Penn Sociology News

July 29, 2015

Ross Koppel was recently quoted in a Washington Post article that discusses the Pentagon preparing to award large contracts for electronic medical records.

Full Story

July 24, 2015

Ph.D Alum Julia Szymczak ('13) was recently featured in a Penn News article focusing on her research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on why doctors come to work sick.

Full Article

July 8, 2015

Recent Penn Sociology alum Larry Liu ('15) has been named the first Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Oxford Scholar. He will receive a scholarship to attend Oxford University's Lincoln College to pursue a Master's in Comparative Social Policy.

The complete story is featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, including comments from Larry himself.

Full Article 

June 25, 2015

Annette Lareau was recently featured and interviewed in Penn Arts & Sciences Magazine (Spring/Summer 2015 edition) to discuss the consequences of childhood inequality.

From Lareau: 

“Different parenting strategies lead to dissimilar rewards. Often, success requires child-rearing practices that are in sync with the attitudes and expectations of dominant institutions.”

For the full feature story and interview, visit the Penn Arts & Sciences website.
For the magazine in its entirety, download Penn Arts & Sciences Magazine Spring/Summer 2015

June 25, 2015

Joint Ph.D student Seher Ahmad (Sociology, Education) recently accepted the Harvard Strategic Data Project Fellowship, a program that develops data strategists for education.

For more details on the Fellowship, visit:


June 24, 2015

Camille Charles was recently quoted in a article that discusses the shifting attitudes toward racism and inequality.

Full article

June 19, 2015

Melissa Wilde and Penn Sociology Ph.D graduate Sabrina Danielsen ('14; Resident Assistant Professor, Creighton University) were recently awarded the Charles Tilly Best Article Award from the American Sociological Association's Comparative and Historical Section.  The article, "Fewer and Better Children: Race, Class, Religion and Birth Control Reform in America" was published in the May 2014 edition of the American Journal of Sociology.

Announcement (from Comparative and Historical Section newsletter)

June 17, 2015

Sociology Ph.D student Patricia Tevington recently received the Constant H. Jacquet Research Award for her project, "Too Soon to Say 'I do?': Exploring Social Class, Religion, and Family Life through Early Marriage." The award is presented by the Religious Research Association.

This dissertation project will utilize qualitative research methods to illuminate the role that religion and social class play in shaping understandings of marriage and the family.

June 15, 2015

Sociology Ph.D student Alexander Jerneck presented a lecture for the Penn Arts & Sciences "60 Second Lectures" series. The title was, "Hooked on Taxes: How Politicians Made Corporations Powerful."

Full video

June 9, 2015

Penn Sociology is excited to welcome Regina S. Baker to our faculty in Fall 2015, with an appointment as Assistant Professor of Sociology. Baker recently earned her Doctorate in Sociology from Duke University and completed a 2014-2015 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.  She was previously a Visiting Researcher at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in the Social Policy and Inequality Unit.

Regina’s research intersects the areas of poverty, social inequality, family & children, race, gender, class, work, and social policy. Her work has also been supported by the the American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program and the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. Her recent publication in Journal of Marriage and Family titled, “The Changing Importance of Marriage and Work for Child Poverty in the U.S., 1974-2010” documents that even though both marriage and work continue to protect children against poverty, their relative importance has changed over time with work becoming more salient than marriage. The findings have direct implications for policy discussions around the role of economic and family conditions in affecting child poverty. Regina is a great addition to our sociology and demography programs.

June 8, 2015

David Grazian has been elected to the Council of the American Sociological Association Section on Communications and Information Technology (CITASA) for a two-year term (2015-17).

June 1, 2015

The call for papers has been announced for the 13th Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Medicine, which will be held at Penn on  October 16th and 17th. The event is titled "Materiality Medica." Penn Sociology is a co-sponsor of this seminar.

For more information, visit:


May 29, 2015

Penn Sociology graduate Chloe Sigal ('15) was recently awarded the E. Digby Baltzell Thesis Award for her paper, "Cashing in Versus Being Dangerous: The Class Mediated Nature of Social Movement Coalition Identity." The award was presented to her during the Penn Sociology graduation luncheon in May, an event honoring all of the graduating seniors in the major.

For video of Chloe receiving the award, and the video interview that followed, see the video below: 

Congratulations Chloe!

May 22, 2015

Ross Koppel recently published an editorial (with Steve Soumerai) discussing the impact of flawed health care research on health care policies,  in US News and World Report.

Full Article

May 7, 2015

Registration is open for the Summer Session 1 course: Sociology of Gender [SOCI 122-910], which will be taught by Ph.D candidate Tugce Ellialti.  

The course will run from May 26 - July 1, 2015, and will help students "seek to understand how gender as an axis of social differentiation works in society, and to develop critical tools to analyze how society is organized around gender." This course fulfills the Cultural Diversity and Society Sector requirements.

For more information email Tugce at or click on the flyer below.

Sociology of Gender Summer Course Information

May 6, 2015

Sociology major and senior Chloe Sigal was recently awarded a 2015 Rose Undergraduate Research Award for her project, "Cashing in Versus Being Dangerous: The Class-Mediated Nature of Social Movement Coalition Identity." Chloe's project was selected by Penn's Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) and the Rose Award Faculty Selection Committee. 

May 4, 2015

Melissa Wilde has been awarded the 2015 American Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Distinguished Article Award.  The award is for her article, “Fewer and Better Children: Race, Class, Religion and Birth Control Reform in America" (with Sabrina Danielsen) which was published in the American Journal of Sociology in 2014.

May 1, 2015

Ross Koppel recently participated in a TV broadcast panel discussion on Electronic Health Records. The broadcast was produced by Politico, and the video is available on their website:

Here is a write-up on the panel from the Politico website:

ANELISTS: LIABILITY, USABILITY ISSUES WITH EHRS MUST BE SORTED OUT : Electronic health records and health IT have greatly improved care, but there are great strides to be made before the systems are highly usable, experts said at POLITICO's "Outside: In" event yesterday. The shift to EHRs have made care safer and more efficient, experts agreed. "But is it good enough? Is it as good as it should be, given the cost and effort? The answer is no, resoundingly," said Ross Koppel of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, a leading critic of the technology. Jacob Reider, chief strategy officer of health IT company Kyron and formerly of the ONC, said he doesn't disagree with Koppel, but said the industry and government have made great progress in setting standards and rules for making EHRs more usable. EHRs have improved care, but they're not perfect "in any way," said Bernadette Loftus, associate executive director of Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser docs have had the ability to fine-tune and code their EHR to their liking - something not every hospital has the ability or resources to do, Reider and Koppel pointed out. Human error and liability are major unresolved issues, but government regulators have taken an industry-friendly approach, said Koppel. Harold Thimbleby, a professor of computer science at the University of New South Wales, said the blame for EHR errors will be an ongoing debate until liability issues are sorted out."



April 22, 2015

Aliya Rao has been awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) Grant from the National Science Foundation Sociology Program for her dissertation on how families experience unemployment. The Sociology Program DDRI Grant supports "the conduct of doctoral dissertation projects undertaken by doctoral students enrolled in U.S. universities when the dissertation research is conducted in a scientifically sound manner and it offers strong potential for enhancing more general scientific knowledge."

April 2, 2015

George Bridges, who received his doctoral degree in Sociology at Penn in 1979, has been selected as the next president of The Evergreen State College (Olymipa, WA). He has been the president of Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) for the past decade.

Full Story