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Student Accomplishments

Sociology Student Accomplishments: 2016-2017

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

Awards, Scholarships, Accolades, and Other Successes of Current Students and Recent Graduates

Graduate students:

Maggie Chamberlain is a graduate student representative (one of only two master’s students) on the Graduate Council, 2017

A group of dedicated sociology students developed and coordinated our new Sociology Graduate Student Association, which officially started in fall 2016

Kellen Begin: New job! Community School Coordinator at the non-profit organization, Austin Voices for Education and Youth.

Candy Cantrell is the Assistant Editor at the  Journal of Research on Women and Gender, Center for Diversity and Gender Studies

Danni Lopez-Rogina, received a Bobcat Pride Scholarship and a Graduate College Thesis Research Support Fellowship thesis fellowship

Katherine Rompel: New job! Adjunct professor at Austin Community College in the Sociology Department. She is a member of the Indigenous Peoples Summit and the Women & Gender Research Collaborative, assisting in the planning and preparation of 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 received the 2016 Sociology department’s Outstanding Program Contribution Award. She also works as a Shelter Advocate at the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center.

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

Recent graduate April Hudson works for Seton’s Seton Heart Specialty Care and Transplant Center as a Cardiac Program Data Specialist. She is an adjunct instructor at St. Edward’s University.

Milad Mohammadalizadehkorde received a summer 2016 internship position and Climate Corps Fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund and Staples

Mithun Asher received a summer 2016 internship position with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Recent graduate Abery Johnson got a new job! Family-Based Social Services Worker for the Department of Family Protective Services

Recent graduate Caroline Haring is a lecturer at Austin Community College

Recent graduate Jeanne Heinen has a new job at Texas State University as a Development Gifts Officer and volunteers with Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund

Honesty Witmer and Robby Sanchez are working as Texas State University Advisors in Liberal Arts

Madison Tabersmith received the 2016 Bobcat Pride Scholarship and the 2016 Sociology department’s Hermann Spirit Award. New job! Career Advisor at Texas State Career Services.

Amy Allen is the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Coordinator for the Texas Military Forces (both Air and Army National Guard) and has held this position since October 2014. 

Kami Rutherford received the 2016 Center for Diversity and Gender Studies Outstanding Student Scholar Award, and the 2016 Outstanding Graduate Student in Sociology award. Kami started the doctoral program in sociology at Louisiana State University in fall 2016.

Lindy Knowles: New job! Career Advisor at Texas State Career Services and liaison to the College of Liberal Arts

Kelly Gourluck, Ashley Bryan, and Jasmine Hines received Graduate College Merit Fellowships

Kelly Gourluck and Alyssa Haney received Graduate College Celebrity Classic Scholarships

Kelly Gourluck, Paul Kappler, Alexis Hinojosa, and Katherine Rompel received Graduate College Scholarships

Kelly Gourluck serves as a Liberal Arts Representative for the Graduate House of Representatives and received a scholarship from the Texas State University Student Government

Holly Cook received a Graduate College Thesis Research Support Fellowship.

Alum Lynnette Moran published a revised version of her thesis in Men and Masculinities: Moran, Lynette S. 2015. “Men in Mourning: Depictions of Masculinity in Young and Older Widowers in Contemporary Film.” Men and Masculinities X:1-20 (online first).

Recent graduate Shannon Jacobs 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."

Recent graduate Meagan Richards is working as an Evaluation Analyst with Resources for Learning. Meagan is conducting quantitative and qualitative program evaluations for education programs at schools in Texas.

Marcus Mercer received the Outstanding Professional award from the Recreation Division of HHP at Texas State. He is a graduate of the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS) Leadership Academy. He was also awarded the 2015 Graduate Program Award for Outstanding Contribution from the Department of Sociology at Texas State

Thaddeus Atzmon and Cheryl Rollman-Tinajero are in the doctoral program in sociology at Texas A & M University.

Raul Casarez is in the doctoral program in sociology at Rice University.

Rhonda Smith is in the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas 

Several MS in Dementia and Aging students 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 starts a new job as 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 is working as a Social Services Coordinator/Discharge Planner at Brookdale Westlake Hills Skilled Nursing.

Kathy McMains received the Texas State University Student Government Scholarship. Kathy 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

Recent graduate Helen Hays 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

Recent graduate Breanna Nicholson is working for Adult Protective Services


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

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!

Recent graduate Shaun D. Payne is the HCP Coordinator at the Habitat Conservation Program


Undergraduate Students:

Ryan Kessinger, received the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Leadership Development Scholar Award

Fatima Al-Dhahi received the 2016 Shelby Renee Newman Memorial Scholarship in Sociology

Tamara Merritt received the 2016 Clarence Schultz Sociology Scholarship

Sara Caldwell received the 2016 A.A. Grusendorf Award for the Outstanding Senior in Sociology

KayCee Bruce received the 2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Sociology award

Madeline Villarreal Robles received the 2016 Charlotte McCord Memorial Scholarship in Sociology

De’Quad Binder received the 2015-2016 Geoff Wood Memorial Scholarship.

Recent graduate Kelly McGauhey 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). 

Recent Presentations and Publications

Graduate students:

Alyssa Haney presented her paper, “Consequences of Community: Service Year Alumni Share their Stories,” at the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action's 2016 Annual Conference.

Katherine Rompel organized a panel in 2015 on "Breaking the Silence: Dating and Domestic Violence in College,” for part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and a documentary 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 also appears in the San Marcos Daily Record and the Hays Free Press!


Danni Rogina-Lopez. 2016. “Lyrical Monsters: Analyzing How Rap Music Explores Mental Health,” NAAAS & Affiliates Conference.

Danni Rogina-Lopez. 2017. "Netizen Interactions in Response to Korean Hip-Hop.”  National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates Conference.

Kami Rutherford. 2016. “Wigs, High Heels, and Camera Lenses: A Longitudinal Content Analysis of Drag Queens in Film.”  Southern Sociological meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Madison Tabersmith. 2016. “Discipline and Emotional Labor: Experiences of Public School Teachers.” Southern Sociological Society meetings. Atlanta, GA.

Recent graduate, Bernard Glowinski. 2016. “The Sociological Norming of Members’ Concepts of “Violent Music.” International Graduate Student Research Conference, 2015, Texas State University. Annual Conference of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 2015, Chicago, Illinois

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

Deborah A. Harris (faculty), Whitney M. Harris, 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 (online first)

Courtney Caviness (former graduate student), Patti Giuffre (faculty), and Maria Wasley (former graduate student). 2016. “They Don’t Get It: The Promise and Problem of Using Student Resistance as a Pedagogical Tool,” Pp. 175-183 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 (former graduate student). 2016. “Desexualization.” Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, edited by Nancy Naples. New York: Wiley Blackwell.

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

A former sustainability student has a new publication: Phillips, M.B., Bonner, T.H.. 2015. “Occurrence and Amount of Microplastic Ingested by Fishes in Watersheds of the Gulf of Mexico.” Marine Pollution Bulletin

John Sanchez. 2015. “Assessment of Katherine Anne Porter’s Attendance, Discipline Alternatives, and Mediations Program: A Restorative Approach.” Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology.