Graduate Fellows Program Alumni News

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Recent News from Alumni of the Graduate Fellows Program

Make a gift to the Graduate Fellow Program Fund here.  

Your gift will be used to provide training and mentorship to a new generation of scholars engaged in research on race, ethnicity, gender and class in the United States.

Below we feature news from our alumni. To see books by our alumni, visit this page.

Nonprofit Hospitals Should Address Racial Inequity

Dr. Erica Browne, former ISSI Graduate Fellow, highlights how nonprofit hopitals can address racial disparities in health care. In her opinion piece on a(unt)b(ertha)stories, she argues for accounting for history and investing in communities.

The Post-Prison Labor Market

Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana, former ISSI Graduate Fellow, now Assistant Professor of Sociology at SUNY Albany, and co-authors David Harding and Heather Harris published an article in the journal Social Problems. "Race and the Geography of Opportunity in the Post-Prison Labor Market" examines "racial differences in post-prison employment by industry and gegraphy" and investigates how the geography of opportunity contributes to the racial disparity in post-prison employment.

The Time Politics of Home-Based Digital Piecework

In this article in the Center for Ethics Journal, Veena Dubal, Associate Professor of Law at UC Hastings College of the Law and a former ISSI Graduate Fellow, asserts that "a politics emerges in which time, visible and accounted for in wage work, becomes an invisible node of power" while digital pieceworkers work supposedly on their own time.

How the System Hurts Students of Color

Victor Rios, Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Barbara and an ISSI Graduate Fellows Program alum, guest starred on a podcast hosted by Dr. Rosa Isiah. In the episode, "Great Teaching Versus Policing: How the System Hurts Students of Color, Teachers and Police," Dr. Rios explains how the current system undermines students, teachers and police and suggests what teachers can do about it in the classrooms.

Racial Equity in Planning

Miriam Solis, an assistant professor of community and regional planning at the University of Texas at Austin and a former ISSI Graduate Fellow, published a new article, "Racial Equity in Planning Organizations," in the Journal of the American Planning Association. In her article, she "urge[s] public planners to examine how planning departments' internal rules and norms reproduce racial inequity." 

New Leadership Role for Alumnus Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera, a former graduate student trainee at the Institute and also former Institute Director, has been selected as Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education. Noguera is a sociologist, education researcher, and former public school teacher.

Making Healthcare More Representative

Assistant Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Partnerships at San Francisco State University Dr. Kelechi Uwaezuoke, an ISSI Graduate Fellows Program alum, guest stars on the episode, "A Moral Obligation," of the podcast The Combustion Chronicles with Shawn Nason. Uwaezuoke shares her work in disrupting the underrepresentation of minorities in healthcare and details how she's helping minority and disadvantaged students find their place in the medical field. In this video of a recent webinar with Shawn Nason, Lead Disruptor at Disruptor League, she addresses large-scale systemic and structural inequities in the latest episode of the Desigining for a Just World series. The two dismantle the status quo surrounding current diversity and inclusion efforts and explore the idea of disruption as a moral obligation.

The Future of Food

The "vote with your fork" movement asks us to fix the food system through individual choice, but the current system is designed to limit those choices. Graduate Fellows Program alumni Dr. Kara Young, researcher and educator on food systems and racial inequality, and Dr. Christyna Serrano, Director of Expert Engagement at Singularity University, highlight the necessity for new approaches to solve hunger, malnutrition, and economic and environmental damage. This video-recorded panel discussion, also featuring Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez, Executive Director at Food First and the Institute for Food and Development Policy, analyzes why the current food structure is broken and explores how we can use business, technology, policy, and activism to change how food is produced and distributed.

Leading with Empathy and Compassion

Former ISSI Graduate Fellow Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana, Assistant Professor of Sociology at State University of New York-Albany, has a guest post on the blog scatterplot. In her essay, "facing the fall with empathy," she asserts that universities need to approach reopening campuses with empathy and compassion rather than rigor and normalcy during a time when so many lives continue to remain affected by the pandemic.

American Anthropologist coverNew Article: Code Work: Thinking with the System in México

Héctor Beltrán, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, MIT, and former Graduate Fellow, has published his GFP working paper in American Anthropologist. In the article, "Code Work: Thinking with the System in México," he shows that "for self‐identified 'disenchanted' youth in Mexico, skeptical of the promises of social mobility by means of formal education, 'hacking' emerged as a way to make sense of their futures in a precarious state and economy and as a way to let their 'code work' intervene in narratives that had only delivered false hopes."

Free Webinar for Teachers: Supporting At-Promise Students During Coronavirus

Former ISSI Graduate Fellow Victor Rios, Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Barbara,  is hosting a free Webinar for Educators on 4/30 how to reach at-promise students during the Covid-19 era. Sign up at



The effect of covid-19 on the food system

As part of a series in the journal Contexts: Sociology for the Public on inequality during the coronavirus pandemic, Kara Young and co-authors discuss the effect of Covid-19 on the food system. They argue that “pandemic-triggered ruptures in our food system shine a glaring light on social relations that have otherwise been invisible.” Dr. Young is Assistant Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University and a former ISSI Graduate Fellow.

Uber drivers are being forced to choose between risking Covid-19 or starvation

These are extremely trying times for all of us...but for so-called "gig workers" without work or access to the safety net, the coronavirus pandemic is devastating.  In this essay in The Guardian, Veena Dubal and co-author Meredith Whittaker wrote about the situation...and what it is going to take to support these low income immigrant workers & their families during this time. Dubal is Associate Professor at UC Hastings and a former ISSI Graduate Fellow.

Free e-books for youth, teachers, and parents, during the pandemic

Victor Rios is giving free digital, on-line access to three books he has authored or co-authored: Street Life (book for youth), My Teacher Believes in Me (book for educators), and Buscando Vida (book for parents in Spanish). To get the book(s) go to and click on the “contact” button. Under “event title” write the name of the book you want access to. Under “event description” briefly explain why you want a copy of the book. Rios is Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Barbara and a former ISSI Graduate Fellow.

What toilet paper and diapers teach us in the tumult of the coronavirus pandemic

Jennifer Randles, Associate Professor of Sociology at CSU Fresno and former ISSI Graduate Fellow, draws on her research on diaper needs in this Fresno Bee op-ed. She suggests, "Something positive can come out of this much criticized and ridiculed rush on toilet paper. Perhaps we’ll develop more empathy and better social safety net policies for those in need who persistently lack access to basic hygiene items like diapers — and toilet paper."

One Man's Fight Against the School-To-Prison Pipeline

Victor Rios and his film "The Pushouts" are featured on the PBS program Frontline. “The Pushouts” is an award-winning film about the journey of Victor Rios from gang member to sociology professor working for a better future for youth and working to reconceptualize how failure and success are constructed. The film will air on PBS starting on December 20, 2019. Dr. Rios is a former ISSI Grad Fellow and currently Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Social Sciences at UC Santa Barbara. 

Public Scholarship for Indigenous Survivance

Jen Rose Smith has a column in The Cordova Times, her hometown newspaper in Alaska. Dr. Smith is a former ISSI Grad Fellow, currently a UC Presidents Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis, and soon to be an Assistant Professor of Geography at U Wisconsin-Madison. In her column thus far, Dr. Smith has documented the work of her mother and grandmother to preserve the Eyak language and to document the Eyak lineage of over 400 living people to counter the misperception that there are no Eyak people left.

Fatherhood and Public Policy

Former ISSI Graduate Fellow and Associate Professor of Sociology at Fresno State University Jennifer Randles has two new articles:

New Article on Asian American Nonpartisanship

Former ISSI Graduate Fellow and President of the Institute for Good Government and Inclusion Loan Le has a new article, "Trajectory of Asian American Nonpartisanship: Transitory, Transitional, or End State?” (with Paul Ong), which was recently published in the journal New Political Science. The article investigates the extent to which nonpartisanship (lack of party affiliation) for Asian Americans is stable or likely to change, concludes that it is relatively permanent, and suggests that this may contribute to political parties' lack of concern for Asian American voters.

Partnership for Public Service

Congratulations to Ryan Shelby, former ISSI Grad Fellow, now at USAID, on receiving the 2019 National Security and International Affairs Medal. Details about his work, including a one-minute video of Dr. Shelby discusses his rebuilding work in Haiti, are available here. 

High School Teachers Grapple with Ethnic Studies

“Critical Collective Consciousness: Ethnic Studies Teachers and Professional Development” is a new article by Jocyl Sacramento, former ISSI Grad Fellow and now Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at CSU Stanislaus in Equity & Excellence in Education.  The article, a revised version of her GFP working paper, examines how K-12 Ethnic Studies teachers responded to the problems of differential knowledge and orientation on race, power, and teacher positionality in the context of high school classrooms.

Research into Practice

Teresa Córdova, former ISSI Graduate Fellow and currently Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at U Illinois-Chicago where she is also Director of the Great Cities Institute, has been appointed Chair of the Chicago Plan Commission. This role continues her life work of moving between academic, policy, and practical domains.

#unsettle: Border Thinking

The series #unsettle: Strategies for Decolonizing Tech Research of the blog of Data & Society Research Institute published an interview with Héctor Beltrán about his strategies for decolonizing tech research. Dr. Beltrán is a former ISSI Grad Fellow, a current post-doc in Anthro at MIT, and soon-to-be assistant professor of Anthro at MIT.

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Geographer Explores Resegregation and Inequality in Northern California

Alex Schafran, Lecturer in Geography at University of Leeds and former ISSI Grad Fellow, was featured on KQED Forum discussing his recent book The Road to Resegregation: Northern California and the Failure of Politics. In the podcast he discusses the new factors that have driven people of color out of cities, into the farther reaches of the Bay Area, resulting in long commutes, unstable finances and rising poverty, and compounding the effects of long-standing housing discrimination.

Practical PhD

One of our alumni, Zawadi Rucks-Ahidiana, Assistant Professor of Sociology at SUNY Albany, has launched a new blog with advice and insight to make the PhD process more transparent from start to finish and beyond.  

Technology, Work, and Resistance

Veena Dubal, former ISSI Graduate Fellow and now Associate Professor of Law at UC Hastings, is continuing her active program of public scholarship. Her recent work includes 
an essay in The Guardian on Uber’s new payday loan program as digital debt bondage. As per the tenets of racial capitalism, the program has already been rolled out in India, Brazil, and Peru.  And on a more optimistic note, she wrote an op-ed in The Guardian encouraging other states to follow the lead of California which passed AB5 to regulate the gig economy.

Paying for Health Care for Adult Undocumented Immigrants

In Gavin Newsom’s ‘California For All’ budget, undocumented immigrants are not included,” an op-ed by Dani Carillo, Research Specialist at UCSF and former Graduate Fellow, was recently published by Cal Matters. Dr. Carillo applauds the governor for covering undocumented immigrants under 26 and draws on her research to show how necessary it is to include health coverage for all.

Precarity and Labor Market Freedom

Day Labor Agencies, ‘Backdoor’ Hires, and the Spread of Unfree Labor,” a new article by Gretchen Purser, former Graduate Fellow, now Associate Professor of Sociology at Syracuse University. The article, in Anthropology of Work Review, examines how day laborers and day labor agency dispatchers negotiate and navigate the practice of “backdoor” hiring, wherein employers hire workers from, but not through, the agency.

Urban Geography

Nathan McClintock, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University and former Graduate Fellow, is one of the new editors of Urban Geography and welcomes submissions from other alums! His own recent articles include "Cultivating (a) Sustainability Capital: Urban Agriculture, Ecogentrification, and the Uneven Valorization of Social Reproduction" in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers and "Urban Agriculture, Racial Capitalism, and Resistance in the Settler‐Colonial City" in Geography Compass.

Policy and Possibilities: the Undocumented Youth Movement

Genevieve Negrón‐Gonzales, Associate Professor of Education at University of San Francisco and former ISSI Graduate Fellow, shares her social change scholarship in academic and policy outlets. “Political Possibilities: Lessons from the Undocumented Youth Movement for Resistance to the Trump Administration” is her recent article in Anthropology and Education Quarterly, drawing on ten years of qualitative and ethnographic research with undocumented young people and reflecting on her own lifetime of activism. “Deportation as an Educational Policy Issue: How We Can Fight Back & Why We Must” is her recent policy brief in the UndocuScholars Policy and Research Brief Series.

Private Prisons, Profits, and Immigrant Detention

Keramet Reiter, former ISSI Graduate Fellow and Associate Professor of Criminology, Law & Society, and at the School of Law at UC Irvine, has a new article in The American Scholar, on private prison companies and immigrant detainees. "Paying to Be Locked Up" explains how private prison companies are treating immigrant detainees like convicted criminals and reaping huge profits from the detainees. 

Award for Eric Pido's Book on Circuits of Migration and Processes of Connection between the Philippines and California

Migrant Returns: Manila, Development, and Transnational Connectivity by Eric J. Pido was recognized with the 2019 Association of Asian American Studies Book Award. The book examines the complicated relationship among the Philippine economy, Manila’s urban development, and balikbayans—Filipino migrants visiting or returning to their homeland—to reconceptualize migration as a process of connectivity. Focusing on the experiences of balikbayans returning to Manila from California, Pido shows how Philippine economic and labor policies have created an economy reliant upon property speculation, financial remittances, and the affective labor of Filipinos living abroad. Eric is a former ISSI Graduate Fellow and currently Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. He gave a talk on his book at ISSI; the video is available here.

Police Harassment and Surveillance of Hmong-American Young Men

In her recent article, “Criminalization and Second-Generation Hmong American Boys,” Bao Lo, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at CSU Sacramento and former ISSI Graduate Fellow, explores the often-overlooked criminalization of Southeast Asian Americans. She explores the ways even high-acheiving second generation Hmong American boys are criminalized as men of color and hypercriminalized as gang members in their Sacramento neighborhood.

Social Class and College Choices

Former ISSI Graduate Fellow Yang Lor (University of the Pacific) has a chapter, “Narratives of Interdependence and Independence: The Role of Social Class and Family Relationships in Where High-Achieving Students Apply to College,” in the recent volume Research in the Sociology of Education. Based on interviews with high-achieving students, he found that lower-SES students tend to limit their college choices to primarily selective and nonselective public colleges closer to home, while higher-SES students are more likely to apply to selective private universities in other parts of the country, thus giving them additional choices.

Countering Disinformation, and U.S. Sanctions Against Russia

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Alina Polyakova, Brookings Institution Fellow (Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe) and former ISSI/CRWS Graduate Fellow, (with Geysha Gonzalez) proposes the US anti-smoking campaign as a model for countering disinformation.  And on KQED’s Forum, Alina discusses US sanctions against Russia.

Preventing Obesity in Latinx Children

Former ISSI Graduate Fellow and DrPH Carlos Penilla has a new article, “Obstacles to preventing obesity in children aged 2 to 5 years: Latino mothers’ and fathers’ experiences and perceptions of their urban environments,” in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Results from this study suggest that Lantinx parents’ demographic, social and community characteristics influence what and how they feed their children, as well as how often and the types of opportunities they provide for physical activity.


New Article on Patient-Inmate Perspectives on Jail Psychiatric Services

Leah Jacobs, former ISSI Graduate Fellow and now Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, has a new article, “‘It’s Not Like Therapy’: Patient-Inmate Perspectives on Jail Psychiatric Services,” (with Sequoia Giordano) in the journal Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. Based on a qualitative study of patient-inmate experiences, Leah finds that jails struggle to provide even the most basic and essential forms of psychiatric care; alternatives that connect patient-inmates with community-based providers are badly needed.

Inspiring Words from Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera was the keynote speaker at the ISSI social change award ceremony in 2017. Noguera is Distinguished Professor of Education, UC Los Angeles and a former Graduate Fellow. Video of his talk, "Writing, Resisting and Research: The Role of Scholarship During the Trump Presidency" is available here (his talk begins 59 minutes into the video).

Responding to Violence, Keeping the Peace

Former ISSI Graduate Fellow Cid Martinez has a new article, “Responding to Violence, Keeping the Peace: Relations between Black and Latino Youth,” which was recently published in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Cid is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of San Diego.

From First-Generation College Student to Tenure-Track Faculty Member

David Hernández, Assistant Professor of Latino/a studies at Mount Holyoke College and former ISSI Graduate Fellow, shares his experiences as a first-generation college student in this essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "A First-Generation Student’s Survival Strategy: Work More, Sleep Less" and in this post, “My PhD didn’t level the playing field,” on the blog site Breaking Cycle.

Make a gift to the Graduate Fellow Program Fund here.  

Your gift will be used to provide training and mentorship to a new generation of scholars engaged in research on race, ethnicity, gender and class in the United States.

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