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University of Illinois Springfield

Department of Sociology Anthropology University of Illinois Springfield

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Faculty Focus

SOA welcomes new faculty member Megan Styles

The Sociology/Anthropology department is delighted to welcome new faculty member Megan Styles, who joins us as an Associated faculty member from Environmental Studies. Megan received her Ph.D. in Environmental Anthropology at the University of Washington in 2011. She also holds an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Megan’s research focuses on issues of sustainable development, social justice, and conservation in Africa and the United States. Her Ph.D. research investigated the social and ecological effects of cut flower (mainly rose) farming along the shores of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha. Before joining the faculty at UIS, Megan completed a teaching post-doc in the University of Washington’s Program on the Environment. She also worked as an environmental educator in high school classrooms in Knoxville, TN. Her current courses include Comparative Cultural Ecology, Sustainable Food Systems, Introduction to Sustainability, and American Environmental History. She is also working on developing a new course on Culture and Conservation. She is passionate about teaching, mentoring students, and conducting research that will lead to a more just and sustainable future.


Sociology and Anthropology major student Sam Zielke, Professor Karl McDermott and Jennifer Manthei

SOA student Sam Zielke, Professor Karl McDermott and Professor Jennifer Manthei

Mulaticity: Brazilian Girls Take on Their World. At the Fall 2013 SOA Symposium, Dr. Jennifer Manthei shared the results of her sabbatical— the explanation of her fieldwork regarding race, gender, class, and sexuality among teenagers in Brazil.

Cake for the reception after Doctor Manthei's sabbatical talk.

Cake for the reception after Doctor Manthei’s sabbatical talk.


SOA/WGS Professor Hinda Seif and her students talk about their research on Latina/o Immigrant Youth Groups

A team of UIS undergraduate students is working with Professor Hinda in anthropological research exploring immigrant youth civic engagement in Illinois. Sociology/Anthropology majors Ashundria Oliver and Justin Johnson, Criminal Justice major Jasmine Torres-Gonzalez, and several other students are working with Dr. Seif on the project, which includes interviews, observations, and analysis of web sites. The project received grant funding from the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership. The short video was produced by the UIS CSPL.


SOA welcomes new faculty member Tiffani Saunders

The Sociology/Anthropology department is delighted to welcome new faculty member Tiffani Saunders, who joins us as a full-time, continuing Instructor of Sociology. Ms. Saunders is completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at Indiana University. Ms. Saunders earned her M.A. in Sociology at Indiana University in 2006, and a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice at Bowie State University in Maryland, 2002. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of family, mental health, law and social policy, and teaching and learning. Her dissertation research draws on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the impact of family structure and biological relatedness impact interactions and sibling experiences. Other research interests include studies of stress, parenting, race/ethnicity, and incarceration. Ms. Saunders has taught in the classroom and online in sociology, statistics, and in Indiana University’s Ronald E. McNair program for development of future scholars. In the fall 2011 semester, Ms. Saunders is teaching a new course on the Sociology of the Family (SOA 480) as well as Introduction to Sociology.


SOA Professor Sharon Graf returns from her South Pacific Voyage

This August SOA welcomes Professor Sharon Graf, just back from a year-long sabbatical (2010/2011). As part of her sabbatical research, she studied Polynesian music and cultural performance, with visits to French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, New Zealand, and Fiji. Her previous ethnomusicological research has been on American music and old-time fiddling. Prof. Graf’s new scholarly exploration of the Pacific involved an exciting physical voyage — she and her husband Michael Graf sailed to Polynesia in their 42 foot yacht the Larabeck! See Larabeck.com to read about the voyage.


FACULTY FOCUS – ARCHIVES