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Graduate Students

Quinton Alexander

Quin graduated with his B.A. in Sociology from Alma College in 2016 and is currently pursuing his Master's degree at Portland State University. During his time in undergrad, he volunteered with AmeriCorps at a local middle school with at-risk youth in an after-school program for three years. Seeing the discrepancies faced by these youth and their families sparks his current research interests in deviance, social change, and gender. You can contact Quin at quin4@pdx.edu.

Sasha Bassett

Sasha received a double B.A. in Sociology and Behavioral Science with a Minor in Human Rights from San Jose State University in 2014, and her Master's in Sociology from Portland State in 2016. Her research interests include gender, organizations, deviance, and pop culture. She has served as a research assistant for the department of communication since fall 2014 and as a graduate teaching assistant with the sociology department since winter 2015. Currently, Sasha is working on earning her master's degree in sociology; her thesis focuses on how members of Oregon's construction trades perceive and react to normative shifts in the workplace. Additionally, she is an active member of the PSU sociology club, the sociology graduate student organization (SGSO) and Alpha Kappa Delta honor society. 

Publications:

Lubitow, Amy, Jennifer Reiner and Sasha Bassett (Master's Student). PENDING. "Social Vulnerability and Transit-Dependent Riders in Portland Oregon." Mobilities.

Bassett, Sasha. 2014. "Riot Grrrl and Third-Wave Feminism: Creating Space, Challenging Norms and Shaping a Generation." San Jose State University McNair Scholars Research Journal X: 37-56.

David "Doc" Billings

Doc received his B.S. in Sociology from Portland State in 2015. While working on this degree, he was a board member of the PSU Sociology Club and worked with the Learning Gardens Laboratory. New to the field of Sociology, Doc’s undergraduate studies led him to his current research interests, which include Environmental Sociology and Racial Justice. After spending a year away from the university, he is back at PSU pursuing his Master’s degree. His thesis aims to explore the racial formation of the alternative food movement in Portland, focusing specifically on community gardens. Doc can be reached at drb3@pdx.edu

MacKenzie Christensen

MacKenzie graduated with her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Psychology and Women’s Studies in June, 2015 from Washington State University Vancouver. During her time as an undergraduate she conducted research on the gendered effects of neo-liberal economic policies and the poverty gap between black and white women throughout the United States. Her research eventually resulted in her receipt of the 2015 award for Outstanding Achievement in the Women’s Studies Department. Currently, her general research interests include gender, sexuality, and qualitative methods. You can contact MacKenzie at macc2@px.edu.

Alexis DeVigal

Alexis graduated with her B.A. in Sociology at San Francisco State University in 2014. Before coming to Portland, she became a substitute teacher in Vallejo, CA and Benicia, CA. The discrepancies between the two cities in terms of the conditions of their schools and classrooms despite their proximity sparked her interest in oppositional culture in education. Now, she is studying at Portland State University to get her Master's. Her overall research interests include education, family intersectionality, and quantitative methods. You may contact her at adevigal@pdx.edu

Sara Golden

Sara graduated with her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Santa Clara University, and received her Master’s in Public Health from Benedictine University, emphasizing health policy. She is currently working as a Health Services Research Associate at the VA Portland Health Care System on studies mostly centered around patient-centered outcomes in patients with lung cancer. Through these studies Sara clarified her interest in health disparities and access to care. She is now pursuing her PhD in Sociology to further her research skills and become an independent researcher. You may contact Sara at sloboy@pdx.edu.

Whitney Head-Burgess

Whitney received her B.S. from Eastern Oregon University in 2010, majoring in Geography and Anthropology/Sociology. She went on to earn a B.A. in Sociology with a certificate in Regional Studies and Applied Research from Southern Oregon University in 2013. Hailing from Missoula, MT, Whitney has lived in various places around Oregon since moving here in 1999. Currently, she is working on completing her Master's degree in Sociology, focusing on sexual assault reporting and disclosure within university settings. Her overall academic interests lie in a Critical Feminist Theory and Criminology, particularly violence against women and the muting effects of dominant culture on reporting and disclosure of violence. Whitney was a 2013-2014 Blount Scholar through the Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society and is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta Honors Society. She can be reached at wh3@pdx.edu.

Carol Hernandez Rodriguez

Carol received her B.A. in International Studies and her M.A. in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM, Mexico City).  From 2004-2011 she worked as a research assistant for the Center of Interdiscipliary Studies in Sciences and Humanities and as a teacher assistant for the Department of Policial  and Social Sciences in the UNAM.  Carol is interested in Geopolitical and Latin American Studies, particularly in exploring the relationship between nation-state and strategic natural resources.  Now she is focused on studying contemporary Latin American indigenous movements.  She is an enthusiast follower of the Mexican indigenous movement Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional EZLN). Carol can be contacted at hcarol@pdx.edu.

Rina James

Rina received her B.S. in Sociology from Boise State University in 2014 and is currently pursing her Master's degree at Portland State University. Her current research interests include digital sociology, inequality, and social movements; in particular, she is interested in how communication technologies may be used to address social inequalities in both local and global contexts. She is currently completing her thesis project, which explores the relationship between different forms of internet activism and the outcome of activism campaigns You can contact Rina at klj@pdx.edu

Nakeshia Knight-Coyle

Research Interests: Health and social policy, race, gender, inequality and social justice, the life course, academic achievement, and socio-cultural attitudes, beliefs and practices concerning complementary and alternative therapies.

Nakeshia Knight-Coyle is the Director of Early Learning Programs and Cross Systems Integration at the Oregon Department of Education's Early Learning Division. In this capacity, she oversees myriad state and federally funded grants and programs targeting the zero to five population. She has an academic and professional background in social work and public health and is excited to contribute to the field of sociology through research that explores the intersection of these disciplines. Her current research interests include an exploration of the health and socio-economic factors that influence birth outcomes and the extent to which birth outcomes are predictive of academic achievement at two critical points in a child's developmental trajectory: kindergarten and third grade. 

Ms. Knight-Coyle has volunteered extensively throughout her life and views her life's mission as one in service to populations disenfranchised by biased systems and antiquated structures that exacerbate rather than mitigate institutional racism and oppression and perpetuate poverty and disparate health and educational outcomes. 

Through her research, Ms. Knight-Coyle aspires to elucidate the challenges and opportunities inherent to existing structures and systems in an effort to create greater accountability to populations served. 

Andreea Nica

Andreea's doctoral research focuses on the intersection of secular assimilation, nonreligion, and mental/emotional health. Prior to joining the PhD program in 2014, Andreea's work as a journalist/public sociologist has appreared on top-profile outlets, such as Huffington Post, Fox News Radio, Salon, Ms. Magazine, as well as Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS). She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Northern Arizona University, and M.S. in Gender and Media Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Currently, she is working on research projects investigating religious exiting and secularism. She holds an Adjunct Faculty appointment in PSU's Department of Communication teaching Gender and Communication and Communication and Feminism. Additionally, she is fulfilling a Graduate Assistantship as Communication Specialist to Portland State's Provost.

For CV requests/inquiries: anica@pdx.edu

Connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreeanica

David Osborn

David is a long time and ongoing participant in social movements. He has been involved in various social and environmental justice movements for the past decade. He is currently involved in the climate justice movement as a collective member with Rising Tide North America. Given this background David's academic engagement is focused on social movements and social change. He is oriented to generating value-based, movement-relevant scholarship through active involvement in social movements and the utilization of participatory methodologies. He is currently researching issues related to identity and cosmology within climate movements. His writing on the Occupy Movement appears in several books and he regularly publishes work on social movements and climate change. David has been a faculty member at Portland State University since 2010 where he teaches in the interdisciplinary general education program - University Studies. He received a B.A. in psychology, sociology and political science from the University of Oregon and M.S. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in international political economy. He can be reached at dosborn@pdx.edu.

Neil Panchmatia

Neil is interested in the intersection of immigration and religion, with his current research focusing upon the arrival and resettlement experiences of Somali refugees in the Portland area. His previous work has been on faith-based social service providers and the role of Church-State partnerships in providing arrival/adjustment assistance to immigrants and refugees. Immigrant and refugee human rights are a core tenet guiding Neil's scholarship and social activism. He received his BS degree in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University and was a part of the MS program in Social Responsibility at St. Cloud State University. In the past, he has received the Upper Midwest Human Right Fellowship, the Miriam Weinstein Peace and Justice Education Award as well as the Academic and Cultural Sharing Scholarship at SCSU. He is currently a member of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Student Advisory Council, the Cultural Centers Advisory Council, as well as a member of the advisory board for the Harambee Center (an outreach organization focusing on East Africa). Neil is also currently interning with the Office of International Affairs at PSU, conducting a program evaluation for its International Student Mentor Program (ISMP) and is an intern at the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO) working on public policy planning and outreach in Oregon. Additionally, he is active with EMO's partner organization, S.O.A.R. (Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees) which provides assistance to newly arrived refugees in Portland. Neil was born and raised in Kenya, Africa and has lived in England, Canada, and the USA. Neil works under the tutelage of Dr. Alex Stepick: his advisor and thesis chair. He can be reached at neil5@pdx.edu or neilpanchmatia@gmail.com

Erin Savoia

Erin graduated from the University of Portland in 2015 with a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish and is now working on her Master's at PSU. During her time as an undergraduate she was able to study abroad in Granada, Spain and Santiago, Chile. She completed an undergraduate thesis examining the contemporary content of acquaintance rape myths, which she presented in 2015 at the Pacific Sociological Association conference in Long Beach. Her research interests broadly include gender and sexuality. Erin is interested in qualitative methods, and intends to conduct research on queer parenting. You can contact Erin at esavoia@pdx.edu

Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith is a social epidemiologist in the Safety & Health Research for Prevention (SHARP) program at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Caroline received her Bachelor's degree in Sociology/Antropology from Lewis and Clark College, her Master's in Public Health from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Portland State University. Caroline's research interests are primarily in medical sociology and work and occupations. Specifically her research interests include occupational health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities, contingent workers and other special populations such as older workers and immigrant populations, as well as various types of labor market inequalities (wage inequalities, gender segregation, etc.). Caroline is a member of the Pacific Sociological Association, American Sociological Association, American Statistical Association and the American Public Health Association. You can reach Caroline at smick@pdx.edu.

Selected publications:

Fan, Z. J., Smith, C. K., & Silverstein, B. A. (2011). Responsiveness of the QuickDASH and SF-12 in workers with neck or upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders: One-year follow-up. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 21(2), 234-243. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10926-010-9265-1

Bonauto, D. K., Smith, C. K., Adams, D. A., Fan, Z. J., Silverstein, B. A., & Foley, M. P. (2010). Language preference and non-traumatic low back disorders in Washington state workers' compensation. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 53(2), 204-215. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.20740

Smith, C. K., Bonauto, D. K., Silverstein, B. A., & Wilcox, D. (2010). Inter-rater reliability of physical examinations in a prospective study of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(10), 1014-1018. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181f4396b

Smith, C. K., Silverstein, B. A., Bonauto, D. K., Adams, D., & Joyce Fan, Z. (2010). Temporary workers in Washington State. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 53(2), 135-145. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.20728

Silverstein, B. , Fan, Z. J. , Smith, C. K. , Bao, S. , Howard, N. , Spielholz, P. , . . . Viikari-Juntura, E. (2009). Gender adjustment or stratification in discerning upper extremity musculoskeletal disorder risk? Scand J Work Environ Health, 35(2), 113-126. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19294319

Smith, C. K., Silverstein, B. A., Fan, Z. J., Bao, S., & Johnson, P. W. (2009). Psychosocial factors and shoulder symptom development among workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 52(1), 57-68. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajim.20644

Fan, Z. J., Smith, C. K., & Silverstein, B. A. (2008). Assessing Validity of the QuickDASH and SF-12 as Surveillance Tools among Workers with Neck or Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Disorders. Journal of Hand Therapy, 21(4), 354-365. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1197/j.jht.2008.02.001

Spielholz, P., Cullen, J., Smith, C., Howard, N., Silverstein, B., & Bonauto, D. (2008). Assessment of perceived injury risks and priorities among truck drivers and trucking companies in Washington State. Journal of Safety Research, 39(6), 569-576. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2008.09.005

Shah Smith

Research Specializations: Immigration to the U.S.; Segmented Assimilation Theory; Constructions of Islam; Radicalization Processes; Urban Sociology

Thesis Topic: "Post-9/11 contexts of reception and trajectories of segmented assimilation among Second-Generation Muslim Immigrants in the Pacific Northwest." Committee Members: Dr. Alex Stepick (Chair), Dr. Jose Padin, Dr. Matthew Carlson, Dr. Robert Liebman

Current research topics: Transit-oriented development, unemployment, and affordable housing in the Portland Metropolitan Area (Led by Dr. Alex Stepick)

Current topics/areas of interest: the implications of 'super-diversity' in social scientific research; biometrics and qualitative research methods; operationalizing 'equity' in urban sociology; cultural segmentation. 

Sonja Taylor

Sonja received her Bachelor's degree in Biology, with an emphasis on zoology and physiology, from Portland State University in 2000. She continued at PSU, earning a Master's in Conflict Resolution in 2006. Upon completion of her MS, Sonja began teaching as an adjunct for PSU during Winter Term 2007. She is currently pursuing a second Master's in Sociology at Portland State University while continuing to work as an adjunct, primarily teaching the course Family & Society. Her primary research interest is the construction of identity though dyadic relationships, in addition to inequalities in parental experiences based on differences in socioeconomic status. She is currently working on her thesis project about elementary school parent perceptions of their role in the parent/teacher relationship. You can contact Sonja at sonjay@pdx.edu

Kyla Tompkins

Kyla is a second year master’s student of Sociology. Her research interests are gender and sexualities, intersectionality, inequalities, qualitative methods, and cycling. She completed her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in French Language at Portland State University in 2014. Her master’s thesis looks at the intersection of gender identity and racial inequality among “infrequent” cyclists in Portland, Oregon. Using intersectionality and qualitative interviews, Kyla has found that gender, race, and other identities inform the day-to-day barriers to cycling for women and people of color, and that broader inequalities are reproduced in the bike lane. Kyla is currently in the process of writing and publishing two articles, and is currently applying to PhD programs across the nation in hopes to pursue a career as a professor and researcher. You can contact Kyla at kto2@pdx.edu

Philip Tostado

Philip received his B.A. in Sociology and International relations at Gonzaga University in 2014. As an undergraduate, he constructed two research projects on entertainment subcultures. He worked as an English and History tutor before deciding to pursue grad school. His primary research interests include subcultures, mental health, and social inequalities. He is currently on a Master's thesis exploring mental health outcomes among adolescents. You can contact Philip at ptostado@pdx.edu

Kimberli Ulmer Langston

Kimberli Ulmer graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor's in Human Development and Family Studies, a Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Human Development and Sociology, and a Master's in Sociology. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Portland State University and working as an instructor to fulfill her graduate assistantship. Her area of interest is primarily medical sociology from a global perspective with an emphasis on inequality and health disparities within and across nations using quantitative methodology. You can contact Kim Ulmer at ulm@pdx.edu.

Elizabeth Withers

Elizabeth is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department. She received her bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oregon and her master's degree in Sociology from Portland State University. Her research interests are medical sociology and racial and class-based health disparities with a focus on differences in the effects of education and digital access. She is currently working on her dissertation research, "Access in the Digital Field and Health Outcomes."

Elizabeth is the Managing Editor for Sociological Perspectives, the official journal of the Pacific Sociological Association. She also works as a research assistant for the Portland State Literacy, Language, & Technology Research group. Elizabeth also works as an instructor in the Sociology Department teaching Introduction to Sociology (SOC 200), and Foundations of Sociology II (SOC 302).

You can reach Elizabeth at elizabew@pdx.edu