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Student Accomplishments


We are proud of our current and former students’ impressive work! We highlight some recent successes of our students and alumni below.


Graduate Students

Courtney Brown (MA Sociology): Geoff Wood Memorial Scholarship:

Kami Rutherford (MA Sociology 2016): 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student in Sociology

Alexis Hinojosa (MA Sociology 2017): 2017 Rainbow Award for LGBTQIA+ Leadership

Madison Tabersmith (MA Sociology 2017): Megan Curran Award for LGBTQIA+ Advocacy at Texas State University, the 2016 Bobcat Pride Scholarship Award.

Maggie Chamberlain (MA Sociology 2017): Graduate Program Award for Outstanding Contribution. Maggie was selected to be a graduate student representative (one of only two master’s students!) on the Graduate Council in 2017.

Graduate College Merit Fellowship recipients for new fall 2017 graduate students: Jasmine Hernandez (MS Applied Sociology), Hayden Prince (MA Sociology), Rachel Harvey (MA Sociology), Colton Coiner (MS Sustainability Studies), Aspen Navarro (MS Sustainability Studies)

Danni Rogina-Lopez (MA Sociology 2017): Bobcat Pride Academic Achievement Scholar Scholarship and a Graduate College Thesis Research Support Fellowship thesis fellowship.

Milad Mohammadalizadehkorde (MA Sustainability Studies 2017) received a summer 2016 internship position and Climate Corps Fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund and Staples-our first ever recipient at Texas State!  He is a recipient of the best paper awards at the November 2016 Eighth Annual International Research Conference for Graduate Students.

Kelly Gourluck (MA Sociology) serves as a Liberal Arts Representative for the Graduate House of Representatives

A group of dedicated sociology students developed and coordinated our new Sociology Graduate Student Association, which officially started in fall 2016: Alexis Hinojosa (MA Sociology 2017), Danni Rogina-Lopez (MA Sociology 2017), Jasmine Johnson (MA Sociology 2017), Kami Rutherford (MA Sociology 2016), Katherine Casarez (MA Sociology), Kelly Gourluck (MA Sociology), Madison Tabersmith (MA Sociology 2017), Maggie Chamberlain (MA Sociology 2017), and Meagan Lopez (MA Sociology).

SGSA 2016-2017 officers are: Jasmine Johnson (Academic Success), Jonathan Cronin (Events), Katherine Casarez (Mentorship), Kelly Gourluck (Professional Development), Madison Tabermith (Events), Maggie Chamberlain (Academic Success), Mithun Asher (Treasurer)

Undergraduate Students

Kiara Nicholson (BS Applied Sociology 2013) received the 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Alumni Award

In 2017, Ryan Kessinger (BS Applied Sociology) received the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Leadership Development Scholar Award, Clarence Schultz Sociology Scholarship, Texas State University Office of Diversity Inclusion Lavender Award for long-time commitment to Texas State LGBTQIA community, Alliance of Texas State University Outstanding Intersectional Inclusion Student Leader of the Year for transforming Texas State University's inclusion, education, and dedication to LGBTQIA lives, Leadership Institute Medal of Hope, Underrepresented Student Advisory Council and Student Diversity and Inclusion Student Leadership Award, Texas State University Student Organization Council Boko Awards, AND Student Organization Leader of the Year

Fatima (“Toomi”) Al-Dhahi (BS Applied Sociology 2017): 2017 LBJ Outstanding Senior

Dezerae Reyes (BS Applied Sociology): 2017 Geoff Wood Memorial Scholarship

Marissa Sanchez (BS Applied Sociology): 2017 Shelby Renee Newman Memorial Scholarship

Jessica Martone (BS Applied Sociology 2017) and Jose Luis Rodriguez (BS Applied Sociology) 2017 Charlotte McCord Non-Traditional Student Scholarship

Larissa Slota (BA Sociology 2017): 2017 A.A. Grusendorf Award for the Outstanding Graduating Sociology Major and the 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Larissa Slota (BA Sociology 2017): 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Stephanie Villanueva (BA Sociology 2017): 2017 Herman Spirit Award

Austin Garza (BS Applied Sociology 2017); Courtlynn Noack (BS Applied Sociology), Larissa Slota (BA Sociology 2017), Samantha Smothermon (BS Applied Sociology), Mason Villarreal (BS Applied Sociology): Newsom/Matlock Scholarship

Newsom Scholars 2017

Fatima Al-Dhahi

Anisah Ali

Jon Argoitia

Fiona Burke

Tomas Diaz de Leon

Kaytlin Garrison

Austin Garza

Aydee Gonzalez Gallegos

Alexis Hernandez

Rachel Hood

Ryan Kessinger

Alejandra Lemus

Tamara Merritt

Ali Mumbach

Trevor Neely

Courtlynn Noack

Mia Ochoa

Alyssa Phelan

Hayden Prince

Michael Robertson

Audrey Robinson

Jose Rodriguez

Morgan Ryman

Jeffrey Sanchez

Marissa Sanchez

Priscilla Segovia

Caroline Soechting

Caroline Waligura

Emily Watkins

Julia West

Michael Wharton


Liberal Arts Academic Achievement Awards 2017

Taylor Allen

Annie Bryant

Andrew Diener

Jordan Duran

Rachel Harvey

Melanie Ibarra-Herrera

Jack Marris

Dezerae Reyes

Jeremy Salinas

Larissa Slota

Samantha Smothermon



Sociology and Applied Sociology students and alumni

Madison Tabersmith (MA Sociology 2017): Career Advisor at Texas State Career Services

Lindy Knowles (MA Sociology 2016): Career Advisor at Texas State Career Services

Jasmine Johnson (MA Sociology 2017): Adjunct faculty member, Alamo Colleges, San Antonio TX

Meagan Richard (MS Applied Sociology 2015) Evaluation Analyst with Resources for Learning. Meagan is conducting quantitative and qualitative program evaluations for education programs at schools in Texas.

Kiara Nicholson (BS Applied Sociology 2013): Prevention educator at Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center

Dr. Patricia Morton (PhD in Sociology and Gerontology, Purdue University 2017; BS Applied Sociology 2009) is currently a Postdoctoral researcher at Rice University

Kellen Begin (MA Sociology 2016); Community School Coordinator at the non-profit organization, Austin Voices for Education and Youth

Candy Cantrell (MA Sociology 2017) Managing Editor at the Journal of Research on Women and Gender, Center for Diversity and Gender Studies, Texas State University

April Hudson (MA Sociology 2015): Data Specialist for Seton’s Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center as a Cardiac Program. April is also an adjunct instructor at St. Edward’s University.

Honesty Witmer (MA Sociology 2016): Texas State University Advisor in Liberal Arts

Shannon Jacobs (MS Applied Sociology 2015) became the first social science instructor in the history of the Escoffier School of the Culinary Arts. He is teaching "World History and Culture from a Culinary Perspective."

Kelly McGauhey (BS Applied Sociology 2012) works as graduate research assistant at the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention, and is designing cancer prevention programs. She volunteers for a worksite wellness study. She is at UT Health School of Public Health pursuing an MPH degree (Master's in Public Health). 

Several sociology alumni are on the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund Board of Directors ( Jeanne Heinen (MA Sociology, 2014) is Executive Director and Director of Donor Relations, Kiara Nicholson (BS Applied Sociology 2013), is Director of Community Outreach, Madison Tabersmith (MA Sociology, 2017) is Director of Student Programming, and Maria Wasley-Valdez (MA Sociology 2013) is Director of Operations.

Lindy Knowles (MA Sociology 2016) is working as a Career Advisor at Texas State Career Services and liaison to the College of Liberal Arts

Katherine Casarez (MA Sociology) taught as an Adjunct professor at Austin Community College in the Sociology Department in 2017.

Jamilatu Siller (MA Sociology 2012): City of Austin Fire Department Business Systems Analyst

Several MS in Dementia and Aging students and alumni are working in aging-related jobs:

Erin Van Landingham: 2015 American Society for Quality Healthcare Division Florence Nightingale Scholarship. Erin Van Landingham is also a Health Policy Analyst. Erin is the 2016-2017 Co-Chair of the Aging Services Council of Central Texas and serves as a Community Health Champion through Central Health in Austin. She also teamed up with CommUnity Care to write a grant to the CMS Innovation Center, entitled Accountable Health Communities. Her organization will serve as the community social services provider and navigator for older adult and adults with disabilities patients that are seen at the FQHC, CommUnity Care. The grant has emphasis on keeping patients out of the hospital, in their homes, to avoid costly premature institutionalization. She is working as the Grants and Contracts Manager at Family Eldercare and was recently hired by Be Well MD as a Research Assistant for Geriatrics.

Doug Laws is working as a Chaplain for Supportive Medicine (Palliative Care, non-hospice) at Memorial Hermann Health System  

Heather Macchietto is the Executive Director for Dancing Rivers Assisted Living in Grapevine, TX (with Civitias Senior Living)

Michele Nation Wood is the Director of Financial Services for Brookdale Broadway Cityview (CCRC Retirement Community)

Nichole F. Pozanac Johnson is the Director of Financial Services for Brookdale Lakeway

Alycia Temple is the Marketing Director for Legacy Living Memory Care in Arlington, Texas. She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner.

Terry Vannoy is working as a Regional Developer - Central Texas for SYNERGY HomeCare

Kathy McMains (MSDA 2016) is working as a Social Services Coordinator/Discharge Planner at Brookdale Westlake Hills Skilled Nursing. She also serves on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s committee.

Christine Haynes is working as a Caregiver and CNA for Comfort Keepers

Cosmo P. Cecilia is working as a Discharge Planner and Social Services Coordinator

Kimberly Nichols is currently working as a Regional Dietitian in Long Term Care

Helen Hays (MSDA 2015) is working for Touchstone Communities and will be moving into an Administrator, LNFA role in a newly acquired San Antonio facility

Heather Beaver is working as a Licensed Nursing Facility Administrator

Breanna Nicholson (MSDA 2015) is working for Adult Protective Services

Several current and former Sustainability students are working in “green jobs”:

Sustainability alum, Shaun Marie Auckland, LEED Green Association is a Conservation Coordinator Senior for Travis County (Transportation and Natural Resources, Environmental Quality Program)

Rebecca Wilson is working as the Community Relations Coordinator for the San Antonio River Authority. She is moving on from her current position as Social Media and Community Relations Specialist for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.

Sustainability alum, Kaitlin Grable is working at the Galveston Bay Foundation as their Water Quality Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

Samira Farahani is currently working online with two organizations, both located in Washington DC, as: Consultant at Eurasia Foundation (Online Collaborative Citizenship Education Program, School of Social Entrepreneurship) and Consultant at Institute for Peace and War Reporting, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) program, youth and sustainable development project

Maddie Morgan is working as a Waste Diversion Planner for Austin Resource Recovery for the City of Austin

Joshua Newton is currently working as the Farm Assistant for Rio Blanco Gardens at Montesino Ranch. The farm is a USDA Certified Organic Farm in Wimberley, Texas.

Amy Kirwin is the Solid Waste Program Coordinator for the City of San Marcos. She is interviewed frequently for stories in the local media!

Sustainability alum, Shaun D. Payne is the HCP Coordinator at the Habitat Conservation Program


Milad Mohammadalizadehkorde (MA Sustainability Studies, 2017) begins the Ph.D. program in Geography at Texas State University in fall 2017

Danni Rogina-Lopez (MA Sociology 2017) begins the doctoral program at the University of Colorado-Boulder in fall 2017

Maggie Chamberlain (MA Sociology 2017) begins the doctoral program at Oklahoma State University in fall 2017

Amber Blazek (BS Applied Sociology 2011) begins the doctoral program at Texas A & M University in fall 2017)

Meagan Richard (MS Applied Sociology 2015) begins the doctoral program at begins the University of Illinois-Chicago doctoral program in Policy Studies in Urban fall 2017)

Kami Rutherford (MA Sociology 2016) is working on PHD at Louisiana State University

Cheryl Rollman-Tinajero (MA Sociology 2015) is working on PHD at Texas A & M University

Lessye Demoss (BS Applied Sociology 2013) is working on PHD at University of Alabama

Thaddeus Atzmon (MA Sociology 2015) is working on PHD at Texas A & M University

Courtney Caviness (MA Sociology 2013) is working on PHD at University of California-Davis

Raul Casarez (MA Sociology 2015) is working on PHD at Rice University

Michael Lengefeld (BS Applied Sociology 2008; MA Sociology 2011) is working on PHD at Washington State University

Jasmon Bailey (MA Sociology 2012) is working on PHD at University of South Florida

Nick LaLone (MA Sociology 2012; BS Applied Sociology 2007) working on PHD at Pennsylvania State University)

Megan Krou (MA Sociology 2015) is working on PHD at Texas State University

Frank Carrejo (MA Sociology 2010): working on PHD at Oklahoma State University

Alexandra Warner (BS Applied Sociology 2014) is working on PHD at Central Florida University

Jeremy Holland (MA Sociology 2012) is working on PHD at Lancaster University, England

Bricio Vasquez (MA Sociology 2008) is working on PHD at University of Texas-San Antonio

Dorian Galindo (MS Applied Sociology 2012) is working on PHD at University of Texas-San Antonio

Rhonda Smith (BA Sociology 2009) is working on PHD at University of Las Vegas


Jasmón L. Bailey (MA Sociology 2012), doctoral candidate at the University of South Florida, is the recipient of a prestigious American Sociological Association Minority Student Fellowship for 2017-18. His dissertation is entitled, Palatable Shades of Gender: Status Processes at the Intersections of Race, Appearance, and Team Formation. Jasmon co-authored an earlier theoretical paper on his study, Red, White, Yellow, Blue, All Out but You, in Social Psychology Quarterly in 2016. He is currently serving as the student liaison for the new Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction Diversity Task Force.  His recent publication:

Skvoretz, John, and Jasmón L. Bailey. 2016. “’Red, White, Yellow, Blue, All Out but You’: Status Effects on Team Formation, an Expectation States Theory.” Social Psychology Quarterly 79(2): 136-155.


Rhonda Smith (BA Sociology 2009) wrote a recent blog on aging:

Katherine Casarez (MA Sociology) is a member of the Indigenous Peoples Summit and the Women & Gender Research Collaborative, and helped develop and coordinate two Spring 2017 symposiums at Texas State. She is also serving as a guest editor for the Journal of Research on Women & Gender for an upcoming special issue on gender identity. This issue will focus on the stories, struggles, and experiences of transgender, gender queer, and gender nonconforming individuals. She organized a documentary viewing and discussion panel on “Not Enough Time” in 2016. She presented a lecture in the Philosophy Dialogue Series, entitled, “We are Made to Do this Work.”: The ‘Responsible Subversion’ of Neotraditional Birth Practices” (2016). She also did a presentation as part of the Philosophy Dialogue series (San Marcos Public Library Dialogue) “Healing & Health for Marginalized People.” She gave the invocation for the 3rd time at the Texas State Multicultural Graduation in December 2016, and the 2nd time at the Texas State Annual MLK Celebration in January 2017. She appears in the San Marcos Daily Record and the Hays Free Press!


Rev. Douglas Laws (MSDA): As part of his chaplaincy work in Palliative Care, he created an Alzheimer's/Dementia Resource Guide aimed at people in the early to moderate stages of dementia. This Resource Guide is for use of our Palliative Care Teams (physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains) who see patient/family in the Outpatient Clinics.

Jonafa Banbury (MA Sociology 2014) and Thaddeus Atzmon have authored chapters in Symbolic Interactionist Takes on Music, published by Emerald Press in 2016. Jonafa’s chapter is “The Church and the Streets: An Ethnographic Study of the Christian Hip Hop Music Scene in Central Texas,” and Thaddeus’ chapter is “Musical Pastiche: The Case of Matisyahu.”  The book is a collection of papers from the international symposium on music sponsored by the Department of Sociology in 2014.

Jon Beaubien (MA Sociology 2017). 2017. “Save the Damsel: Depictions of Gender in Independent Video Games.” Paper presented at the Southwestern Social Science Association conference, Austin, TX

Charley Henderson (MA Sociology) and Dr. Atsuko Kawakami. 2017. “Hepatitis C and the Social Hierarchy: How Stigma is Built in Rural Communities.” Paper presented at the American Sociological Association conference, Montreal, Canada.

Christopher Johnson (faculty), Jordan Kelch (MA in Sociology), and Dr. Roxanna Johnson. Forthcoming. “Dementia at the End of Life and Family Partners: A Symbolic Interactionist Perspective on Communication.”  Behavioral Sciences.

Jonathan Cronin (MA Sociology) was interviewed for the San Marcos Daily Record (March 1, 2017) about the VOCES Oral History project) * Jonathan’s late grandfather and San Marcos native Andres Ybarra was interviewed by VOCES in December 2002. 

Alexis Hinojosa (MA Sociology 2017) co-facilitated Bobcats DeColores Dicussion sessions in 2017

Kiara Nicholson (BS Applied Sociology 2013) was featured in the 2017 American Sociological Association webinar “Building Your Career with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology”

Alyssa Haney (MS Applied Sociology 2017). 2016. “Consequences of Community: Service Year Alumni Share their Stories,” Paper presented at the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action's Conference.

Danni Rogina-Lopez (MA Sociology 2017). 2016. “Lyrical Monsters: Analyzing How Rap Music Explores Mental Health.” Paper presented at the NAAAS & Affiliates Conference.

Danni Rogina-Lopez (MA Sociology 2017). 2017. “Netizen Interactions in Response to Korean Hip-Hop.”  Paper presented at the National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates Conference.

Marcus Mercer (MSDA 2017) was interviewed about the MSDA for the spring 2016 issue of Hillviews

Deborah A. Harris (faculty), Whitney M. Harris (MA Sociology 2016) and Kristi M. Fondren (faculty at Marshall University). 2015. “Everybody Eats: Using Hunger Banquets to Teach about Issues of Global Hunger and Inequality.” Teaching Sociology 43:115-125.

Courtney Caviness (MA Sociology 2013), Patti Giuffre (faculty), and Maria Wasley-Valdez (MA Sociology 2013). 2016. “They Don’t Get It: The Promise and Problem of Using Student Resistance as a Pedagogical Tool,” in Teaching about Sex and Gender in Contemporary America, edited by Kristin Haltinner and Ryanne Pilgeram. New York: Springer Publishing.

Patti Giuffre and Courtney Caviness (MA Sociology 2013). 2016. “Desexualization.” Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, edited by Nancy Naples. New York: Wiley Blackwell.

Patti Giuffre and April Hudson (MA Sociology 2015). 2016. “Reflexivity.” Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, edited by Nancy Naples. New York: Wiley Blackwell.

Kelly McGauhey (BS Applied Sociology 2012 and 2012 LBJ Outstanding Senior Award recipient) is enrolled in the University of Houston’s Masters in Public Health Program. She’s worked on several research projects and co-authored a book chapter:

Maria E. Fernandez, Natalia I. Heredia, Lorna H. McNeill, Maria Eugenia Fernandez-Esquir, Yen-Chi L. Le, and Kelly G. McGauhey. “Special Issues in Conducting Community-Based Participatory Research Studies with Ethnic and Racial Minorities.” From The Handbook of Community-based Participatory Research edited by Steven S. Coughlin, Selina A. Smith, and Maria E. Fernandez. Oxford University Press.

2016/2017 Alpha Kappa Delta Undergraduate and Graduate Inductees

Jon Argoitia

Albert Assogba

Karri Baca

Debra Bilbrey

Courtney Brown

Annie Bryant

Lisa DeLeon

Ashley Devereux

Andrew Diener

Jordan Duran

Bridget Garcia

Kaytlin Garrison

Ashley Graves

Rachel Harvey

Jordan Kelch

Ryan Kessinger

Kelcie Mantle

Jack Marris

Jessica Martone

Trevor Neely

Courtlynn Noack

Krista Novak

Andrew Patoski

Lara Ramirez

Jacquelyn Reese

Dezerae Reyes

Brittney Roberson

Audrey Robinson

Lauren Schmidt

Tyra Smith

Tess Taylor

Anissa Torres

Mason Villarreal

Madeline Villarreal-Robles

Raimey Williams