Graduate Students

Grad students with name tags on smile for the camera outside in front of some trees

PhD Students in Sociology

Thomas Bertorelli
Thomas Bertorelli
Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience), Bachelor of Arts (Music), Muhlenberg College
Master of Arts (Social Science), University of Chicago

Thomas' general research interests include science, technology, culture, health, and the environment. His previous work focused on psychiatric attitudes towards the promise of neuroimaging in clinical practice. He is currently working on a project that examines how biotechnology is (or is not) being integrated into forest conservation and restoration efforts.

Kaitie Chakoian-Lifvergren
Lauren Crosser
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology), UC Santa Barbara
Master of Education, UC Santa Cruz

Since graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in sociology, Lauren has worked in multiple educational settings, including teaching drawing and painting at an art school for children, working as a para-educator for students with Autism and ADHD, and volunteering in various public school classrooms. She eventually obtained her Social Science teaching credential and Master of Arts in Education at UC Santa Cruz, and taught in History and English in public schools for two years. Informed by her work with students and their families, Lauren is interested in gender, race, and capitalism, and is interested more specifically in the history and comparative study of care work, dispossession of common resources, the family, and reproductive labor under neoliberalism

Sanchita Dasgupta
Sanchita Dasgupta
PhD Student
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Sociology), St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, India
MBA (Communications), MICA, Ahmedabad, India
Masters of Arts (Social Sciences), University of Chicago

Before pursuing a career in academia, Sanchita worked in Indian advertising as a strategic planner for five years. Primarily a qualitative methodologist, her research interests revolve around gender, race, social movements and caste dynamics in South Asia. In particular, she is interested in the field of critical caste studies and draws theoretical inspiration from whiteness studies.

Korey Erb
Korey Erb
Bachelor of Science (Chemistry and Environmental Science), The College of William and Mary
Master of Arts (Social Science), University of Chicago

Korey's interests include sustainability, development, consumption, culture, qualitative coding and mixed methods. His previous work looked at sustainable development efforts in Sikkim, India, to further explore how actors in the region navigate the complex intersection of economic growth and the environment.

Zachary Fox
Zachary Fox
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Film) School of Visual Arts
Master of Science (Sociology) Southern Connecticut State University

Zachary's thesis work was on media framing of Antifa. In a content analysis of top U.S. newspapers, Zachary found that reports of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the Unite the Right rally in 2017 played a major role in the framing of counter-protesters as members of Antifa absent any self-identification as such. In other words, publications were effectively creating their own Antifa. Zachary's research interests include media framing, societal unrest, social movements, social theory, and mechanisms of social change.

Rachel Guaderrama
Rachel Guaderrama

Prior to attending Brandeis, Rachel worked in northern Thailand with an NGO advocating for the release of political prisoners in Burma. Her research interests include cultural sociology, race/ethnicity, gender relations, and sexuality, particularly in Southeast and East Asia.

Sarah J.Halford
Sarah J. Halford
PhD Student

Master of Arts (Sociology), Brandeis University
Master of Arts (Individualized Study), New York University
Bachelor of Arts (Liberal Arts), New School University

Sarah's research interests include social movements, media, and culture. Prior to arriving at Brandeis, she worked closely with the Center for Artistic Activism as a research fellow and has completed research projects for the British Council and the Urban Democracy Lab. Her current research focuses on anti-5G resistance groups, with special attention to the relationships between narratives, group identity, and personal influence.

Jing Huang
Jing Huang
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Journalism), Muskingum University
Master of Arts (Museum Studies with a concentration in Art History), The George Washington University

Jing's general research interests include sociology of art and culture, sociology of education, inequality, globalization, and nationalism, particularly cultural nationalism and postcolonial nationalism.

Samantha Leonard
Samantha Leonard
Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology and Sociology, minor in Hispanic Studies), Vassar College
Master of Arts (Sociology and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Brandeis University

Sam's dissertation research explores work and activism to prevent intimate partner violence in Boston, U.S.A. and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She uses qualitative and archival methods in the dissertation and her other research projects, and she is particularly invested in collaborative endeavors. In her dissertation, she explores the temporality of IPV to understand the challenges and opportunities it creates for individual and collective actors in these fields of action as they define the problem, their action, and their narratives of the future.

Sam has long been interested in the meanings that we make of experiences of violence and how we respond to intimate and collective violences. Recently, as a research associate with the Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resistance, and Resilience project, directed by Dr. Karen Hansen and Dr. Nazli Kibria, she's developed this interest by focusing on the exponential and enduring impact of turning point moments on individuals’ lives as they create meaning from their experiences of joy, grief, and social inequalities. Before coming to Brandeis, Sam served with the Peace Corps in Grenada, where she worked in youth and community development.

Lijun Lin
Lijun Lin
Bachelor of Art (Religious Studies, Minor in Economics), Wuhan University
Master of Art (Religious Studies), Renmin University of China

Lijun's research interests include religion, transnational migration, China and Chinese diaspora, gender and family. Her previous work focused on Christianity among Chinese immigrants in Italy. Before coming to Brandeis, Lijun was a visiting researcher at Boston University for one semester, and worked as a Chinese language teacher at the University of Bologna for four years

Ann Ward
Ann Ward
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology, minor in Community Development), Siena College
Master of Arts (Sociology), Brandeis University

Ann's interests include environmental sociology, social movements, community and urban sociology, community based research, and qualitative methods. Prior to attending Brandeis, Ann spent four years as an AmeriCorps member through the Bonner Service Leaders Program. Her current research focuses on the environmental movement with particular attention to the relationships between collective action, narrative, emotion, and climate change. 

Manning Zhang
Manning Zhang
Bachelor of Laws (Sociology), Fudan University
Minor in French, Shanghai International Studies University

Manning's interests include culture, creative arts, media, technology, health, migration and urbanization. Her previous work looked at the opinions on land conversion among different generations of farmers during the urbanization of a village in East China. She is currently working on a collaborative project that examines the social process behind individual eating disorders.

PhD Students in Sociology and Heller School for Social Policy

Kaitie Chakoian-Lifvergren
Snehalatha Gantla
Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and English), University of Illinois
Masters of Public Policy, Oregon State University

Sneha is from all over the map, with the US being her second country of residence and Boston being her fifth home in a decade. For her doctoral work, she is interested in looking at how/what social, symbolic, and physical boundaries intersect in the concept of citizenship.

Jennifer LaFleur
Jennifer LaFleur
PhD Student

BA, African/African American studies and educational studies (Carleton College) and EdM, education policy (Harvard University). Jenny's research seeks to apply critical geography to analyses of social problems and social policy, and considers how the spatial distribution of social and economic resources shapes opportunities for historically underserved groups. Additionally, she is interested in how market fundamentalist policy interacts with economic and racial residential segregation to shape outcomes for children and families. Her current and recent research examines how: private school vouchers impact educational opportunity for low income students and students of color; residential segregation influences children's exposure to disease and chronic health conditions; the parents of Black and Latinx students view inter-district school desegregation programs; and the impact of neighborhood contexts and resources on outcomes for public school students with disabilities.</>

MA Students in Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies Program

Thelma Wang
Thelma Wang
Bachelor of Arts, Zhejiang University

Generally, my areas of interest are gender and sexuality, social movements, body and embodiment, medical sociology, and culture. As an aspiring scholar/activist, I attempt to analyze the power dynamics and forms of inequality within the movement. In my recent study, I examined how "queerness" functions as a mechanism of exclusion in China's LGBTQ activism. I'm currently working on two projects, one takes an organizational approach to study East China's male sex work industry, and the other focuses on the emergent field of transgender medicine in China.

Visiting PhD Scholar

Hadiza Hassan
Hadiza Hassan
Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology and the African Studies Diaspora Cluster

Hadiza Hassan is a Visiting Scholar and Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Sociology and the African Diaspora Studies Cluster at Brandeis University.  She is currently pursuing a PhD in medical sociology at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria. Her dissertation focuses on the causes and consequences of adolescent childbearing in northern Nigeria, a region with high rates of maternal and infant mortality. Hadiza has conducted extensive survey and ethnographic research on gender, health, education, violence, and political participation with national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Nigeria. She collaborates with UNICEF’s Girls for Girls Initiative to promote girls’ education in rural northern Nigeria, and is also a facilitator for the British Council’s Active Citizens chapter at Bayero University.  During her Fulbright Fellowship at Brandeis University (March to November 2021), Hadiza will be analyzing data from interviews conducted with adolescent mothers and their families, health workers, government health officials, and NGOs.