Alumni Family

Ph.D. Recipients and their Current Positions

  • Ashley Green, Ph.D., 2023, Dissertation: "'I Don't Know Where the Lesbians Are': Exploring LGBTQ+ Women’s Experiences of Place and Community," Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, Central Connecticut State University.

  • Melanie Escue, Ph.D., 2023, Dissertation: "'You Don’t Seek Help, You are Just Thankful for the Things the Country Provides for You': The Emotional Burden of Growing up Undocumented in the United States," Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

  • Kristopher Oliveira, Ph.D., 2022, Dissertation: "Revisiting ‘Our’ Place on Campus: A Queer(ed) and In-Depth Interview Study of QT Resource Professionals in Higher Education," Office of Diversity & Inclusion - Director, LGBTQ+ Equity Center, University of Maryland, College Park.

  • Melinda Maconi, Ph.D., 2022, Dissertation: "A Tale of Two Art Programs:Art & Identity for People with Disabilities," Research Specialist II, Moffitt Cancer Center and Adjunct Instructor at USF.

  • Rebecca Blackwell, Ph.D., 2021, Dissertation: "The Debate on Physician-Assisted Death in the United States: A Narrative Analysis of Formula Stories," PRISM Core Researcher, Moffitt Cancer Center and Adjunct Instructor at USF.

  • Edlin Veras, Ph.D., 2021, Dissertation: "They Say We’re Expendable: Race, Nation, and Citizenship in the Dominican Republic," Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, Swarthmore College. 

  • Fangheyue Ma, Ph.D., 2021, Dissertation: "Presenting Selves and Interpreting Culture: An Ethnography of Chinese International Tourism in the United States," Instructor, Department of Social Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University.

  • Carley Geiss, Ph.D., 2021, Dissertation: "Narrative Meaning Productions of Compassionate Healthcare: An Examination of Cultural Codes, Organizational Practices, and Everyday Realities," Core Staff Scientist, Participant Research, Interventions, and Measurement, Moffitt Cancer Center.

  • Silpa Satheesh, Ph.D., 2020, Dissertation: "Red-Green Rows: Exploring the
    Conflict between Labor and Environmental Movements in Kerala, India," Assistant Professor,  Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India.

  • Juan Arroyo Flores, Ph.D., 2020, Dissertation: "Online-Offline Social Ties in Massive Multiplayer Online Games," Senior Scientist I, Fors Marsh.

  • Douglas Engelman, Ph.D. , 2020, Dissertation: "Family Response to a Diagnosis of Serious Mental Illness in Teens and Young Adults: A Multi-Voiced Narrative Analysis," Lecturer, University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

  • Rodrigo Serrão Santana de Jesus, Ph.D., 2020, Dissertation: "Winning “Americans” for Jesus?: Second-Generation, Racial Ideology, and the Future of the Brazilian Evangelical Church in the U.S.," Assistant Professor, Hope College.

  • Jasmón Bailey, Ph.D., 2019, Dissertation, "Palatable Shades of Gender: Status Processes at the Intersections of Race," Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Maryland.

  • Patrick Casey, Ph.D., 2019, Dissertation:  "American Converts to Islam: Identity, Racialization, and Authenticity," Assistant Professor, University of Central Arkansas.

  • Hadi Khoshneviss, Ph.D., 2019, Dissertation: "Geopolitics of Race and Contours of Whiteness: The Experience of Immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa in the United States," Assistant Professor, Rhodes College.

  • Erik Withers, Ph.D., 2019, Dissertation: "Selling Whiteness: An Intersectional Analysis of Cultural Intermediaries in the Craft Beverage Industry," Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

  • S. Katherine Cooper, Ph.D., 2018, Dissertation: "Breaking the Crass Ceiling? Exploring Narratives, Performances, and Audience Reception of Women's Stand-Up Comedy," Associate Teaching Professor, University of Tampa.

  • Justine Egner, Ph.D., 2018, Dissertation: "An Intersectional Examination of Disability and LGBTQ+ Identities In Virtual Spaces," Director of Launch - Research and Product Development, Edge Launch.

  • Melissa Welch, Ph.D., 2018, Dissertation: "Decreased Visibility: A Narrative Analysis of Episodic Disability and Contested Illness," Social Caseworker II, Larimer County, Colorado.

  • Pangri Mehta, Ph.D., 2017, Dissertation: "‘Steps to Our Culture’: Indian Families and Constructing a Sense of Home and Belonging," Senior Copy Director, Thomas J. Paul, Inc. 

  • Fae Chubin, Ph.D., 2017, Dissertation: "Becoming Proper: An Institutional Ethnography of Subaltern Empowerment and Innominate Identity Politics in Iran," Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Tampa.

  • Jennifer Earles, Ph.D., 2017, Dissertation: "An Intersectional Examination of Disability and LGBTQ+ Identities In Virtual Spaces."

  • M.C. Whitlock, Ph.D., 2017, Dissertation: "Examining Forty Years of the Social Organization of Feminisms: Ethnography of Two Women’s Bookstores in the US South," Assistant Professor, University of North Georgia-Dahlonega.

  • David Zeller, Ph.D., 2017, Dissertation: "'There is No Planet B': Frame Disputes within the Environmental Movement over Geoengineering," Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Tampa.

  • Maggie Cobb, Ph.D., 2016, Dissertation: "Songwriting as Inquiry and Action: Emotion, Narrative Identity, and Authenticity in Folk Music Culture."

  • Damien Contessa, Ph.D., 2016, Dissertation: "Unraveling the Wild: A Cultural Logic of Animal Stories in Contemporary Social Life," Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Tampa.

  • Elaina Behounek, Ph.D., 2015, Dissertation: "Mediated Relationships: An Ethnography of Family Law Mediation," Associate Professor, Middle Georgia State University.

  • Brenda Mason, Ph.D., 2015, Dissertation: "Beauty is Precious, Knowledge is Power, and Innovation is Progress: Widely Held Beliefs in Policy Narratives about Oil Spills." 

  • Loren Wilbers, Ph.D., 2015, Dissertation: "The Experience of Chronic Pain Management: A Multi-Voiced Narrative Analysis," Associate Professor & Department Chair, Department of Sociology, Criminology & Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

  • Hilary Dotson, Ph.D., 2014, Dissertation: "More to Love: Obesity Histories and Romantic Relationships in the Transition to Adulthood," Deputy Director - Military Analytics, Fors Marsh.

Some Recent M.A. Recipients and their Current Positions*

  • Didier Salgado, M.A., 2023, Data Specialist, University Area CDC
  • Dominique Rivera, M.A., 2022, Tampa Bay Regional Organizer, Families for Strong Public Schools

  • Cassidy Boe, M.A., 2022, Current Doctoral Student at The University of New Mexico*
  • Jenna Bateman, M.A., 2021, Current Doctoral Student at University of Central Florida*
  • Julia Jester, M.A., 2021, Housing Case Manager, Mid-Shore Pro Bono
  • Angelica Loblack, M.A., 2020, Current Doctoral Student at University of Maryland*
  • Katie Hilderbrand, M.A., 2020, Development Associate, Prevent Blindness Georgia

  • Kathryn DelGenio, M.A., 2019, Current Doctoral Student at Rutgers University*
  • Shelby Statham, M.A., 2018, Prevention Policy Specialist, Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence

  • Olivia Fleming, M.A., 2018, Assistant Professor, Transylvania University
  • Kellie Petersen, M.A., 2018, Current Doctoral Student at University of California, Santa Cruz*
  • Ana Balius, M.A., 2018, Program Administrator, Frameworks of Tampa Bay
  • Manuel Ramirez, M.A., 2017, Current Doctoral Student at University of Connecticut*
  • Diamond Briggs, M.A, 2017, Enrollment Representative, Bisk
  • Joy Fuller, M.A., 2017, Payroll Coordinator, Oxford Global Resources
  • Olivia Johnson, M.A., 2017, Current Doctoral Student at Emory University*
  • Morgan Sanchez, M.A., 2013, Assistant Professor, San José State University
  • Natalie M. Delia, M.A., 2011, Associate Professor, University of Windsor
  • Herrica Telus, M.A., 2011, Analyst, US Government Accountability Office 
  • Anastacia Schulhoff, M.A. 2010, Assistant Professor, Appalachian State University
  • Marc Settembrino, M.A., 2010, Associate Professor, Southeastern Louisiana University
  • Jarin Eisenberg, M.A., 2009, Chief Operating Officer of Groundswell Startups & The Deffebach Community Development Initiative in Melbourne, FL
  • Alexander A. Hernandez, M.A., 2009, Instructional Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
  • Sharla Alegria, M.A., 2007, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
  • Christina Partin, M.A., 2006, Professor of Instruction, University of South Florida
  • Ilir Disha, M.A., 2005, Assistant Professor, Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • William Force, M.A., 2005, Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno
  • Lonnie Griffin III, M.A., 2004, Campus Dean of the Liberty Campus of Savannah Technical College
  • Neil Quisenberry, M.A.,1992, Professor & Chair of the Division of Social Science at McKendree University

*Many others are completing doctoral programs at prestigious universities

Alumni/ae News

Loren Wilbers (PhD 2015) was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater in 2021.  She was also appointed Chair of the Department of Sociology, Criminology and Anthropology.

Loren Wilbers (PhD 2015), with co-author Ron Berger, has published the second edition of Introducing Disability Studies with Lynne Rienner (2021). 

Matthew Ahlfs (MA, 2018) will begin doctoral studies at George Mason University in the Fall of 2020.  Army Lt. Ahlfs was deployed overseas for 9 mos after completing his M.A. at USF.

Cris Chandler (BA, 2008) was recently named a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pat Curtin (MA, 1974) recently received a Professor Emeritus designation in recognition of his life-time commitment to teaching Sociology and Marriage and Family at St. Petersburg College.

Jolie Daigle (Ziomek) (BA, 1995), Professor of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Georgia, recently provided this testimonial: "The Sociology major provided me such a solid foundation in examining the impact of "society" or communities on children's well-being including their mental health. The degree also introduced me to qualitative research. That led me to the field of counseling and, more specifically, school counseling and my degrees in School Counseling (M.S.) and Counselor Education (PhD). I became a faculty member at the University of Georgia in 2005, teach in both the M.Ed and PhD counseling programs, coordinate the M.Ed.program, and serve as Co-PI on two HRSA-funded Behavior Health Training grants."

Tia Dixon (BA, 2015), Executive Director and founder of the agency "Posimoto -Changing Faces," recently made a very generous docation to the Department of Sociology to establish the "Dixon-Posimoto Scholarship" which will be awarded annually to an undergraduate student who would like to complete an internship with a non-profit community agency in the Tampa Bay region.  

Maria D. Duenas (MA, 2015), Ph.D. candidate at the University of California-Merced, won first place for Alpha Kappa Delta's 2020 Graduate Student Paper Competition for her second year paper titled, "Three Discursive Messages: Racial and Ethnic Socialization in Middle-Class Latinx Families". This paper also won UC Merced Sociology's 2020 Graduate Student Research Award.  

Lauren Dunayer (BA, 2015), winner of the 2015-2016 Outstanding Senior in Sociology Award from USF's Department of Sociology, has been working for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office as a Family Support Worker in Child Protection Investigations.  She states: "I utilize the resources, skills, and knowledge that I learned in my time at USF/Sociology Department on an every day basis." 

Justine Egner (PhD, 2018) published a book chapter "'We Love Each Other into Meaning': Queer Disabled Tumblr Users Constructing Identity Narratives through Live and Anger." 2020. Pp 261-276 in Sara Green and Donileen Loseke (eds.) New Narratives of Disability: Constructions, Clashes, and Constructions. Volume 11 in the peer reviewed book series Research in Social Sciences and Disability. Bingley (UK): Emerald Publishing.

Justine Egner (PhD, 2018) was elected in 2020 to serve as the Membership Chair of the Disability and Society Section of the American Sociological Association.

Jarin Eisenberg (BA, 2007; MA 2009) currently works as the Chief Operating Officer of Groundswell Startups & The Deffebach Communicty Development Initiative in Melbourne, FL, where she is directing efforts to address chronic homelessness in Downtown Melbourne in partnership with the ‘Street to Home Movement’.   

Michael Flaherty (MA, 1977), Professor of Sociology at Eckerd College on Florida's Gulf Coast, recently served as Visiting Professor of Sociology at the University of Bucharest, Romania.

Grace Hussain (BA, 2019) will be studying for her Master of Science in Animals & Public Policy at Tufts University beginning the Fall 2020.

Flandra Ismajli (BA, 2018), winner of the 2017-2018 Outstanding Senior in Sociology Award from USF's Department of Sociology, is working as a Research Support Specialist in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of South Florida.

Leonard Kania (BA, 1969) recently retired from Sonoma State University and lives with his wife of 40 years in Sonoma, California.

Hadi Khoshneviss (PhD, 2019) recently authored an article "A home to which I do not belong: geopolitics, colonialism, and whiteness in the experience of Middle Eastern and North African citizens in the United States," which was published in Postcolonial Studies (December, 2019).

William Mangold (BA, 1968; MA, 1969; PhD in Demographic Studies from Duke University) retired from his position as Professor of Sociology at the University of Arkansas, where he served as the founding director of its Center for Social Research. During his tenure at University of Arkansas, Dr. Mangold authored or co-authored over 100 research articles and monographs, supervised dozens of funded research projects, and served as then Governor Bill Clinton's advisor on health policy for the State of Arkansas. He and his wife LuAnn, a Professor of Accounting at Florida Tech in Melbourne, Florida, now live in Sebastian, Florida. 

Whitney McGinniss (BA, 2007) manages HUD and DOJ funded supportive housing grants for domestic violence survivors in the Greater Atlanta area.   

Byron A. Miller (BA, 2002; MAT in Secondary Social Science Education from USF; Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Florida) is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida - St. Petersburg. His research examines how psychosocial factors like mastery, discrimination, and social support impact health disparities.

Aloknath Pandya (BA, 2007, with honors), an Internal Medicine specialist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently appeared in the U.S. News and World Report's listing of "best doctors."  After graduating  from USF, Dr. Pandya received his medical degree from Florida State University's College of Medicine in 2012.

Kat Poblete (BA, 2013), winner of the 2012-2013 Outstanding Senior in Sociology Award from USF's Department of Sociology, who has had a longtime interest in sustainable agriculture, is Farm Manager of the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program, which was developed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).  

Roberto Potter (BA, 1975) is Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at the University of Central Florida.  In 2014, Dr. Potter received the Peter P. Lejins Research Award from the American Correctional Association, the highest honor bestowed on a corrections researcher by the national association.

Carol Rambo (MA, 1987), Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Memphis, recently won the Distinguished Teaching Award at her university.

Manuel (Manny) Ramirez (MA, 2017), doctoral student in Sociology at the University of Connecticut, received honorable mention in the 2019 Graduate Paper Competition of the SSSP's Racial and Ethnic Minority Division for his work "'You Know, We're Just Having a Good Time': Masking Racism and Foregrounding Fun in Cosplay."    

Natalie Rosado (BA, 2005, with honors) is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in providing support to teens, adults, couples, and famlies in the Tampa Bay area.

Robyn Sagal (BA, 2012), who graduated Magna Cum Laude from USF's Honors College with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Public Health, received a Fulbright Student Partnership Award for the University of Shffield (UK), where she also received her Master's degree in International Development and Public Health. She currently works as a specialist in Global Health at the Association of Public Health Laboratories in Washington, D.C. 

Morgan Sanchez (MA, 2013) published a book chapter "Sick and Tired: Narratives of Contested Illness in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Blogs." 2020. Pp 245-260 in Sara Green and Donileen Loseke (eds.) New Narratives of Disability: Constructions, Clashes, and Constructions. Volume 11 in the peer reviewed book series Research in Social Sciences and Disability. Bingley (UK): Emerald Publishing.

Silpa Satheesh (PhD, 2020) had her essay covering the recent protest in Eloor (India) published in Interface Blog, along with several other social movement luminaries including Donatella della Porta, Jackie Smith, John Foran, and Kohn Krinsky among others.

Ricky Scheiber-Camoretti, PMP (BA, 2016), winner of the 2016-2017 Outstanding Senior in Sociology Award from USF's Department of Sociology, was recently promoted to Assistant Vice President of the ICG O&T Chief Operating Office-Management Team of Citi. 

George Self (BA in Sociology from USF, 1969; PhD in Economic Development & Community Organization from Cornell University), a Health Economist, recently retired as Director of the New Jersey Medicaid Managed Care Program and currently lives in Tampa.

Rodrigo Serrao (PhD, 2020), assistant professor of sociology at Hope College, Holland, Michigan, published an editorial "How Seminaries Could Heal Racism Except for This Roadblock," in Good Faith Media (July, 2020). In August, 2020, he also published (with co-author João Chaves) an article "Immigrant Evangelicalism in the COVID-19 Crisis: Reactions and Responses from Brazilian Evangelical Churches in Florida" in the International Journal of Latin American Religions

Marc Settembrino (BA, 2008; MA 2010) was recently promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez (BA, 2014), winner of the 2014-2015 Outstanding Senior in Sociology Award from USF's Department of Sociology, recently started a position as Program Officer for the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a philanthropy company based in New York City, while she completes her PhD in Sociology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. 

Tom Warren (MA, 1992), Pastor of Peace United Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC, recently led members of his congregations and other UCC congregations on their annual, two-week-long UCC Cuba Study Seminar, which included traveling across Cuba by bus visiting the major cities of Havana, Varadaro, Santa Clara, Camaguey, and Santiago.

Melissa Welch (PhD, 2018) published a book chapter "Narrative Productions of Problems and People in the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act." 2020.  Pp 139-149 in Sara Green and Donileen Loseke (eds.) New Narratives of Disability: Constructions, Clashes, and Constructions. Volume 11 in the peer reviewed book series Research in Social Sciences and Disability. Bingley (UK): Emerald Publishing.

Loren Wilbers (PhD, 2015) published a book chapter "Institutional and Personal narratives of Chronic Pain Management: Interrogating the Medical and Social Models of Disability." 2020. Pp. 151-167 in Sara Green and Donileen Loseke (eds.) New Narratives of Disability: Constructions, Clashes, and Constructions. Volume 11 in the peer reviewed book series Research in Social Sciences and Disability. Bingley (UK): Emerald Publishing.

Loren Wilbers (PhD, 2015), Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, was elected in 2020 to be the 2020-2022 Division Co-Chair of the Disability Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.  Read more about Loren on page 7 of the Summer, 2020, issue of the Disability Division Newsletter.

Aaron Young (BA, 2018), winner of the 2017-2018 Outstanding Senior in Sociology Award from USF's Department of Sociology, is pursuing his Master's in Urban and Regional Planning at USF while serving as a Fellow of the Hillsborough County City County Planning Commission.

Joe Zuniga, a nationally recognized singer and author, returned to campus in April, 2017, for a book signing of his book Debra Lafave- A Crown of Beauty for Ashes, which is a story about second chances. His newest song titled “Familias Unidas” (United Families) can be watched on Youtube.

Note: If you are an alumnus/a, please email us to update your information and share your accomplishments.