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Profiles of Recent Graduates

Maria Abascal, Brown University
In 2016-2017, Maria will be at Brown University as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology and Population Studies. Starting in fall 2017, Maria will be at Columbia University as an Assistant Professor of Sociology, with an affiliation to the Management Division of Columbia Business School.

René D. Flores, University of Michigan
After receiving my Ph.D. in sociology and social policy from Princeton University in 2014, I became a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan. My primary research interests are in the fields of international migration, race and ethnicity, and social stratification. My dissertation examined the social consequences of subnational restrictionist immigration policies in the U.S. using administrative, ethnographic, and social media data. Some of my current research projects include an experimental study of the consequences of interracial relationships, an investigation on the relationship between gun ownership and crime, and a set of papers assessing the adaptation of second-generation immigrants in Europe.

Joanne W. Golann, Vanderbilt University
Joanne W. Golann is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education at Vanderbilt University. As an ethnographer, she is interested in exploring how social class shapes skills, experiences, and opportunities. Her research has focused on discipline in high-achieving urban charter schools and parenting practices. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University in 2016. She teaches courses in Sociology of Education, Qualitative Methods, and Organizational Theory.

Amir Goldberg, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Amir Goldberg’s research lies at the intersection of organization studies, cultural sociology and network science. He is interested in understanding how social meanings emerge and solidify through social interaction, and what role network structures play in this process. He uses and develops computationally intensive network-based methods to study how new cultural and organizational categories take form as people and organizational actors interact.

Jeffrey Lane, Rutgers University, School of Communication and Information
Jeffrey Lane is an Assistant Professor at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. Jeffrey is an urban ethnographer who writes about the ways in which mediated communication and community come together in the life of the inner city. His research integrates face-to-face and digital fieldwork to understand how interpersonal relations and ties between people and institutions unfold over time. The Digital Street is the title and subject of his forthcoming book with Oxford University Press on the networked communication that brokers street life. Jeffrey is a Junior Fellow of the Yale Urban Ethnography Project. At Rutgers, he teaches courses on mediated communication.

Rourke O'Brien, Harvard University
I am currently (2014-2016) a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at Harvard University where I am an affiliate of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. My research focuses on household and public finance, public policy, inequality and population health. Starting January 2016 I will be an Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jayanti Owens, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Brown University
Jayanti Owens is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2013-2015). Beginning in fall of 2015, she will be an assistant professor of sociology and public policy at Brown University, and an affiliate of the Population Studies and Training Center. Broadly, her research focuses on the causes of gender, racial/ethnic, and immigrant educational and labor market inequality. Her current research addresses three puzzles: The growing, female-favoring gender gap in educational attainment in the United States; a growing disparity in parents' and teachers' perceptions of boys' and girls' childhood behavior problems across cohorts, and; the uneven educational and career penalties associated with males' and females' behavior problems. Amid the marked rise in the diagnosed prevalence of behavior problems such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children in the United States, Owens investigates social and medical explanations for this rise in diagnosed prevalence across cohorts. She also uses a counterfactual framework to examine cohort and gender differences in the effects of ADHD diagnosis and treatment on later well-being and educational and labor market outcomes. Owens' work has appeared in journals such as Sociology of Education, Social Science Research, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Sociology of Religion. Owens received a joint Ph.D. in sociology and demography from Princeton University (2013). 

David Pedulla, University of Texas at Austin
David Pedulla is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Faculty Research Associate of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include race and gender stratification, labor markets, economic and organizational sociology, and experimental methods. Specifically, his research agenda examines the consequences of the rise of non-standard, contingent, and precarious employment in the United States as well as the processes leading to race and gender labor market stratification. David’s research has appeared in or is forthcoming at American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Social Psychology Quarterly. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the UC-Davis Center for Poverty Research, and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University in 2014.

Michelle S. Phelps, University of Minnesota
Michelle received her Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and Social Policy in 2013 and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. Her research is in the sociology of punishment, focusing in particular on the punitive turn in the U.S. At Princeton, Michelle's dissertation work focused on the rise of probation supervision as a criminal justice sanction and its relationship to mass incarceration. She has also examined a variety of criminal justice topics, including: changes in rehabilitative programming in U.S. prisons since the 1970s, the recent decarceration trend and its implications for inequality, and inmates' wellbeing across prison contexts. 

Liza G. Steele, State University of New York (SUNY), Purchase
As an Assistant Professor at SUNY Purchase, Dr. Steele contributes to both the Sociology and Latin American Studies programs. Her research focuses on how social stratification and economic inequality affect the development of beliefs, attitudes, and values through the lens of cross-national comparison. She uses both quantitative and qualitative methods in her research and teaching.

Erik Vickstrom, US Census Bureau
Since October 2013, Erik Vickstrom has been a Demographic Analyst/Survey Statistician in the Education and Social Stratification Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau. He serves as the subject-matter expert for the American Community Survey's language-use and English ability data. In addition to reviewing the language data throughout the survey life cycle, he conducts research on language-related topics, including a study of the validity of the ACS's English-ability question. In September 2014 he was named a Research Fellow at IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor.