Sociology Department Unveils Two Prestigious New Awards

Supporting Graduate Education

If you would like to support the Department of Sociology, gifts are welcome and can be made securely online. For more information about this and other giving options in the Department of Sociology, please contact the College of Arts and Sciences development team at 509-335-1096 or visit

We proudly unveil two new department awards, the Pazhouh Family Sociology Student Success Fund and Lois DeFleur Graduate Student Support Award. The first, spearheaded by Rosa Pazhouh, aims to bridge the gap between educational costs and student funding, reflecting her passion for social justice. The second, graciously donated by Lois DeFleur, aims to provide support for research and educationally related expenses to help recruit and retain talented graduate students from around the world.

Left to Right: Michelle Weston, Cassi Leonard, Sam Castonguay, Cassie Rueda, Christian Maynard, Luna Wu, Caleb Cooley, Sydney Silva, and Steven Cassidy, recipients of graduate student scholarships and fellowships at the 2024 Awards Ceremony.

Pazhouh Family Sociology Student Success Fund

Rosa Pazhouh was born in Pullman, WA, and returned to Pullman in 2006 to attend WSU where she earned a bachelor of arts in political science. She went on to receive a juris doctor degree from the law school at the University of Washington and now works there overseeing research, clinical care, and educational activities. In her free time, Rosa spends time investing in the community via pro bono and advocacy work. Through her personal and professional experiences, Rosa has observed the growing gap between the cost of education and student funding available for students. By establishing the Pazhouh Family Sociology Student Success Fund, she helps students in the Department of Sociology pursue academic endeavors. And although Rosa never sought a degree in sociology, it was and remains a field of interest to her.

Lois DeFleur Graduate Student Support Award

Prior to Lois B. DeFleur becoming the first female president of the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1990, she spent her early career at Washington State University. Her influential career also included time as provost at the University of Missouri. She has a doctorate in sociology from the University of Illinois, where she studied juvenile delinquency in Latin America and has done extensive work in the fields of deviant behavior and occupational socialization.

Presently, Lois has committed to funding graduate students in the Department of Sociology with a gift of $25,000. This unrestricted gift will allow the Department of Sociology to provide student support for such things, including but not limited to, tuition and fees, subsistence, research expenses, and other educationally related costs. Unrestricted gifts such as this can provide necessary resources for both recruitment and retention of talented graduate students from around the world, who will come to make their own influence in the study of sociology in today’s societies. 

You can read more about Lois’s career in her co-authored book, We Few, We Academic Sisters: How We Persevered and Excelled in Higher Education. The book shares Lois’s and two other female colleagues’ trailblazing stories of navigating careers in higher education during the late 60s and early 70s. They are among the few women of their time who worked at a university willing to hire married couples. Their autobiographies tell us how far academic women have come, though they still have far to go.

Lois DeFleur with Mount Everest in the background.