- Dr. Kari Alexander - Senior Instructor
- Dr. Teresa M. Cooney – Professor
- Dr. Candan Duran-Aydintug - Associate Professor
- Dr. Keith Guzik - Associate Professor
- Dr. Adam Lippert - Assistant Professor
- Dr. Jennifer Reich - Professor
- Dr. Maren Scull - Assistant Professor Clinical Track
- Dr. Esther Sullivan - Assistant Professor
- Dr. Edelina Burciaga - Assistant Professor
- Dr. Jenny Vermilya - Senior Instructor
Kari Alexander’s past research focuses on exposure to social stress, religion, and health. In addition to general research on social stress, coping behaviors, and health outcomes, she focuses more narrowly on effects of different aspects of religiosity on mental health after exposure to social stressors. Currently, Dr. Alexander is beginning to explore the effects of narrative-based online pedagogies on empathy.
As a family and life course sociologist with expertise in social gerontology, Dr. Cooney studies older adults’ role (e.g., work, family) and health transitions, and family relationships. She is currently completing multiple papers addressing the influence marital status and family relationships have on adults’ end-of-life care planning, and another paper examining factors that mitigate caregiver stress for adult caregivers of heart-failure patients.
Dr. Cooney also is initiating two new research projects. The first uses secondary data from the National Study of Adolescent Health (now in Wave V, with respondents in their 30s), merged with the Add Health Parent Study, to examine how middle-aged and older adults’ support for their adult children and grandchildren varies across different family structures maintained by the adult children.
A second project focused on college-aged family caregivers is in the exploratory stage. Along with CU Denver colleagues, Dr. Cooney plans to interview staff of student service and support offices on the Auraria campus to assess whether family caregiving is a relevant issue for current students, and the types of problems it presents for them. Once salient caregiving issues are identified through this preliminary work, a subsequent study of students’ perspectives on and experiences with family caregiving is planned.
Recently published papers
Dr. Duran-Aydintug is currently working on two research projects.
In one project she is working on a project with Adams County Safe House staff members.
Using focus groups and semi-structured face-to-face interviews, she is hoping to gain an in-depth understanding of how shelter staff constructs their clients’ identities and their narratives as they grapple with the common question: “Why do they stay in or go back to abusive relationships?”
The research, “Safe House Members’ Understanding and Social Construction of Their Clients’ Identities and Accounts” is being supported by a grant from the UCD Center for Faculty Development.
In this research, Dr. Duran plans to answer the following questions:
• Why do shelter staff members believe that these women go back?
• How do shelter staff members describe these women, their lives and the choices they make?
• In working with these women toward empowerment (the shelter’s main goal), what obstacles do they encounter and what role do they attribute to the women in the existence of these obstacles and in giving into them?
These questions will lead to a better understanding of the phenomenon, may result in more focused training of shelter staff and certainly will carry legal and policy implications.
The second project is on Stay Home Fathers and on that she is working with Charlene Shelton, UCD Sociology MA graduate.
Using a phenomenological approach, their aim is to gain an in-depth understanding how fathers who stay home connect with their children how they define their role as “fathers”, what support groups they have, what obstacles they encounter, and how the negotiations are made between mothers and fathers.
Dr. Guzik's areas of concentration include criminology, law & society, science & technology studies, sociological theory, and qualitative methods. His research examines technology’s role in legal institutions and processes and its impact on people’s legal experiences. His recent work has covered the use of information and surveillance technologies to combat insecurity, especially in the context of Mexico’s War on Crime, the adoption of body-worn cameras by policing agencies in the United States, the relationship between procedural justice and court legitimacy in Poland, and the influence of ethnographic methods on politics and policy. He has also written on intimate partner abuse in the past and the effects of arrest and prosecution on changing abusers’ conduct.
Book - “Making Things Stick”
Article - "Fairness on Trial"
Dr. Lippert is a sociologist and demographer whose research is centered on three aims: (1) understanding the role that contexts (e.g., schools, neighborhoods) play in shaping human health and health behaviors; (2) examining the contribution of work-family circumstances to health and family well-being; and (3) exploring the mechanisms linking long-term exposure to disadvantage and declining health over the life course. He completed his PhD at the Pennsylvania State University in 2013 and post-doctoral training at Harvard University through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program (2013-15). He enjoys working with students who share his interests (even remotely) and welcomes the chance to discuss student-led projects related to health, demography, and quantitative methods. Below are links to current publications:
Dr. Reich’s research examines how individuals and families strategize their interactions with the state and service providers in the context of public policy, particularly as they relate to health and welfare. She is author of two award-winning books, Fixing Families: Parents, Power, and the Child Welfare System (2005) and Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines (2016), co-editor of the book, Reproduction and Society (2014), and has written 30 articles and book chapters that explore gender and inequality in child welfare, childhood vaccinations, reproduction, multiracial families, public assistance, and recovery after disaster. In addition to teaching in Sociology, Dr. Reich is a qualitative methods mentor for the Clinical Faculty Scholars Program at the CU School of Medicine. The following are some of Dr. Reich's recent publications:
Dr. Maren Scull uses qualitative methods to explore the areas of deviance, sexualities, gender, and social psychology. Specifically, she examines the ways in which deviant roles and statuses impact individuals’ self-conceptions and identities with a specific focus on those who engage in sexual deviance and/or sex work. Drawing from field work and in-depth interviews, Dr. Scull conducted research on male exotic dancers. In particular, she examined how the occupation influences dancers’ self-conceptions, the social stigmas they faced, and the ways in which their performances reinforced stereotypical gender roles. Currently, she is working on an in-depth interview study about women who are in mutually beneficial relationships (MBRs) with men that are often referred to as “sugar daddies.” In this research, she explores the reasons women enter into these relationships, the nature of the relationships, and how they influence women’s self-views. She is also involved in a project using surveys and in-depth interviews to assess the needs of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff on college campuses.
Esther Sullivan's research is focused on issues pertaining to inequality & poverty, housing & the built environment and urban governance & legal regulation. Her work combines ethnographic methods with geospatial (GIS) analysis. Her interest in poverty, inequality, and urban policy shape her research on housing insecurity and forced residential relocation. Esther is the author of Manufactured Insecurity: Mobile Home Parks and Americans' Tenuous Right to Place (2018, University of California Press, the first book of its kind to provide an in-depth investigation of the social, legal, geospatial, and market forces that intersect to create housing insecurity for an entire class of low-income residents in U.S. mobile home parks. Drawing on rich ethnographic data collected before, during, and after mobile home park closures and community-wide evictions, the book examines the current state of housing insecurity for mobile home park residents and for all those attempting to hold on to housing they can afford in contemporary urban areas.
In a current National Science Foundation funded project, Esther and colleagues at the University of Colorado Denver have joined disaster researchers at Texas A&M to produce the first comprehensive and comparative analysis of the exposure and recovery of the mobile home park housing stock of a major metropolitan area following a natural disaster (using Hurricane Harvey and the Houston metro area as a study site).
Esther has published on various issues related to low-income housing, housing informality, sustainability, community development, and urban policy. These publications and press on her work can be found on her website: esthersullivan.net
Dr. Burciaga's current research examines the experiences of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. Specifically, she uses qualitative research methods to understand how federal, state, and local laws and policies shape the educational experiences, ethnic identity development, and activism of Latino undocumented young adults in Los Angeles, CA and Atlanta, GA. she is also working on two related projects; the first examines the educational experiences of undocumented immigrant students enrolled at the University of California, and the second, examines the impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) for young adults in Colorado.
Dr. Vermilya’s research interests are in the areas of gender, symbolic interaction, animals & society, and qualitative methods. She received her PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2015. Her dissertation work was an ethnography centered on veterinary education as a site to examine a feminized profession, collective identity, and boundary work. She published on the gender work in veterinary medicine (1) and the border status of horses in equine medicine (2). She also wrote a blog by invitation for Psychology Today on the horse slaughter controversy (3), which reflects this border status. Dr. Vermilya then moved for a position at the University of North Georgia, where she was an assistant professor for four years. There she began a new research project: a content analysis of media framing of police shootings of dogs. This resulted in a publication on the frames around human-dog friendships (4), which also appeared in a special issue reprint book. Meanwhile, Gender and Professions remains a research interest of hers (5). In 2019, she returned to Colorado to be a senior instructor at the University of Colorado at Denver. She currently has a book manuscript under review with Purdue University Press for their New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond book series (6).
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
(5) Irvine, Leslie, and Jenny R. Vermilya. 2019. “Gender and Professions.” Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology.
New York: Oxford University Press.
(4) Thacker Thomas, Devon, and Jenny R. Vermilya. 2019. “Framing ‘Friend’: Media Framing of ‘Man’s Best Friend’
and the Pattern of Police Shootings of Dogs.” Social Sciences 8(4), 107:1-24.
This article also appeared in a Special Issue Reprint Book “We Are Best Friends: Animals in Society” in September 2019.
Edited by Leslie Irvine, published by MDPI Books.
(2) Vermilya, Jenny R. 2012. “Contesting Horses: Borders and Shifting Social Meanings in Veterinary Medical Education.”
Society & Animals 20(2):123-137.
(1) Irvine, Leslie, and Jenny R. Vermilya. 2010. “Gender Work in a Feminized Profession: The Case of Veterinary Medicine.”
Gender & Society 24(1):56-82.
(3) Vermilya, Jenny R. 2012. “Animals on the Borderline: The Horse Slaughterhouse Controversy.” Guest Blogger for Animals and Us:
The Psychology of Human-Animal Interactions by Hal Herzog, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animals-and-us.
Book Manuscripts Under Review
(6) Vermilya, Jenny R. Submitted 2019. “Tracking ‘Large’ or ‘Small’: The Reality of Boundaries for Veterinary Students.”
Purdue University Press.