The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Alumni Newsletter

Letter from the Sociology Department Chair, Michelle Budig

Welcome to our newsletter! While this letter highlights some of the major happenings in our department over the past year, you can keep up with breaking Sociology news here. Check out our new website and reconnect with us using our alumni contact form, we want to hear about your news, too!

The Sociology department is an energized and ever-changing place. During 2015-16 we welcomed three new assistant professors: Sancha Medwinter, Mark Pachucki, and Ofer Sharone, and in fall 2016 we welcomed Kathryne Young. Collectively these faculty study race and urban disasters, social determinants of health, job search, social networks, legal consciousness and criminal procedure, and social psychology. Our department is much enriched by this infusion of new scholars. In addition to welcoming amazing new faculty, we congratulated Prof. Richard Tessler on his retirement in May.

Our undergraduate advising team is also new. Our new Chief Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Kat Fabel, has teamed up with our academic advisor, Dr. Linda Ziegenbein, to provide guidance and outreach to undergraduates. Prof. Jon Wynn is our newly installed Undergraduate Program Director and Prof. Joya Misra is our new Graduate Program Director.

As you’ll see in our graduate program news, through the generosity of Neal Pruchansky '70, '74G, '80PhD, we conferred the inaugural Charles H. Page scholarship for the best theory paper written by a graduate student. Our graduate program continues to grow in prominence and is home to many award-winning students, including NSF Graduate Fellows, SSRC Dissertation fellows, and other awardees.

This is just a sample of the happenings at UMass Sociology. Please read on for more, and stay in touch!


  1. Faculty Recognition and Awards
  2. Student Accomplishments and News
  3. Staff Accolades
  4. Alumna Profile: Ella Bitman '11