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WSU Department of Sociology Sociology News

Winter Issue 2017


Sociology Club officers Kory Hardcastle and Norma Loranzo started the semester by advertising the club on the Terrell Mall in August.

Welcome to the 2017 Winter Issue of Sociology News!

We begin this issue of the newsletter with two exciting announcements.

Last month we learned that faculty member Julie Kmec has been selected to receive the 2017 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. Her innovative and highly effective approach to teaching both undergraduate and graduate students is widely recognized. (A 2015 Sociology News article described her hands-on approach to teaching the rigors of data collection and analysis in sociological research.) Congratulations, Julie!

We also learned that Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson will assume the role of departmental chair starting in the fall, following the completion of Lisa McIntyre’s eight years in that role. We are grateful for Dr. McIntyre’s long and dedicated service, and look forward to Dr. Johnson’s leadership in the coming months and years.

We also review many of the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty happenings over the last six months. We checked in with the undergraduate Sociology Club, advised by Dr. Sarah Whitley (PhD, 2012). The group has been active in a number of events this year, including fundraisers, movie showings, and guest lectures.

Another feature in this issue highlights Drs. Jennifer Schwartz and Erik Johnson, who are pursuing an exciting new research agenda on environmental crime. Their work combines environmental sociology and criminology—two longstanding foci of WSU Sociology—to understand more about those involved in committing and prosecuting environmental laws.

We also hear from three PhD alumni who have taken three very different career paths since graduating from WSU. Lyssa Thaden (PhD, 2010) discusses her path to managing director at Access Group, Michael Sullivan (PhD, 1984) describes his career as a consultant, and Deborah Thorne (PhD, 2001) talks about a career path that led her back to the Palouse.

Finally, our department was saddened about the loss of sophomore sociology major Dashiell Mortell, who died in a car accident in January. We compiled some memories of Dashiell from the Daily Evergreen and other news sources—including some of the social issues and causes he cared deeply about.

Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or feedback.


Don Dillman


Don Dillman,





Pierce Greenberg


Pierce Greenberg,


Washington State University