Current Sociology Students

Megan R. Dowdell, MA

Keywords: Ethics, chronic illness, intersectionality, religion, spiritual care.

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Megan is a PhD candidate interested in the relationships among religion/spirituality, ethics and health. While in doctoral training, Megan has pursued fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist minister and brings a chaplain’s heart to her research interests in medical sociology. She serves as a visiting assistant professor at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, teaching and advising students preparing to be religious leaders and chaplains. Megan holds a BA in Society & Health from Simmons College in Boston and a MA in Ethics and Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union. Her doctoral dissertation project is a phenomenological study on the religious/spiritual experiences of women of color with congestive heart failure.

She can be contacted at megan.dowdell@ucsf.edu. Her personal website is www.meganruthdowdell.com .
 

Jhia Jackson

Keywords: youth, aging, chronic illness, communication practices, body politics

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Jhia’s research interests stem from her experiences as a professional dance artist, a commitment to life-long learning, and her personal experiences. Her work routinely addresses questions such as: How do we know what we know? How do we communicate what we know? How are we understood by others? She enjoys hands-on opportunities to work with and among the very populations that inspire her, and she looks forward to delving deeper into research and program development for these communities.

Email: jhia.jackson@ucsf.edu
Website: www.jhiajackson.com

Melanie (Mel) Jeske, MS

Keywords: Science and technology studies, biomedicalization, measurement and standardization, team science, qualitative methods

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Mel’s work studies the emergence, development, and contemporary configurations of clinical and scientific obesity research in the United States. She is interested in how measurements and standards are chosen and accepted in expert communities, why communities of researchers coalesce around particular trends, and the ways researchers from varying disciplinary training work together. Her work examines how and by whom knowledge about obesity is produced and the ways this is taken up in the media, workplace, and medical and health professional education.

email: mel.jeske@ucsf.edu

Rashon Lane

Rashon Lane

Keywords: global health, global mental health, health equity, noncommunicable diseases, mixed methods, community-clinical linkages

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Rashon is interested in the intersections of race, gender and class and how it impacts noncommunicable diseases in local and international communities. In addition, she is interested in using sociological theories and evidence based practices to better understand how stronger relationships between clinical and community health sectors can address issues of health equity and reduce health disparities. Rashon is a Behavioral Scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. She earned a B.A in Psychology from Tuskegee University and a M.A. in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. She can be contacted by e-mail at Rashon.Lane@ucsf.edu or website at rashonlane.com.

Florencia Rojo, BA

Keywords: structural violence, transgenerational trauma, race/class/gender, immigrant health, feminist theories

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Florencia Rojo is a Rosenberg-Hill Graduate Research Fellow and a doctoral candidate in sociology at UCSF. She is interested in understanding the intersections of multiple forms of violence. Her research explores transnational families’ violence experiences across generations. Florencia has worked with diverse communities in the U.S. and Latin America on community health and violence prevention/intervention initiatives. Florencia has a BA in sociology from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

Sara Rubin

Keywords: Pain, methodology, sociology of knowledge, embodiment, biomedicalization

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Sara is an Earl C. Anthony Fellow and doctoral candidate in the department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her work examines pain at the intersections of medical sociology, social studies of science, and embodiment studies. Sara is currently working on her dissertation, which explores how neuroscientific understandings of pain are produced, disseminated, and translated into clinical practice. Janet Shim chairs her dissertation committee, and Rina Bliss, Mara Buchbinder, and Victoria-Pitts Taylor are members.

Email: sara.rubin@ucsf.edu

Ulluminair Salim, MPH

Key words: Bioethics; Science, Technology, and Medicine Studies; Structural Determinants of Health; Disability Studies; Critical Theory; Qualitative Methods

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Ulluminair Salim is a Rosenberg-Hill Graduate Research Fellow and doctoral candidate in sociology at UCSF.  Ulluminair’s scholarship explores questions of whose lives matter, whose bodies count, and who decides; traversing the interstices between scientific progress and social responsibility. Her dissertation investigates the biopolitics of human enhancement and the prophesied “end of disability” with attention to markets of human rehabilitation and augmentation technologies such as bionics. At its most expansive, Ulluminair’s work examines intersections of neoliberalism, technoscience, and shifting conceptions of what it means to be human in the 21st Century. A native of the Bay Area, Ulluminair earned her BA degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and MPH degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Email: ulluminair.salim@ucsf.edu

Zoe Samudzi

Zoe Samudzi, MSc

Keywords: transgender health; structural determinants of risk; community health; black feminist & postcolonial feminisms; qualitative methods

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Zoe is interested in the ways in which intersecting & mutually reinforcing structures of race, gender, and class drive health vulnerabilities and disparities. Most recently, as project coordinator of the Sheroes Project (a study within UCSF's Center of Excellence for Transgender Health), her work has focused on the development of culturally competent HIV prevention strategies for transgender women [of color]. She received her MSc in Health, Community, and Development from the Department of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics.

Email: zoe.samudzi@ucsf.edu
Website: zoesamudzi.com

Ariana Jostad-Laswell

Ariana Thompson-Lastad, BA

Keywords: health disparities, primary care, integrative medicine, chronic illness, mixed-methods

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Ariana Jostad-Laswell is interested in mixed-methods and qualitative research focused on health inequalities, integrative medicine, chronic illness, and the impacts of stress and trauma on health. She plans to write a dissertation examining the use of group medical visits to increase vulnerable populations’ access to integrative medicine and support patient empowerment and engagement in care. Ariana is currently a research assistant with the HEALSS project at UCSF, which is studying health literacy in complex care management programs. While in school she has also worked as a research assistant on a qualitative study of Latino parents’ perspectives on young children’s sleep, and as a health educator focused on diabetes and nutrition at LifeLong Medical Care. This clinical work sparked her interest in how innovations in primary care settings can help reduce health disparities. Ariana has a BA in sociology and human rights from Bard College and before coming to UCSF did work focused on foster care prevention in Rochester, NY and neighborhood recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans. Outside of school she volunteers with Hand in Hand, an organization supporting domestic workers’ rights, and is mama to a baby born in 2014.

Meredith Van Natta, MA

Keywords: immigrant health; citizenship; biopolitics; health inequalities; science, medicine, and technology studies

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Meredith Van Natta, MA, explores how discourses of risk and citizenship shape the health of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. After completing a master’s degree at UC Berkeley, Meredith worked for three years at Operation Access, a local non-profit that provides donated surgical and specialty care to low-income, uninsured Bay Area residents. This work drew her to the sociology program at UCSF, where she continues to explore the intersecting impacts of health and immigration policies on undocumented immigrants. While at UCSF, Meredith has also been a research assistant for the HEALSS study examining health literacy in complex care management programs in the safety net. She can be contacted at Meredith.VanNatta@ucsf.edu

Lily Walkover

Lily Walkover, BA

Keywords: sociology of knowledge, science and technology studies, critical global health, qualitative methods

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Lily Walkover, BA, is interested in what counts as knowledge in the field of global health, and how different knowledges (especially those designated as lay and expert, local and global) intersect in their production and uptake. Given that knowledge and health are both inherently political in their relationship to access to resources and the ability to sustain life, how are these dynamics related to histories of colonialism and resource extraction, and current and past paradigms of development? Her current research explores these dynamics, as well as how they intersect with histories of humanitarianism. Lily has a BA in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Science in Society from Wesleyan University, where her thesis focused on the role of modeling in the scientific process. Prior to UCSF, Lily worked with an HIV-focused non-profit in India, and at Hesperian Health Guides, a public health publisher. She volunteers at the Berkeley Free Clinic.

email: lily.walkover@ucsf.edu

Rosie Winslow

Rosalie Winslow

Keywords: health disparities, patient-provider interactions, race/class/gender, technology, qualitative methods

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Rosalie is interested in health disparities in the context of biomedicalization. She specifically considers how EHR and other standardization technologies are navigated and experienced by both patients and providers in the clinical setting. She also explores the sociology of knowledge as it is produced and reproduced in medical education. Rosalie started the program after four years of work at a Brooklyn, NY hospital, where she was a patient advocate and worked in emergency medicine resident education. She earned her B.A. in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies from Bates College in Maine. She can be contacted at: rosalie.winslow@ucsf.edu

   

If you are a current student of the UCSF Sociology Doctoral program, we would love to feature your profile on this page. Please send an email to Brandee.Woleslagle@ucsf.edu that includes:

  • A picture of you : at least 200px wide
  • 5 keywords that reflect your interests/ research
  • A short paragraph describing your background, interests, current research, etc. that is 200 words or less, written in 3rd person narrative.
  • Optional – email for contact and/or your personal website