News & Newsletters

sociology faculty featured IN The NEWS at USF & beyond

December 2020

Dr. Jamie Sommer's co-authored article, "Virtual reality and embodied experience induce similar levels of empathy change," was announced as the most influential article published in Computers in Human Behavior Reports in 2020.  Dr. Sommer, Assistant Professor, authored the piece with Andrew Hargrove and Jason J. Jones.

Dr. Beatriz Padilla, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for the Study of Latina America and the Caribbean, was highlighted in the USF College of Arts & Sciences' HUB for her work with colleagues around the globe who are studying the impact of COVID-19 on migrants. 

Dr. Byron Miller, Associate Professor, presented his research, "The Bridge Kids: Young Adults Who Connect Family, Friends and Racial Groups," in the College of Arts & Sciences Trailblazers series. He was also awarded an Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award from the University for 2019-2020.

November 2020

Dr. Heather O'Leary, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and an Affiliate faculty member of Sociology and ISS, in partnership with Pinellas county school teacher Latesia Coleman, received a Lightning Classroom Grant.  The grant will help O'Leary's EcoFem Lab, of which Coleman is a team leader, in their ongoing work related to diversity, student recruitment and community engagement.

Dr. Hordge-Freeman, Associate Professor and Senior Advisor to the President and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, co-hosted with College of Arts & Sciences Dean Eric Eisenberg a discussion with New York Times bestseller and National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi.  The discussion focused on racism, anti-blackness and their impact on society.

September 2020


Dr. Will Tyson and Dr. Roneé Wilson (USF College of Public Health) were awarded funding for their community research entitled Increasing Job Opportunities for Young Black Fathers to Improve Child and Community Health.  Coordinating with REACHUP, Inc. (Respond, Educate, Advocate, & Collaborate for Health in Underserved Populations), a local community agency, Drs. Tyson and Wilson seek to address unemployment/underemployment among young Black fathers, which in turn should help them develop and maintain healthy relationships with their children.

Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, working with community partner Layla's House, received research funding for her study, Challenges to Engagement with Parent Education and Early Childhood Programming in a Historically Black Neighborhood.  This study examines how Black children and families experience and participate in virtual parent education and developmental playgroups with a focus on the extent to which the service structure minimizes or accentuates the impact of anti-Black racism.

August 2020

Earlier this year, Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair Maggie Kusenbach received a Fulbright Scholar Award to the University of Vienna, Austria. Dr. Kusenbach will teach two courses in sociology and conduct new research on urban culture and community issues in Vienna during Spring and Summer Semesters 2021. The title of her study is: "Does Contemporary Street Art Foster Citizen and Community Engagement? An Explorative Case Study in Vienna, Austria." This is Dr. Kusenbach's second Fulbright Scholar Award.

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman has been appointed the Senior Advisor to the President and Provost on Diversity and Inclusion at USF.  In her new role she will advise and support university leadership in efforts to foster anti-racism, access, equity, cultural inclusivity and cultural intelligence.

July 2020

In a July 9 Tampa Bay Times news article on USF's reaction against new U.S. rules targeting international students, Dr. Beatriz Padilla , the new interim director of USF's Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean, points out the various ways the new policy, which requires international students to leave the U.S. if they take all of their classes online, is unfair to international students.  

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman launched a new YouTube series on racism, called “Sweeter the Juice”. The channel was highlighted on the UCM Instagram during the first week of July.

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman co-authored with Michel Chagas an op-ed COVID-19 in Black Communities in the U.S. and Brazil (in Portuguese).

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman was featured in a news story, “When Students make racially insensitive comments, should schools be held accountable,” in the St. Pete Catalyst.

June 2020

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman was interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times and ABC Action News for spearheading the Call to Action letter that was sent to President Currall and Provost Wilcox on behalf of Black faculty and staff in response to systemic racism.

Dr. Beatriz Padilla's research on "The Venezuelan Humanitarian Crisis: Migration, Trauma and Resilience" was featured on The HUB, a media outlet of USF's College of Arts and Sciences. This research project, which was awarded one of USF's Nexus Initiative Grants, has documented the experiences of Venezuelan refugees of the humanitarian crisis in their country, which has, in turn, provided policy-makers with critical data to make informed policy decisions.  

Dr. Rob Benford, an expert on social movements, was interviewed for a news story on "The Power of Protest" by Tina Meketa, Director, News Content & Production, University Communications and Marketing (UCM).  In the article, Dr. Benford discusses the Black Lives Matter movement in the context of a broader description of the factors that make social movements effective. 

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman was quoted by University Communications and Marketing in a news story on the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

December 2019

Sociology faculty were featured in news stories on The HUB, a media outlet of USF's College of Arts and Sciences.  


August 2020


past newsletters

Volume 5, Issue 1, Fall 2019

Volume 4, Issue 1, Fall 2017

Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2016

Volume 2, Issue 1, Fall 2014

Volume 1, Issue 1, Fall 2013