Change the World

Meet Our Sociology Graduate Students

2021-2022 Cohort

 

 

Melanie Aguilera
Email: [email protected] 

What are your interests?
Race, class, intersectionality

 

 

Sara Ajami
Email: [email protected]

What are your interests?
Social theory, critical pedagogy

 

Leonardo Alcaraz

Leonardo Alcaraz
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
San Diego State University

What are your interests?Race, Class and Gender

Which classes or professors are you helping? none

What would you like to do with your degree?
I would like to become a Sociology college professor.

View Leonardo's CV

 

 

Kaisser Balangue
Email: [email protected]

What are your interests?Suicide and violence 

 

 

Steve Benitez
Email: [email protected]

What are your interests?
Alt right/Why minorities are recruited into alt right views

 

Katie Brandi

Katie Brandi
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
I graduated in 2021 from Gonzaga University, receiving my BA in Sociology with a Minor in Solidarity and Social Justice.

What are your interests?
I am interested in Urban Sociology, more specifically the dimensions of inequality and the processes of gentrification. I am fascinated by community and the ways people utilize public space and urban infrastructure. I am also interested in Environmental Sociology which ignited my passion for studying, understanding, and promoting ecologically sustainable forms of community.

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I am helping Dr. Gibbons, Dr. Kohler, and Dr. Brown as an ISA.

What would you like to do with your degree?
I want to go on to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology. However, whether I go on to pursue a Ph.D. or go into an applied field, the methodological skills and theoretical sensibilities I am developing at San Diego State University are an essential step on my career path.

 

Yvette Garcia
Email: [email protected]

What are your interests
Education and race

 

Daisy Gomez-Fuentes

Daisy Gomez-Fuentes
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree? 
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Chicana/o/x Studies with a minor in Sociology from California State University, Fullerton in the Spring of 2021. 

What are your interests?
I am interested in using qualitative methods to research how first-generation, low-income Latinx college students receive support (financial, emotional, and educational) from their families and how they negotiate their decision to continue to pursue a bachelor’s degree. I would also like to examine how the support received increases or decreases social capital when building academic networks that lead to career exposure and opportunities.

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I am a graduate assistant for Dr. Shultz and Dr. Esbenshade. 

What would you like to do with your degree?
After obtaining my Master of Arts, I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology to become a professor/mentor to guide first-generation low-income students of color to achieve their educational goals. 

 

 

Kenetta Maye
Email: [email protected]

What are your interests?
Inequality

 

Jennifer Ojeda-Ortiz

Jennifer Ojeda-Ortiz
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?California State University, San Marcos

What are your interests?
As of now criminology & youth adolescents.

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I will be working as an ISA with Dr. Kohler and Dr. Liu.

What would you like to do with your degree?
As of now, I want to work with adolescents in Social Work or rehabilitation. Because my interests are up in the air, I am still thinking about what I will do once I graduate

 

Jacqueline Robinson

Jacqueline Robinson
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree? 
I graduated from San Diego State University in 2018 with a B.A. in Sociology.

What are your interests?
I am interested in criminology, education, social stratification, and economic inequality.

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I am currently a Graduate Assistant for Dr.Kim and an ISA for Dr. Cruz.

What would you like to do with your degree?
I am still deciding what I would ultimately like to do with my degree. I am debating between getting my PhD and teaching sociology or finding a job in the community that helps at-risk youth.

 

 

Savannah Taylor
Email: [email protected]

What are your interests?
Suicide and violence

 

Debra Coker

Debra Coker
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
SDSU in Social Science

What are your interests?
Social Justice, Political Sociology, Deviance, Social Structure & Social Action

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I am Working with Professor Amy Wong

What would you like to do with your degree?
Teach - Sociology


Isabele de Lima Vargas Simoes

Isabele de Lima Vargas Simoes
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
I graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Sociology and Theatre.

What are your interests?
I am interested in race/ethnic studies, gender studies, and Latinx and Brazilian studies.

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I am currently a GA working with Dr. Norma Ojeda and an ISA working with Dr. Michael Roberts.

What would you like to do with your degree?
My current plan for the future is to apply for Ph.D. programs once I finish my masters’ program, and then, hopefully, work as a college professor.


Kylie Fujii

Kylie Fujii
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
San Diego State University

What are your interests?
Minority relations and social movements

What would you like to do with your degree?
I would love to work with a non-profit organization helping underserved communities. 


Natalie Hardy

Natalie Hardy
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
I graduated in June 2018 from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Literature/Writing

What are your interests?
I am interested in higher education, the sociology of children, and learning about the various structures of society. We are reading Freud's Civilization and its Discontents in Dr. Roberts' SOC 601 class and it is providing some fascinating conversations!

Which classes or professors are you helping?
TA for Professor Jill Esbenshade's Soc 433 sections (Wealth, Status, and Power)

What would you like to do with your degree?
I intend to design an individualized program specializing in academic advising at the collegiate level by spinning my Master's degree into gaining an empathetic and comprehensive understanding of the external and underlying factors that lead students down the educational paths they choose. I want to assist students on their educational journeys, and I hope that my background in Sociology will only help me become the best advisor I can be.


Jannette April Hermosa

Jannette April Hermosa
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
San Diego State University

What are your interests?
Some of my interests include Asian American studies, women's studies, immigration, and the criminal justice system. I also hope to expand my interests during my time in this program.

What would you like to do with your degree?
After getting my master's degree I plan on applying for law school. Becoming a lawyer's always been a big dream of mine. I want to be able to use my Masters degree to help future clients, understand their needs in order to best serve them, and to make a huge impact on their lives.

Naomi Alexandra Marroquin

Naomi Alexandra Marroquin 
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
I received my undergraduate degree at San Diego State University in Interdisciplinary Studies (Criminal Justice, Psychology, Sociology) 

What are your interests?
I still have a wide range of research interests. Among them are migration and refugees, the struggles they got through in terms of detention centers, education, and SES, and how this can potentially tie into the criminal justice system specifically focusing on Chicanx youth gangs. 

What would you like to do with your degree?
I am unsure of what exactly I want to do with my degree but I do know I want to work in some type of governmental organization or even a community-based organization helping those in need. 


Mary McClure Walzenbach

Mary McClure Walzenbach 
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
Graduated 1983 from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Arts and Sciences, Criminal Justice Administration.
Graduated 1991 from San Diego State University with a Master of Public Administration (Criminal Justice Concentration.) 
Thesis title: Police Professionalism and the Civilian Review Board.

What are your interests?
My current research interests are Women and Labor Issues, particularly in regard to female Letter Carriers in the US Postal Service. I have also developed an interest in how aging is shaped by sociological institutions and how that has changed over time.

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I am a Teaching Associate for Dr. Choi, teaching two breakout sections for Sociology 101. This was completely
unexpected and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I enjoy working with the students very much.

What would you like to do with your degree?
Once I have earned a Masters in Sociology, I hope to find work teaching in Community College systems both here and Virginia Beach or Nashville. I have children and grandchildren in both those cites, as well as here in San Diego. Perhaps I could manage a combination of online and in person classes, or become bi-coastal, as I was before COVID hit.


Bryan Jesus Peraza

Bryan Jesus Peraza 
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
San Jose State University

What are your interests?
(Research interests) Horizontal and autonomous organizational structures within grassroots organizing; the United States' involvement in suppressing anti-imperialist and anti-fascist social movements; grassroots organizing against the commercialization of soccer. (Personal interests) Spending time with my loved ones, community organizing, riding my bicycle, dancing to house/techno/psytrance.

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I am helping Dr. Ruth Liu as an ISA for her SOC 445 (Sociology of Deviance) course.

What would you like to do with your degree?
As a means of empowering my community, I want to utilize my research skills to gather knowledge and make knowledge more accessible.


Dianna Ratsamy

Dianna Ratsamy (she, her, ella) 
Email: [email protected]

Where did you get your undergrad degree?
Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies with a minor in Education Studies from UC San Diego (Class of 2017) 

What are your interests?
Queer Theory, Critical Mixed Race Studies, Mental Health, Sociology of Family, Reproductive Justice, Transformative Justice 

Which classes or professors are you helping?
I work as a Graduate Assistant for the Center for Community Research and Engagement (CCRE) with Dr. Jill Esbenshade.

What would you like to do with your degree?
I would like to work as an instructor in Sociology, ethnic studies, and gender studies at a community college. I also aim to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology in the future.