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Media and Research Guide

Media note: Our faculty and staff are available to offer expertise, commentary and analysis on social issues and public affairs in the news. Please feel free to contact our faculty if you have any questions or would like to arrange an interview. If you need additional information or assistance, please contact the Sociology Department at

Michael P. Kreiter, Ph.D
Title: Lecturer, Sociology Department at Boise State University

Areas of Expertise: Critical Race Theory, Criminology, Gender Studies, Higher Education, Sociological Communication, Popular Culture and Cultural Studies

Summary expertise on current issues: Michael Kreiter can comment on Black Lives Matter, analyze the effects that criminal justice policies and policing practices have on marginalized communities, and provide context on systemic racial and gender inequality. He can also discuss how skyrocketing tuition is affecting college students and the effect that policies regarding student debt may have.

Biography: Michael Kreiter is a university lecturer at Boise State University and a doctoral candidate at Kent State University. His dissertation focuses on the rhetoric used by various groups in sci-fi fandom as they relate to racial and gender ideologies, including the rhetoric of extremists.
Kreiter has published an article in Issues in Race and Society and a chapter in the book, “Challenging the Status Quo: Diversity, Democracy, and Equality in the 21st Century.” He is also working on publishing research on racialized differences in police-involved shootings and youth literature written for children of incarcerated parents. His current research focuses on rhetoric used in online spaces to justify social inequalities.

Jeremy M. Maxand, M.A.
Title: Adjunct Faculty, Sociology Department at Boise State University

Areas of Expertise: General Disability Studies, Disability and Emergency Management, Modern Social Movements

Summary expertise on current issues: Jeremy Maxand can comment the history of disability, the disability rights movement, the independent living movement and philosophy, the Americans with Disabilities Act, emergency management and disability, and the intersection of emergency management, public health, and disability in response to COVID-19.

Biography: Jeremy Maxand is nonprofit manager, a university instructor, and a community leader. He is the executive director of the Living Independence Network Corporation (LINC), and has taught sociology classes at Boise State University since 2008. Jeremy holds a certificate from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute, and from the Great Plains ADA Center and University of Missouri’s College of Human and Environmental Sciences, School of Architectural Studies, ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program.
Maxand has more than twenty years of nonprofit management experience, with 10 years in executive leadership, including four years an elected city and borough assembly member and mayor. Most recently, he was an emergency preparedness program specialist with the Idaho State Independent Living Council, working with local, state, and federal emergency management and public health partners to improve disaster response and recovery for people with disabilities. Previously, Maxand served as the Executive Director of the Snake River Alliance, Life’s Kitchen, and Engage Idaho/Votes Idaho, all nonprofits based in Boise.
Maxand is a strong advocate for more inclusive and accessible communities through his work as a member of the Valley Regional Transit Regional Advisory Council, the City of Boise ADA Parking Advisory Committee, the Ada County Highway District ADA Advisory Committee, and the Idaho State Independent Living Council. He is a former member of the City of Boise Open Space and Clean Water Advisory Council and the Boise Ridge to Rivers 10-Year Master Planning Committee where he advocated for accessible open space and trails. He’s a founding board member of the Idaho Access Project and currently the board secretary for Idaho Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Martin Orr, Ph.D.

Title: Professor of Sociology and Director of Labor Studies, Sociology Department at Boise State University

Areas of Expertise: Social Inequality, Labor and Unions, Politics and Media, the Environment and Sociology of Media, Social Movements

Summary expertise on current issues: Martin Orr can comment on social inequalities, especially economic inequality and workplace inequities. He can also discuss the growth of conspiracy theories in political debate and in the media. He can comment on national politics and international conflict.

Biography: Martin Orr a graduate of Eastern Washington University and the University of Oregon, and has taught at Boise State since 1994. He has served as Department Chair, President of the Faculty Senate, and is currently President of the Idaho Federation of Teachers

Rebecca L. Som Castellano, MA, PhD
Title: Associate Professor and Internship Coordinator, Sociology Department at Boise State University
Phone: 208-342-0251

Areas of expertise: Rural Sociology; Sociology of Food and Agriculture; Environmental Sociology; Stratification; Rural Community Change and Well-Being
Expertise on current issues summary: Rebecca Som Castellano can comment on a range of issues for the media, including coverage on food insecurity and gender inequality during the COVID pandemic. She can also speak to coverage on farmworker well-being and efforts to preserve farmland in the Treasure Valley.

Biography: Rebecca L. Som Castellano is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Boise State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Rural Sociology at The Ohio State University, her M.A. in Sociology from the University of Kentucky and her B.A. in interdisciplinary studies from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University. Previous research projects have included examination of the actors and interests involved in the construction and development of National School Lunch Program policy; inequalities within sustainable agriculture initiatives; food insecurity in both urban and rural contexts; and climate change adaptation. Frequently working in interdisciplinary collaborations, her current work focuses on the experiences of Latina farm workers in Southern Idaho, and land use change, including concern with the development of farmland and sagebrush steppe in Idaho. She is also currently working to develop research focused on fire, with particular attention paid to the ways in which gender shapes the experiences of wildland firefighters. For her work, she has been awarded several national awards, including a USDA National Needs Fellowship. Her research has been funded through a range of grants, including the American Sociological Association, the United States Department of Agriculture, and Mountain West CTR-IN Program for Clinical and Translational Research.

John L. Verburg, Ph.D.
Title: Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociology at Boise State University
Areas of expertise: Rural Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Community, Latin America, Urban Issues, Criminology, Aging, International Development, Public Administration, Cultural Anthropology

Expertise on current issues: Verburg can comment on a number of contemporary issues including religion in current society, criminological issues and aging problems in our society.

Biography: Verburg is retired from full-time teaching now. He holds five academic degrees, all in different subjects with enough hours for a 6th. Besides being a college professor, Verburg has been a pastor for many years and lived and worked in Central America in development work for most of his adult life. He adopted seven children in addition to three biological ones and currently lives outside a rural village in Southwest Pennsylvania in the middle of Amish country.
Verburg continues to be interested in rural issues and in the social relationships (such as Simmel’s “Sociability”) demonstrated in “mom and pop” style restaurants as well as fast-food eateries.

Carissa Wolf, M.A.
Title: Lecturer, Sociology Department at Boise State University; Co-Creator, Idaho Media Initiative at Boise State University
Follow: @CarissaWolf

Areas of Expertise: Media and Society, Media Literacy, News Organizations, Sociological Communication, Political Economy of Journalism, Disability Studies, Extremist Groups

Summary expertise on current issues: Carissa Wolf can comment on media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, analyze misinformation and disinformation related to pandemic coverage and discuss audience response to social media and news coverage. She can also discuss how the pandemic adversity affects people with disabilities and medically vulnerable populations.

Biography: Carissa Wolf is a university lecturer, journalist and writer. Her research interests and teaching focus on sociological communication and media in society.
Wolf’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Idaho Statesman and heard on National Public Radio. Her reporting included stints as a researcher for The Wall Street Journal, a public radio producer and a capital city beat reporter. She trained at Sonoma State University’s Project Censored Investigative Journalism Institute and earned dozens of journalism awards for her enterprise reports including a Livingston Award nomination for her work at The Idaho Statesman. Wolf reported for magazines and wire services as a freelance journalist and her articles and investigations regularly appeared in alternative news weeklies and national newspapers.
Wolf teaches communication, journalism, media literacy and sociology courses at Boise State University where she co-founded and directs the Idaho Media Initiative. She recently explored the history of female incarceration for the book, “Numbered,” and in her free time explores the connections between food and society for food and travel magazines and blogs. Her current research and areas of study focuses on disability, fringe religious groups and media representations.