Faculty Focus

Professor Saunders was recognized as Star Staff/Faculty at the 2018 Good as Gold awards.
Professor Saunders was recognized as Star Staff/Faculty at the 2018 Good as Gold awards.

SOA faculty member Tiffani Saunders received that Star Staff / Faculty award at the 10th Annual Good as Gold Volunteer Awards Ceremony, April 23, 2018

Tiffani Saunders was honored by the Good as Gold program for her distinguished record of service at UIS (where, among other service activities, she advises five student groups) and for her regular volunteer activities for organizations including Ronald McDonald House, Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, Make-A-Wish, and Girls on the Run.  Congratulations to Professor Saunders!


Dr. Graf with members of a panel on humanistic anthropology, 2017 AAA, Washington D.C.
Dr. Graf with members of a panel on humanistic anthropology, 2017 AAA, Washington D.C.

SOA Faculty presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington D.C., Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, 2017 

SOA faculty members Sharon Graf and Lynn Fisher presented papers at the annual AAA meeting. Dr. Graf discussed her new research on tourism and cultural performance in Polynesia, and Dr. Fisher spoke as part of a panel on teaching about “race” in the anthropology curriculum.




SOA Faculty on Discussion Panel for Justin Simeon’s “Dear White People” on February 25, 2015
SOA faculty members Hinda Seif and Shoon Lio were invited to be on a panel with Deanie Brown, Vice Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity and Kerry Poynter, Interim Director of the UIS Diversity Center to discuss the issues raised by the movie “Dear White People.”  Dr. Seif and Dr. Lio shared their expertise on race, culture and intersectionality in the panel discussion.


SOA’s Second Annual Fall Colloquium on Nov. 5, 2014 featured associated faculty member Dr. Megan Styles

Dr. Megan Styles, Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies, Dr. Megan Stylespresented “A Rose by Any Other Name”: Conducting Ethnographic Research on Kenyan Flower Farms.” Dr. Styles is an anthropologist with interests in sustainability and environmental justice in Africa and the U.S.  In her PhD research, she investigated rose production for foreign markets in Kenya, exploring social and ecological effects in the Lake Naivasha area. To read more about Dr. Styles, see https://www.uis.edu/environmentalstudies/faculty/.

SOA students listening to Dr. Styles' presentation.
SOA students listening to Dr. Styles’ presentation.










College Music Society 2014 Annual Meeting:CMS_PAnelN1983

Professors Sharon Graf, Tiffani Saunders,Yona Stamatis and Shoon Lio did a panel presentation on the integration of music in the team-teaching of Capital Scholars Honor courses.
Professors Sharon Graf and Tiffani Saunders

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, SustainableFood 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, discussing her fieldwork on 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.