The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Two Sociology Majors Named Rising Researchers

Isabel Levin and Solomon Siskind | UMass Sociology

Two Sociology majors have been named UMass Rising Researchers in recognition of their outstanding commitment to research opportunities, especially amidst the challenges of this past academic year.  Only 9 students across campus were selected for this prestigious honor.

Levin was recognized for her diverse research projects ranging from the opioid epidemic to queer underground sexual cultures.  Last summer, she took part in the Moor Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (MURAP) at the University of North Carolina Chapel hill, where she drew on her own identity as a Latinx-Jewish woman for her research project, "'They Don't Know How to Complain': How American Schools Have Forgotten Immigrant Parents."  Upon her return to UMass in the fall, Isabel built on her findings in another paper, "A Seat at the Bargaining Table: How Privileged Parents Determine School Operations in the COVID Era," and conducted an oral history with her mother, "El Sendero Luminoso A Través de Los Ojos de Mi Mamá" (The Shining Path through the Eyes of My Mom).  Isabel plans to pursue a PhD in sociology and one day become a professor.

Siskind, a Black student-athlete on the UMass football team and a dual major in sport management and sociology, was recognized for his research focused on the experience of student-athletes and the equity of the institutional environments in which they are placed.  Last year, Solomon represented UMass Athletics at the Black Student-Athlete Summit in Austin, Texas, an experience that catalyzed his research project, "Analysis of the Black Student-Athlete Experience at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI)." Solomon, along with Desiree Oliver '21 of the UMass women's basketball team conducted a campus survey that found that non-white student athletes are three times more likely to experience culture shock, and half of non-white student-athletes reported feeling depressed or isolated at UMass.  The team used this data to create recommendations that were presented to UMass Athletics that have already resulted in positive steps being taken to improve the experience of Black student-athletes on campus.  Solomon will begin his master's degree in sport management next year at UMass while serving as a research assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Read the full profiles for all 9 Rising Researchers from Research Next.