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Sociology and Criminology & Law

September 15, 2019 — Matt Sapyta

Welcome, new faculty!

We’re happy to welcome our new faculty members hired as part of UF’s Faculty 500 initiative. The Faculty 500 initiative was launched in late 2017 to enhance teaching and research at the University of Florida by hiring 500 additional faculty members and improving the student-faculty ratio across a variety of fields. The effort led to twelve recent faculty hires in our department.

Britni Adams, Brenden Beck, Bonnie Ernst, Jessica Kahler, Yao Li, and Harvey Nicholson join our department as assistant professors of sociology and criminology.

Dr. Adams earned her PhD in sociology at the University of California-Irvine in 2018. Her research interests include incarceration, families, juvenile delinquency, child development, and intimate violence. She teaches classes on violence across the life course and romantic relationships and the family.

A 2018 PhD graduate of the City University of New York Graduate Center, Dr. Beck teaches urban sociology, policing and race, and sociology of crime and punishment. His research interests include urban sociology, policing, and gentrification.

Dr. Ernst graduated with a PhD in American history from Northwestern University in 2018. Her research and teaching interests include United States history, African American history, history of women and gender, criminal justice, and history of science and technology.

A 2018 graduate of Michigan State University with a PhD in fisheries and wildlife, Dr. Kahler teaches courses and conducts research on environmental criminology, wildlife crime and conservation, and environmental justice.

Dr. Li earned her PhD in sociology from Johns Hopkins University. Her research is broadly concerned with social movements, environmental studies, political sociology, and Chinese society and politics.

Dr. Nicholson earned his PhD in sociology in 2019 from the University of Central Florida and researches race and ethnicity, social determinants of health, racial and ethnic disparities in health, and substance use.

Nicole Jones and Raffaele Vacca joined the department as assistant professors of sociology. Dr. Jones’s work focuses on race and ethnicity, quantitative methods, and social stratification and inequality. She earned her PhD in sociology from Texas A&M University with a dissertation on Black residential outcomes in 75 metropolitan areas between 1960 and 2000.

Dr. Vacca graduated with a PhD in sociology and European studies at the University of Milan-Bicocca, where he conducted research on social networks and immigrant incorporation of Asian, African and Latin American immigrants in Europe. His teaching and research interests include international migration, health disparities, social networks and studies of science and scientific collaboration.

Dr. Adam Dunbar earned his PhD from the University of California-Irvine with a dissertation on rap lyrics as evidence and juror decision making. He joins the department as a visiting assistant professor to continue his research on race, ethnicity, and the criminal justice system, stereotyping and prejudice, and psychology and law. He teaches courses in psychology and law and principles of criminal justice.

Autumn McClellan, Corey McZeal, and Joseph Rivera join our faculty as lecturers in sociology and criminology. Dr. McClellan earned her PhD in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and will be teaching methods of social research. Dr. McZeal is a PhD graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, and his scholarly interests include family dynamics, gerontology, informal caregiving, race and ethnicity, and the life course. Joseph Rivera is a PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Florida. His teaching and research interests include economic crime, transnational organized crime, and environmental crime.