, political and legal theory

Michael W. Raphael is in the sociology department at CUNY Graduate Center, specializing in cognitive sociology. He is interested in the politics of bounded rationality and its relationship to tacit knowledge in the development of competence and expertise. Michael explores these socio-cognitive aspects in a wide range of empirical contexts, ranging from everyday life to specific manifestations in professional work – in areas such as chess, policing, law, and medicine. Holding a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, his thesis began this research program by analyzing factors constraining the development of interpersonal expertise for the implementation of community policing. His dissertation, “The Politics of Expertise in Professional Education: Cognitive Style and Metaphor in the Problem-Based Learning of Decision-Making” investigates the politics of culture & cognition in the relationship between the development of legal expertise and the demands of the legal profession.

This multi-method research program has earned grants and publications. His 231-volume Kindle series, “ReViewing Chess” (2010-2011), was an experiment in the development of expertise. “Phenomenological Theories of Crime” (Oxford Bibliographies, 2012), co-authored with Peter K. Manning, demonstrated how cognitive sociology challenges traditional criminological explanations. Raphael’s “Cognitive Sociology” (Oxford Bibliographies, 2017) demonstrated five ideal types of how social theory understands cognition. He teaches courses in sociology and criminology.

Morgan Richards-Melamdir student


Degrees/Diplomas: M.A. Sociology, University of Oklahoma; B.A., Sociology, University of Central Oklahoma

Research Interests: Gender, Social and Economic Inequality, Social Policy, Comparative Methods

Morgan Richards-Melamdir is a Sociology PhD student at the Graduate Center. She’s interested in how political and economic organizations, policies, and decision-makers shape life chances, especially for those most socially and economically marginalized. Richards-Melamdir applies a global lens and cross-national and comparative methodologies to pursue this interest. Her current research focuses on gender bias in tax policy and the instrumentalization of women’s empowerment in the World Bank Group policy and project implementation.

Richards-Melamdir is also an evaluation, and research specialist who has spent the last decade facilitating data-driven decision-making in partnership with NGOs and government agencies, as well as research institutes and academia. Her work has informed projects funded or implemented by UN Women, UNDP,  ILO, World Bank, USAID, World Vision, Plan USA, WUR and others. Richards-Melamdir’s research and evaluation work includes projects in Kenya, Uganda, India, Nepal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Haiti, Armenia, Georgia, and the United States.

The results of Richards-Melamdir’s applied work and academic research have been featured in several conferences, a UN Think Piece, policy briefs, a technical journal, and the International Journal of Sociology.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Psychology, Community Studies, UC Santa Cruz; M.S. Conflict and Dispute Resolution, University of Oregon School of Law

Research Interests: critical criminology (criminalization of sex work), popular culture and social movements, feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theory

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. History, SOAS University of London; M.A. Theory & Practice of Human Rights, University of Essex

Research Interests: postcolonial theory, forced migration, deportations, political violence, Middle East politics, human rights discourse, globalization

Beeta Nazanin Salsabilian

Education: B.A. Psychology & Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin; M.A. Criminal Justice, CUNY John Jay College 

Research Interests: Immigration, social stratification and inequality, gender and sexuality, urban sociology, criminology, public policy

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Politics, Psychology and Sociology (PPS), University of Cambridge; M.A. Social Sciences (MAPSS), University of Chicago

Research Interests: critical race theory, immigration, urban sociology, qualitative methods, symbolic interactionism, gender studies

Janina Selzer received her BA in Politics, Psychology and Sociology from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2015. In 2016 she graduated with an MA in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago with a focus on racial segregation in a demographically heterogeneous neighbourhood in Chicago. Janina studies critical race theory, gender, intersectionality of inequality, urban sociology, and qualitative methods. More specifically she focuses on the construction of racial categories in the European context, as well as intersectional experiences of everyday racism in Germany. Currently, her research looks at how far-right media outlets define a German vs. a foreign identity in order to criminalize Muslim refugees.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology, Vassar College

Research Interests: racialization and racial formation, gender and sexual performativity, symbolic interaction, social psychology, queer theory, critical race theory, sociology of knowledge, social constructionism, social theory

Andrew Shapiro is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY researching the reproduction of racial hierarchy, heteronormativity, and other systems of domination through a symbolic interactionist lens. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Vassar College, where he researched the changing contours of racial exclusion and inclusion for New York's Ashkenazi Jewry. His scholarship focuses primarily on issues of racialization, performativity, social psychology and theory. He currently teaches sociology classes at Lehman College.

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Degrees/Diplomas:  B.A. American Studies, University of Connecticut; M.A. Sociology, City College of New York

Dissertation Title: The Virtual Swirl: Images of #Interracial Couples on Instagram

Research Interests: sociology of families, race and racisms, gender and sexuality, social media, digital sociology, media and pop culture studies

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A., Sociology, Georgia State University

Research Interests: Education, Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory, Inequality

August Smith received their B.A. in Sociology from Georgia State in 2019. Their research thus far has focused on the racial education gap in Georgia high schools. Their future work will continue to look at the racial and class education gaps as well as the ways that white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and capitalism are bolstered through classroom best practices and certain pedagogical choices. They will also look at ways that this phenomenon can be subverted in order to promote more equitable and liberated classrooms.

Suzanne Strickland

Education: B.A., Sociology, University of Massachusetts; M.A. Sociology, Boston College

Research Interests: Afghanistan, Immigraiton,International Development

Suzanne Strickland enters the academy from a distinguished career in government, policy and consulting in both America and Afghanistan. 

Her scholarship focuses on the collapse of Afghanistan and the dynamics of the diaspora. Prior to the U.S. troop withdrawal, she researched development issues in Afghanistan and the surrounding region, and studied Afghan immigrants in the New York City metropolitan area—the densest Afghan community in the U.S.  She has also studied how young Afghan immigrants from this community become radicalized, and is the only person not associated with law enforcement to be granted an interview with members of this community serving time on terrorism convictions in federal U.S. prisons.  Her work in this arena focuses on crafting policy and programmatic recommendations aimed at redirecting young immigrants from extremism and towards activities that improve their educational and career prospects and also contribute to the societies in which they live.

Suzanne Strickland has consulted for investment funds seeking to rebuild a variety of Afghanistan’s economic sectors, and she has written articles and policy papers recommending a sharper focus on “investing, not spending” for U.S.-led development policy in that country to encourage a more stable and sustainable long-term effort.

Prior to her scholarship on Afghanistan and the Afghan-American community, she won numerous awards and appointments for her pioneering work on US welfare reform-projects that became the basis for federal legislation.


Brittany Suh


Education: M.A. Media, Culture, Communication, New York University; B.A. Mass Communication & Law, Handong Global University

Research Interests: migration, crime, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, culture, sex work and human trafficking, urban sociology, geospatial analysis

Brittany Suh is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her current research focuses on migrant sex work and human trafficking in urban neighborhoods of NYC and LA, using geospatial analysis and ethnographic methods to examine the experiences of migrant workers. 

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Fiction Writing, Columbia College of Chicago; M.A. Liberal Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Research Interests: participatory democracy, social movements, digital media, urban studies, liberation pedagogy.

Frederick's research focuses on experiments in direct, participatory democracy, particularly global democratic processes that utilize digital media. Research also includes urban social movements that result in regime change and establish democratized governance.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Psychology, Linguistics, Portland State University Honors College; M.A. Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University

Dissertation Title: Public Sector Unions and the State in Michigan and Ohio, 1950-1985

Research Interests: political economy, public sector labor unions, inter-state comparisons, the long 1970s, labor and work, the welfare state, political sociology, state theory, critical theory

Joseph van der Naald is a Ph.D. candidate in the program in sociology at the Graduate Center. His research is generally concerned with the public sector labor movement in the United States. More specifically, he is interested in public sector unions and inter-state differences in labor law and social policy regimes. Joseph also serves as a research assistant at the Stone Center for Socio-Economic Inequality, a research analyst at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, as a Writing Across the Curriculum fellow at Kingsborough Community College, and as doctoral researcher at the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions.

His research at the National Center focuses largely on student worker unionization trends and labor law. His recent publications on this subject include:

Herbert, Wiliam A., and Joseph van der Naald. (2020). "A Different Set of Rules? NLRB Proposed Rule Making and Student Worker Unionization Rights." Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy 11(1).

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Sociology and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College

Research Interests: gender, race, political economy, organizations, social movements

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Chemistry, Skidmore College; M.A. Liberal Studies,  Graduate Center, CUNY

Research Interests: ethnography, racial and socioeconomic inequality, emotional labor, gender, presentation of self

Talya's past research involves ethnographic work with the Alcoholics Anonymous community, in which she explores how connections are forged across racial and socioeconomic strata. She is interested as well in emotional labor, with a specific focus on the work of nannies and the racial and socioeconomic inequalities experienced in the field. She takes great joy in in-depth ethnography work, but is also trained in other qualitative and quantitative methods.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.S., Mathematics and Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago

Research Interests: Political Economy, Comparative Historical Sociology, Sociology of Labor 

Hakan Yilmaz is a first year student at the PhD program in Sociology at the Graduate Center. His research interests are in Contemporary Political Economy, Comparative Historical Sociology and Sociology of Labor. So far, his research was primarily in public education, financialization and the origins of capitalism.  He teaches an introductory course in heterodox economics at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and has previously taught at New York City College of Technology.

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Degrees/Diplomas: B.A. Spanish Literature and Language, Point Loma Nazarene University; M.A. Sociology, Fordham University

Research Interests: urban inequality, affordable housing, neighborhoods, gentrification and suburbanization, segregation, globalization, educational inequality, quantitative methods

Kasey is a fourth-year doctoral student in Sociology at The Graduate Center (CUNY). He is broadly interested in researching urban inequality at the neighborhood level. Specifically, his interests focus on housing inequality, residential segregation, affordable housing, neighborhood change, gentrification, and suburbanization. Kasey is working on developing a dissertation project that looks at how neighborhood patterns of inequality and residential segregation shape spatial patterns of neighborhood affordability for the middle class.
Currently, Kasey is a Stone Center Junior Scholar and Urban Studies Pre-Dissertation Fellow. He teaches Social Statistics at Hunter College and is a teaching Assistant for Statistics I in the Graduate Center’s Quantitative Methods in Social Science program. He also works as a research assistant for Paul Attewell in the sociology department, researching the income benefits for those with varying degrees of educational attainment.
This past Summer Kasey was a Connect NYC Fellow and interned in the Research and Evaluation Division of the New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where he helped to construct a dataset resulting from the Department's innovative Housing and Neighborhood Study.
Before that, Kasey worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Urban Research where he conducted labor market research for various CUNY colleges/universities, governmental institutions, and non-profits throughout the city. As a Digital Publics Fellow at the Center for Humanities, he developed a website that centralizes the various resources around rent regulation in New York City. He holds a Bachelors in Spanish Literature and Language and a Masters in Sociology.