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Alumni and Current Students Spotlight

Sophia Ugarkovich in graduation regalia

Graduating Sociologist Sophia Ugarkovich
January 11, 2021

Graduating Sociologist Sophia Ugarkovich has been selected as Boise State University Graduating Student Leader for Fall 2020 graduation. It is well deserved.

Lead Coordinating Intern, Sociology Department’s Prison Education Program

Founding Member, Alliance for Higher Education in Prison Club

Vice president of Member Experience, Alpha Gamma Delta Women’s Fraternity

“True leadership encompasses Humility and desire to work with and learn about others who possess a variety of Identities.”

We at the Sociology Department are very proud of her most excellent academic success and leadership skills.

Click here for Celebration graduating-student-leaders-celebration

“The future is bright, I was hired on to be a case manager at a local mental health counseling company where I will serve diverse populations and coordinate their treatment plans. I am in the process of applying to graduate programs to get my Master of Social Work and I hope to one day get my LCSW credential so I can work as a mental health counselor. I am so appreciative for the Boise State Sociology department and all the wonderful staff and professors who have made my time at BSU great.”

Chandra Reyna

Sociologist, Chandra Reyna graduated from Boise State University Sociology Department  with a BS in Sociology and a BA in Ethnic Studies in 2017.
She is now a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, a former McNair Scholar, and a recipient of a 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. For the next few years she will be conducting her dissertation fieldwork in the Treasure Valley. Her scholarship broadly tries to understand how macro-level social processes affect day to day micro interactions at the intersection of race, gender, and family. Her previous research examines institutional responses to social and racial justice work taking place on predominantly white college campuses. Her current projects explore racial identity and racialization in Latinx and multiracial families.

Deborah Mullner

Deborah posing with her award at the City of Boise awards ceremony
Deborah Mullner and Boise Major Bieter

Former Sociology student and IMSRLista, Deborah Mullner, received her bachelor’s degree in Multi-Ethnic Studies in the spring of 2018. Deborah received the “Boise Good Neighbor Award” September 28, 2018 from Boise Mayor David Bieter in recognizing her work and passion in organizing artists, businesses, and neighbors in beautifying and energizing Central Rim’s very own “freak alley” The four of the murals below were done by artists of the Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance under the lead of Jesse Bateman. The last Mural is being painted by Anne Moore. Opening celebration of the Freemont Murals on November 2nd. The party will be at Freemont Street behind Icon Credit Union on Orchard St. from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Sociology Department News: Our building name has changed to River Front Hall

Abraham Calderon

On behalf of the Boise State Alumni Association and the entire university, I am pleased to inform you that you have been chosen as one of the 2014 Boise State University Top Ten Scholars. This honor is bestowed annually upon ten of Boise State’s outstanding graduating students. You were selected based on your academic success, extracurricular involvement, and volunteer activities.

The Boise State Alumni Association is proud to recognize you at the upcoming awards reception on Monday, April 28, in the Jordan Ballroom in the Student Union Building.

On Saturday September 21st, sociology major Abraham Calderón presented his research entitled “Mexican Politicization: Cultivating Optimism, Fostering Community” at the 21st Annual McNair Scholars Research Conference at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in front of faculty and undergraduate researchers from around the country. Below you will find a abstract of his presentation.In the face of economic, social and political marginalization how do Mexican immigrants become politicized and sustain mobilization? What are the barriers and enabling factors that allow some to act and not others? Over the course of six weeks I conducted, translated and fully transcribed 20 in-depth 1-3 hour Spanish interviews of working-class Mexican immigrants residing in Idaho.

My findings expose the paradoxical phenomena of mobilizing words and actual inaction. Immigrants are intimately aware of the exploitative circumstances facing them and they see collective action as the only way to address community issues. Due to their particular form of economic integration, working-class immigrants are divided against each other. An “everybody for themselves” mentality extends beyond the workplace and is reinforced through prevalent liberal individualistic social values. This process leads to detachment and isolationism from community, preventing awareness and motivation from thriving.

Learning about U.S. civic institutions and their rights within instills the necessary confidence for working-class Mexican immigrants to become politicized. This specific form of education can come in a variety of ways and works as a catalyst to overcoming detachment and isolationism. I argue that dynamic and not explicitly political strategies can be used to build community. Community and social cohesion is the means through which awareness and motivation can thrive into increasing collective action and the key to sustaining politicization.

Administrative Assistant for the Sociology Department Paty Klein was selected as the 2013 Association of Classified Employees (ACE) Employee of the Year!

Makala Knutson

Makala Knutson  from Boise, is a first-generation student majoring in both sociology and psychology. As a member of the Intermountain Social Research Lab under the direction of Dr. Arthur Scarritt, Knutson conducted intensive sociological research on the experiences of students facing financial crisis. She presented this research at both the Pacific Sociological Association Conference in San Diego and at the Boise State University Research and Scholarship Conference. In 2011, she was honored with the Scheffer Sociology Endowed Scholarship and the J.T. Osborne Scholarship. She became the president of the Boise State Sociology Club a year later. That summer, under the guidance of Dr. Bonnie Kenaley of the Department of Social Work, Knutson worked with seven other students to create the first annual Healing Hearts Camp, a bereavement camp for Treasure Valley children between the ages of 6 and 11. Inspired by her experiences with these children, she independently traveled to Mbabane, Swaziland, where she did similar bereavement work at the Sandra Lee Centre, a home for 28 orphaned children. In addition to these grief workshops, she taught at the preschool, tutored elementaryage students after school and volunteered at the Mbabane Government Hospital. At home, she dedicates her time to working with at-risk youth as a youth specialist at the Hays Shelter Home. She is awaiting the final decision on a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to return to Swaziland for ten months of research at the end of this year. Honored Faculty: Dr. Arthur Scarritt, assistant professor, Department of Sociolog

Nikki A.Weihe

Nikki A.Weihe from Boise, is a McNair Scholar majoring in criminal justice and sociology. Her state-approved prison research explores possible explanations for prison violence. Weihe presented at several symposia including at the University of Washington and U.C. Berkeley, and in February 2013 presented findings at Ronald E. McNair’s alma mater, North Carolina A&T University. She has presented papers at conferences in the U.S. and Canada for Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society. She was the research assistant for sociology professor Michael Blain, and has been a teaching assistant and guest lecturer for several undergraduate classes. In addition to tutoring Boise State students in the Student Success Program, she teaches ESL classes off campus for Service Learning. She also enjoyed an extensive internship at ACLU of Idaho. For nearly 11 years, she has volunteered weekly at a women’s prison facilitating a spiritual yoga program she created. In March 2013, she received the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is leaving Idaho to earn a Ph.D. in criminology, law and justice. Honored Faculty: Dr. Andrew Giacomazzi, professor, Department of Criminal Justice

Mario Venegas

Mario Venegas, a sociology major and McNair Scholar at BSU (graduating Spring 2013), has accepted admission into the PhD program in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin beginning Fall 2013. Mario thanks the faculty at the Sociology department, his research mentor Dr. Arthur Scarritt, and everyone who helped him develop the academic and professional skills to reach this point in his journey.

Jacke’lle Knickrehm

Jacke’lle Knickrehm (Social Science, 2013) has been accepted into the MSW program at Northwest Nazarene University

Danielle Martens

Danielle Martens (Social Science B.S., 2012) has been admitted into the Master of Social Work Program at Northwest Nazarene University.

Dr. Arthur Scarritt

Dr. Arthur Scarritt’s 2013 article, “First the Revolutionary Culture Innovations in Empowered Citizenship from Evangelical Highland Peru” was published 4/3/2013 in the SAGE journals Latin American Perspectives