Sociology & Anthropology

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

October 2019

  • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson gave a talk based on her book Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize at the University of Kentucky (UK) on September 26, 2019. The talk was part of the UK’s Year of Equity series of events and was sponsored by the UK College of Arts and Sciences, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, and Anthropology Department.





August 2019

  • Southwestern faculty and students attended the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) Annual Meeting, August 10–13. 

    • Associate Professor of Sociology Reggie Byron gave a presentation titled “Workplace Discrimination and the Racialized Character of Organizations.” He also sat on an ASA panel of the Task Force on First-Generation and Working-Class Persons in Sociology for the second year in a row.
    • Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe and Madeline Carrola ’19 gave a presentation titled “Racialized Surveillance of Parks and Pools in a Liberal, Predominantly White Neighborhood.” 
    • Four sociology majors participated in the 2019 ASA’s Honors Program and presented their papers. Madeline Carrola ’19 and Molly McConnell ’20 presented their capstone and research-methods papers, which were the basis of their admission to the program. Samantha Pentecost 19 and Veronica Ciotti ’19 presented their capstone papers and were admitted by virtue of their second- and third-place wins in the annual Alpha Kappa Delta International Honor Society of Sociology undergraduate paper competition.
    • In addition, Savannah Scott  ’19 received the ASA Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2019 Joe Feagin Distinguished Undergraduate Student Paper Award for her capstone project, “Medically Policing Black Female Bodies: Black Women’s Experiences with Birth Control in Austin, Texas.”




June 2019

  • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson  gave two invited talks on her book Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize . The first was given to a group of graduate students from the University of South Florida and members of the community of Placencia, at the Placencia Community Center in Belize on June 12; the second was given to one of the communities that the book is about, Crooked Tree Village, at the Crooked Tree Museum and Cultural Center on June 22. The American Association of Geographers Review of Books  shared the first review of the book, available here .





  • Associate Professor of Sociology Reggie Byron gave a presentation titled “The Uneven Effects of Legal Representation on Employment Discrimination Charge Outcomes” on June 1 at the Annual Meetings of the Law and Society Association in Washington, DC.





May 2019

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology Brenda Sendejo collaborated with University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Mexican American Studies on the “Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Activism and Feminism in the Movement Era” panel presentation at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin. Sendejo was among the contributors to the anthology who presented at that event, made possible by a recent grant from the Summerlee Foundation to the Latina History Project (LHP), which Sendejo directs. Sendejo was also invited to present on her research at the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley campuses in Brownsville and McAllen and at the The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, which was cosponsored by Trinity University and the University of Texas–San Antonio. The recent Summerlee grant will allow Sendejo to continue the work of the LHP, documenting Chicana/Latina activism and feminism in Texas since the movement era and incorporating this research into the development and implementation of  inclusive pedagogies and methodologies. Forthcoming activities include a collaboration between Sendejo’s classes and those of Dr. Norma Cantú at Trinity University and research with SU students on the history of Chicana feminism and activism in San Antonio and Central Texas since the 1960s.





April 2019

  • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson  was interviewed by Dr. Alejandra Bronfman about her new book Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize  for the New Books Network’s podcast series. The interview was posted on April 26, 2019, in their Caribbean Studies section.





  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Sociology Luis Romero and  Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Feminist Studies Sequoia Maner were invited to be featured speakers at the University of Texas at Austin. Sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts under a grant provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Romero and Maner presented “Professional-Life Experiences and Postgrad Transitions” to underrepresented graduate students of color. They discussed a variety of aspects concerning the management of career and personal development in graduate school, including pedagogical approaches to studying race, gender, and class in the classroom; navigating microaggressions from students, colleagues, and administration; and juggling home and work lives. Romero and Maner also talked about how to prepare for the job market as an emerging scholar, how to maximize  professional conference opportunities, and how to position oneself for tenure-track positions.





  • Sociology majors Samantha Pentecost ’19 and Veronica Ciotti ’19 were awarded Best Paper awards for their capstone projects by Alpha Kappa Delta, sociology’s national honors society. Pentecost’s paper, “Gendering the Boy Scouts: Examining Hegemonic Masculinity at a Coed Backpacking Camp,” was selected as the second-place winner, and Ciotti’s paper, “The Classroom Is Sacred: Academic Masculinity as a Response to the Campus Carry Law in Texas,” was selected as the third-place winner. Both capstone papers were written under the direction of Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe.





  • Sociology majors Zac White ’20 and Hannah Bills ’20 were selected as two of the eight students participating in the 2019 Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates Program focusing on research in race, ethnicity, and the demography of U.S. families at the University of Texas at Austin’s Population Research Center. White and Bills were assisted by Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe and Associate Professor of Sociology Reggie Byron.





  • Sociology majors Madeline Carrola ’19 and Molly McConnell ’20 were accepted into the 2019 American Sociological Association’s Honors Program. Carrola was admitted based on her capstone paper, “Performing the Handmaid’s Tale: The Use of Dystopian Literature at Political Protests,” which was written under the direction of Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe. McConnell was admitted based on her research methods paper, “Skin Tone, Colorism, and Colorblind Racism in the Age of Trump,” which was written under the direction of Associate Professor of Sociology Reggie Byron.





  • Professor of Sociology Maria Lowe, Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow Luis Romero,and seven sociology majors attended the annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society in Atlanta, GA, April 10–13.

    • Lowe and Madeline Carrola ’19 presented “Outsiders Within: The Effects of Online and in-Person Surveillance on Residents of Color in a Predominantly White Neighborhood.” This research is funded by a Southwestern  Faculty–Student Project Award and a Sam Taylor Award.
    • Romero presented “‘Paying the ‘Detention Bill’: The Economics and Hidden Costs of Immigrant Detention for Families.”
    • Carrola also presented “The Handmaid’s Tale and Performance Activism.”
    • Veronica Ciotti  ’19 presented “‘The Classroom is Sacred:’ The Perceived Effects of Campus Carry among Texas Male Faculty Members.”
    • Carmen Hernandez  ’19 presented “How a Piece of Paper Defines One’s Experience in the U.S.: The Experiences of Documented Siblings of DACA Recipients.”
    • Samantha Pentecost  ’19 presented “Girls in the Boy Scouts: Exploring Dilemmas of Gender-Integrated Spaces and Hybrid Masculinity at a Coed Backpacking Camp.”
    • Brielle Read  ’20 presented “Letting the Teachers Speak: Teachers’ Perspectives on the Special Education Identification Process in Public Texas Elementary Schools.”
    • Savannah Scott  ’19 presented “Medically Policing Black Female Bodies: Black Women’s Experiences with Birth Control.”
    • Marta Zuzeviciute  ’19 presented “‘Why Can’t I Be Both?’: Experiences of Having an Arabic Ethnic Identity in French Society.”




  • Professor of Sociology Sandi Nenga delivered two presentations at the Pacific Sociological Association meetings in Oakland, CA. The first was “Doctor Who in the Gender Classroom” and was part of a panel titled  “What is this Lady Doctor Doing in MY TARDIS? Gender and the Regeneration of Doctor Who.” The second presentation was titled “Ten Respeto and Being Respectful: Shifting Meanings of Respect in a College Readiness Program for First-Generation Latinx Students.”





  • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson  presented an overview of her book Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize  at the Second Belize National Research Conference in Belmopan, Belize, on April 3.





January 2019

  • Associate Professor of Sociology Reggie Byron had a peer-reviewed article titled “Bureaucracy, Discrimination, and the Racialized Character of Organizational Life” accepted for publication in Research in the Sociology of Organizations with Vincent Roscigno at The Ohio State University. The paper will appear in the forthcoming volume on Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process.





  • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson’s article “Gender, Race and Ecotourism Assemblages in Rural Creole Belize” has been published as part of a special section (“Gendered Environments: Ecotourism, Space and Politics in Latin America,” eds. Eveline Durr and Saskia Walther) of the Bulletin of Latin American Research in the Journal of the Society for Latin American Studies.





December 2018

  • Eleven Southwestern University faculty members have won Sam Taylor Fellowship grants to support their research, with award amounts ranging from $1,000 to $1,600. Sam Taylor Fellowships are selected through a competitive application process and are provided by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. This year’s recipients are

    • Professor of Physics Steven Alexander, “Generating Energy from Hot Sidewalks” (awarded $1,200)
    • Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala, “The Politics of Stealth Halal: Re-Presenting the Islamic Origins of U.S. Meat Products” (awarded $1,600)
    • Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth , “Nature Education in the German Classroom: Possibilities for Integration and Inclusion?” (awarded $1,400)
    • Professor of Biology Romi Burks, “Unravelling the Mystery: Genetic Differentiation of Chinese and Japanese Mysterysnails Using 16S” (awarded $1,400)
    • Assistant Professor of History Jethro Hernandez Berrones, “With Indigenist Spirit: Doctors on Spiritual Practices in Post-Revolutionary Mexico” (awarded $1,500)
    • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson, “Human–Jaguar Becomings and Racial Capitalism in Belize” (awarded $1,000)
    • Associate Professor of French Francis Mathieu, “Research on Claire de Duras’s Avant-Garde Novella, Ourika” (awarded $1,400)
    • Associate Professor of French Aaron Prevots, “Gestures toward the Sacred: Guillevic, Vargaftig, Tellermann, Michel” (awarded $1,400)
    • Associate Professor of Communication Studies Valerie Renegar, “Contemporary Modes of Parenting: Disrupting the Representation of Stepmothers in Popular Culture” (awarded $1,500)
    • Associate Professor of Spanish Maria De Los Angeles Rodriguez Cadena, “Cultural Memory and Historical Fiction: Women of the Past on Television and Film by Four Contemporary Mexican Women Directors” (awarded $1,400)
    • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor, “Researching Attachments to American Political Institutions” (awarded $1,600)