Scripps Gerontology Center researchers
Members of Dr. Suzanne Kunkel's research team reviewing data at the Scripps Gerontology Center. L to R: Alex Heppner, Katy Abbott, Morgan Liddic (standing), Chelsea Goldstein, and Anjali B.K.
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The Department of Sociology and Gerontology provides its students with opportunities and the expectation to be active learners fully engaged in exploring our most important societal issues, including social justice, aging, and criminology.
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Chair's Welcome
Stephen Lippman
Greetings from the third floor of Upham Hall! We are excited to share the latest news from the Department of Sociology and Gerontology at Miami.
It’s been another exciting and productive year here. Our faculty continue to produce groundbreaking research, our alumni doing amazing things, and our students are doing impressive work in and out of the classroom. Our students receive university-wide awards, including several that were awarded the Presidents Distinguished Service Award. As usual, they continue to get accepted to prestigious graduate and law schools. Our faculty are also recognized for their outstanding commitment and contributions. In just this year, Dr. Suzanne Kunkel was named University Distinguished Professor for her outstanding record as a teacher and scholar, and Dr. Janardan Subedi was named a University Distinguished Scholar.
Several exciting developments are underway in the department. In collaboration with the Farmer School of Business, we now offer a graduate certificate in Social Entrepreneurship and Aging, which is open to all and provides coursework and training for a wide variety of audiences, including entrepreneurs interested in the growing market of older adults and individuals interested in new or encore careers. We’ve also begun a new Criminology concentration in the Sociology major. The traditional sociology major and the new criminology concentration share core courses, but the upper-level courses for each specialization are unique.
We’ve also worked hard to expand opportunities for students. The Betty Kent Award continues to fund undergraduate research, and now undergraduate internships. The newly formed Ruth Hill Useem scholarship honors an early graduate of our department who went on to a career researching the role that exposure to global culture has on identity and development. The Ruth Hill Useem award provides scholarships to students studying abroad during the winter term in our SJS 399 course: Social Justice in Fiji.
In preparing this newsletter, I’ve had the chance to reflect on my time at Miami so far and all of the talented and terrific students I’ve had the privilege of working with. I’d love to hear from as many as you (and those I may not have met!) as possible. Please, drop me a note sometime and let me know what you’ve been up to. Our commitment to our students at Miami does not end when the semester is over. One of the most satisfying aspects of the work we do is seeing what our former students accomplish after they leave the friendly confines of Miami’s campus.
I hope you’ll read more about the exciting developments among faculty, students, and alumni in this newsletter, and take the opportunity to reconnect with all of them.
Stephen Lippmann
Professor and Chair
Student Spotlights: Kate Wisniewski and Abby Hermesch
Kate Wisniewski
Kate Wisniewski
Abby Hermusch
Abby Hermesch
In the spring of 2017, Social Justice Studies major Kate Wisniewski was awarded a scholarship from the department’s Betty Kent fund for a summer internship. Here, Kate describes what she learned in her internship and the valuable role the Betty Kent Fund played in making it possible.
Over the summer, Gerontology major Abigail Hermesch was selected to participate in the Miami University Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program. This prestigious program enables select Miami undergraduates to conduct research or other creative scholarly activities in close collaboration with a faculty mentor during the summer term.
Faculty Spotlight: Mark Curnutte
Mark Curnutte (BA ’84, Bishop Medal winner ’15) returned to campus in the fall of 2017 to co-teach SJS 323: Social Justice and Change with Dr. Lee Harrington. Since his graduation with a double major in Geography and English-Journalism, Mark has had a successful career as a journalist in Lafayette, Indiana; Rockford, Illinois; Raleigh, North Carolina; and since 1993 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Cincinnati Enquirer. At the Enquirer, Mark has reported on issues surrounding race, at-risk children, the Cincinnati Bengals, NFL hiring practices, as now serves as the Race and Communities Reporter at the paper. In addition, he published the award-winning A Promise in Haiti: A Reporter’s Notes of Families and Daily Lives (Vanderbilt University Press) in 2011. He has also served as the Vice President of the Urban League of Cincinnati. Here, Mark reflects on his time at Miami and his return to the classroom. Read more on our website.
Alumni Spotlights
Recently, two of our alumni started jobs as sociology professors. Dawn Carr (MGS ’05, PhD ’09) is Assistant Professor of Sociology and affiliate of the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy at Florida State University. Christopher Dennison (BA ’11) is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University at Buffalo.
Dawn Carr
Dawn Carr
Christopher Dennison
Christopher Dennison
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Oxford, OH 45056 
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