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Doctoral Placement

Doctoral Placement

The Sociology Department has a strong record of placing students who graduate from our doctoral program. Since 2000, 55 students have earned Ph.D.s from our program, and they are now employed all over the country, mostly in academic positions. For example, 36 of those who graduated are in teaching positions in higher education, and 13 hold researcher/administrator positions. Six recent graduates have held post-postdoctoral fellowships after graduation.

Recent Graduates

Ophra Leyser-Whalen, March 3, 2009: “Choosing” Parenthood through Fertility Treatments: The Importance of Biological Children and the Difficult Roads in Their Pursuits
Associate Professor, University of Texas at El Paso, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Shelly Koch, April 10, 2009: Shopping is Work: An Institutional Ethnography of Food Shopping
Associate Professor, Emory & Henry College, Department of Sociology

Ayako Mizumura, April 28, 2009: Reversing the Orientalist Gaze: Feminist Approaches to Japanese - U.S. GI’s Intimacy in Post World War II Japan and Contemporary Okinawa
Assistant Director, University of Kansas, Center for East Asian Studies

Loralie Wiebold, Dec. 2, 2009: Safeguarding the Heartland: County Government and Community Survival in the Era of Globalization
Visiting Assistant Professor, Eureka College, Department of Sociology

Melissa Freiburger, April 23, 2010: Mothers as Children's 'First and Best Teachers': An Institutional Ethnography
Director of Programs, Sunrise Project, Lawrence, KS

Elizabeth Legerski, May 7, 2010: Hierarchies of Risk: The Longitudinal Dynamics of Family, Work, Welfare, and Health Insurance in Low-Income Women's Lives
Associate Professor, University of North Dakota, Department of Sociology

Jason Capps, July 28, 2010: Collateral Damage in Iraq and Capital Punishment in the U.S.: How the Public Makes Sense of Extreme Violence and Death
Customer Success Specialist, Crelate Talent

Tori Barnes-Brus, Sept. 23, 2010: Responsible Mothers and Well Born Children: Social Authorities and the Discourses of Nineteenth Century Pregnancy
Associate Professor, Cornell College, Department of Sociology

Evelyn Clark Benavides, Oct. 19, 2010: Victims of Time, Warriors for Change: Chilean Women in a Global, Neoliberal Society
Associate Professor, SUNY Oswego, Department of Sociology

Brian Zirkle, April 7, 2011: Working Temp: How Temporary Employees Find Meaning through Life Course Narratives
Associate Professor, Johnson County Community College, Department of Sociology

Stephanie Decker, August 31, 2012: A Sociology of Public Confessions
Associate Professor, SUNY Cortland, Department of Sociology

Robert Hughes, April 18, 2014: Politics of Ethnic Diversity and Ethnic Rebellion: The Escalation of Ethnic Tensions from 1946 to 2005
Senior IT Manager, Analytic Data Integration Section, Washington State Dept. of Social & Health Services

Lisa-Marie Wright, April 18, 2014: Voices of Empowerment: The Role of Kansas City Based NGOs on Immigrant Women’s Experiences of Empowerment
Assistant Teaching Professor, Univesity of Kansas, Department of Sociology

Carrie Wendel-Hummell, April 28, 2015: Journey to Parenthood: How New Fathers and Mothers Make Sense of Perinatal Emotional Distress
Project Manager, Univeristy of Kansas, School of Social Welfare

KuoRay Mao, July 29, 2015: When the Wells Ran Dry: A Treadmill Analysis of Political Capitalism and Environmental Degradation in the Minqin Oasis
Assistant Professor, Colorado State University, Department of Sociology

Christy Craig, Aug. 28, 2015: Reading Between the Lines: Social, Cultural, and Erotic Capital in American and Irish Women's Book Clubs
Assistant Professor, Fort Hays State University, Department of Sociology

Aislinn Addington, Oct. 21, 2015: Drawing Lines and Taking Sides: An Examination of Boundary Work among Oppositional Worldviews
Director, Western Oregon University, Abby's House, Center for Equity and Gender Justice

Jane Webb, Nov. 12, 2015: From Amazon Warriors to Hobbits: Heightism and the Cultural “Staturization” of Identities, Gender, and Sexuality
Therapist, Operation Breakthrough

Nicole Perry, Dec. 4, 2015: Diseased Bodies and Ruined Reputations: Venereal Disease and the Construction of Women's Respectability in Early 20th Century Kansas
Assistant Director for Faculty Initiatives, University of Kansas, Center for Undergraduate Research

James Ordner, Dec. 7, 2015: Grassroots Resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline in Nebraska
Lecturer, Humboldt State University, Department of Sociology

Pooya Naderi, April 6, 2016: Gender, Martyrdom, and the Management of Stigmatized Identities among Devout Muslims in the U.S.
Assistant Professor, Park Unviersity, Social Psychology

Emily Kennedy, May 4, 2016: Digital Desire: Commercial, Moral, and Political Economies of Sex Work and the Internet
Criminal Justice Data Analyst, City of Lawrence

Kyle Chapman, July 14, 2016: Determining Diabetes: The Role of Educational Attainment and Race/Ethnicity in the Link Between Health Behaviors and Diabetes
Assistant Professor, Oregon Institute of Technology, Sociology & Population Health Management

Kevin McCannon, Sept. 30, 2016: Challenges of Health Care Devolution: Problems of Legitimacy, Consumer Knowledge, and Work Transfer in Kansas Medicaid
Lecturer & Academic Program Associate, University of Kansas, Department of Sociology

Brock Ternes, Nov. 28, 2016: Sustainable Practices in the High Plains: A Study of Water Conservation Efforts and Well Ownership
Visting Assistant Professor, SUNY Cortland, Department of Sociology

Rachel Craft, Dec. 2, 2016: Making the Choice to Use Herbs: Pathways to the Practice of Herbalism
Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Missouri St. Louis, Gerontology Program

Jorge Thieroldt Llanos, June 9, 2017: The Local Dimension of Transnational Activity in Environmental Conflicts: Tambogrande, 1961-2004
Docente, Univresidad de Lima, Communication Studies

Anna Kern, July 2, 2018: Gender and the Green Economy

Natalie Jansen, November 30, 2018: Women’s Hypertension in Indonesia: The Role of Religion, Trust, and Community Involvement 
Medical school student, University of Illinois at Chicago

Andrea Gómez Cervantes, April 4, 2019: Inflexible Illegality: Immigration and Integration Processes of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Latina/o Immigrants in the Midwest
President's Postoctoral Fellow, University of California Los Angeles, Department of Chicana & Chicano Studies

Lukas Szrot, April 26, 2019: America versus the Environment? Humanity, Nature, and the Sacred 1973-2014
Assistant Professor, Bemidji State University, Department of Sociology & Communication Studies

Daniel Alvord, June 13, 2019: Reversal of the Kansas Tax "Experiment": The Social Limits of Supply-Side
Lecturer, University of Kansas, Department of Sociology

Hanhao Wang, December 13, 2019: Producing for what? GDP and Well-being in China's Economic Policies

Jacob Lipsman, April 8, 2020: Investigating Structural Barriers to Community Participation: A Political Ecology Analysis of Risk Reduction in Coastal Louisiana
Impact Analyst, LifeCity

Byeongdon Oh, April 17, 2020: Is College Still the Great Equalizer? Three Essays on Social Stratification among College Graduates in the Twenty-first Century
Postdoctoral Fellow, Portland State University, Department of Sociology

Following are a few comments from some of our previous students:

Elizabeth M. Legerski

Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Dakota
Dissertation title: Hierarchies of Risk: The Longitudinal Dynamics of Family, Work, Welfare and Health Insurance in Low-Income Women's Lives
Chair/Advisor: Mary Zimmerman

"Individual initiative is not enough to succeed in graduate school – a student must also have access to supportive colleagues, mentors, and programs that can help guide them through the degree process. I found the graduate seminars offered through the Sociology Department and graduate school to be rigorous, engaging, and rewarding, which allowed me to feel confident that I was well prepared. In addition, I also benefited greatly from close mentoring and opportunities for teaching, research, and networking. The faculty in the Department are respected and well-connected in their fields of study, and are eager to find opportunities for their graduate students to contribute to and participate in local, regional, and national academic communities. I found the graduate students to also be supportive of each other and am grateful for the friendships (across cohorts) that helped me at each stage of the degree process. Graduate work – like any professional training – can be long and difficult at times, but a supportive and positive environment can help make the process more exciting and enjoyable. It has been my experience that the Sociology Department and graduate students at KU are sincerely committed to graduate student success. I’m proud to call myself a Jayhawk."

Jason S. Capps

Core Lecturer in the Anthropology, Sociology, & Social Work Department at Seattle University, Seattle, WA
Dissertation title: Collateral Damage in Iraq and Capital Punishment in the U.S.: How the Public Makes Sense of Extreme Violence and Death
Chair/Advisor: David Smith

“The Kansas Sociology Department has a long history and reputation of being a place that does an exceptional job of grooming young scholars to be productive, provocative, intellectually curious sociologists.  I am thrilled to be a product of the Kansas Sociology program.  One clear strength of the program is the ability for students to work closely with mentors to actively develop the skills necessary to work as a professional in the field of sociology.  Students are allowed the flexibility to conduct research on the topic of their choice while receiving effective and detailed feedback during the entire PhD process (from PhD qualifying exams to finished dissertation).  Professors at Kansas take the time to carefully and honestly review student work, focusing squarely on areas of improvement in a humane and comprehensive manner. Further, Kansas Sociology stresses the mentor/apprentice model of graduate work that seems to be missing from many departments in the United States.  I can envision working in a collaborative fashion, for years to come, with several of my professors at Kansas.  As a result of the relationships I have with Kansas Sociology I am motivated to come to the Midwest Sociological Meetings every few years even though I now live on the West Coast.  What is more, the student culture at Kansas is very positive.  In my experience, the vast majority of the students were supportive of each other and truly wanted to see people do well and to represent Kansas Sociology in a positive way.”

Sara F. Collas

Adjunct Faculty in the Social Sciences Department at Edgewood College, Madison, WI
Dissertation title: Conflict and Community in a Lesbian Feminist Space: An Autoethnography of Workerville at the 2001 and 2002 Michigan Womyn's Music Festival
Chair/Advisor: Joane Nagel

“In pursuing my PhD I found my dissertation advisor and my dissertation committee excellent guides. Their recommendations and feedback led me to work out the questions which I confronted. As a result of my studies at the University of Kansas I am prepared to teach and further my research in the field.”

Robert Futrell

Chair and Professor of Sociology at University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Dissertation title: Struggling for Democracy: Environmental Politics of Chemical Weapons Disposal
Chair/Advisor: Jack Weller

“I began the graduate program in KU Sociology as an MA student with the goal of earning a PhD and becoming a professor. But frankly, I had little idea of exactly how to do it or what it would take. From the first semester on I was thoroughly socialized both academically and professionally. The program provided a deep grounding in social theory while strongly emphasizing its use for empirical research. Faculty were generous with their time for students while providing us a great deal of autonomy and support to carve out our own path of study and research. We were encouraged to be active in the discipline and given the insights needed to “play the game,” so to speak. I now find myself trying to do all of the same for my own graduate students.”

Mary E. Kelly

Associate Professor of Sociology at Central Missouri State University
Dissertation title: Born Again Lithuanians
Chair/Advisor: Joane Nagel

“My graduate experience at KU was, on the whole, a positive one. I found the faculty, especially at the dissertation stage, to be committed to my becoming a professional sociologist. Sometimes this meant telling me things I didn't want to hear- but I was the better for it. The graduate student relationships were in some ways equally important. Getting together socially and complaining about teaching, faculty, and dissertating helped us all. My experience on MARS (now Social Thought and Research) and Research on Aging was also an important introduction to the publication process.”

Dan Krier

Assistant Professor of Sociology at Iowa State University
Dissertation title: Speculative Management: Corporate Restructuring and the American Stock Market, 1984 - 1997
Chair/Advisor: Jack Weller

“Kansas Sociology has a distinctive identity in the world of academic sociology. The program tends to attract students who care about real-world social problems and the faculty demonstrate by example how to use social theory, history and methodological creativity to dive down deep into our society in the search for solutions to them. At KU, students will find faculty who sincerely care about their development and who exert remarkable energy to make courses not just rigorous but meaningful. Other departments might provide efficient, tightly-contained degree programs, but few offer students a better opportunity to develop into self-directed, socially-engaged scholars.”

William J. Swart

Professor of Sociology at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Dissertation title: A Terrible Beauty is Born: The Framing of Nationalism in Irish Politics, 1790-1994
Chair/Advisor: Joane Nagel

“One of the many benefits of the graduate Sociology program at KU is its’ unique focus on individual intellectual development. Rather than being stifled by pre-approved reading lists and preliminary examinations, I was given the freedom to organize a literature and explore questions that interested me the most. The graduate faculty served as partners in this process; their mentoring encouraged me to take ownership of the discipline as an individual scholar rather than force-fit my interests to a standardized programmatic agenda. I have fond memories of my graduate experience in sociology at KU – it was excellent preparation for my career in academic sociology.”

Recent placements include:


  • Augustana College
  • Bemidji State University
  • Bradley University
  • Cameron University
  • Central Missouri State University
  • Colorado State University
  • Fort Hays State University
  • Georgia State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Iowa State University
  • James Madison University
  • Johnson County Community College
  • Kansas City Art Institute
  • Kansas City Kansas Community College
  • Universidad de Lima
  • University of Louisiana Lafayette
  • University of Minnesota- Rochester
  • University of Nevada-Las Vegas
  • New Mexico State University-Las Cruces
  • University of North Dakota
  • Ohio University-Eastern Campus
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Oregeon Institute of Technology
  • Park University
  • State University of New York-Cortland
  • State University of New York-Geneseo
  • State University of New York-Oswego
  • University of Texas-El Paso
  • Tulane University
  • University of Wisconsin, Baraboo

Post-Doctoral Fellowships

  • Portland State University
  • University of Califoria Los Angeles
  • Mayo Clinic
  • National Institute of Health at University of Texas-Medical Branch
  • Sheps Center for Health Care Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • RORC, Kansas City VA Medical Center
  • Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Researcher/Administrator Positions

  • Director of Extension-Placed Based Economic Development Initiative, University of Missouri Columbia
  • Project Coordinator, Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas
  • Project Manager, School of Social Welfare, University of Kansas
  • New Mexico Department of Education
  • Senior Statistical Analyst, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Graduate Student Kudos

Congrats to PhD student Darcy Sullivan on winning the National Council on Family Relationships, Families & Health Section, Outstanding Student and New Professional Poster Award!

PhD candidate Matt Comi has a new article in Journal of Rural Studies!

PhD students Andrew Taeho Kim, Scott Tuttle, and Yurong Zhang's article on COVID-19, co-written with Dr. ChangHwan Kim, is available online from Research in Social Stratification and Mobility!

Recent PhD graduate Jacob Lipsman has a new position as an Impact Analyst for LifeCity!

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