Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 
American Studies


Sociology Graduate Program Alumni Updates

Warren Bird
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2007
Current Position: Director of Research and Intellectual Capital, Leadership Network
Website
Dr. Warren Bird is one of the nation's leading researchers of Protestant church leaders, focusing on high-impact congregations recognized for their health, outreach and leadership development. He specializes in large churches, mega-churches, growing churches, new churches, and multisite churches. He oversees the world’s only active online list of global mega-churches.

He serves as the director of research for Leadership Network, a non-profit that provides peer groups and support for innovative church leaders. An award-winning writer, Warren has authored or co-authored 25 books, more than 200 magazine articles and over 100 reports, all on subjects related to church health. An ordained minister, he has been a church planter, senior pastor, and associate pastor. He graduated from Wheaton College and Graduate School (B.A., M.A.), Alliance Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Fordham University (Ph.D.) in sociology of religion, and has served as an adjunct professor at Alliance Theological Seminary since 1995. He and his wife live in metro New York City. They have two children.

Bird notes that “Fordham University was just what I needed: the professors welcomed me to be person of faith as I approached my course of study. The professors helped me gain the tools I lacked, both the skills and knowledge. They welcomed me to tailor many of my learning experiences to my calling and career.”
 
Jeneve R. Brooks
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2009
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Troy University
Email: jrbrooks@troy.edu
Website
Thinking back on my time as a sociology graduate student at Fordham University, I remain very appreciative of the individualized attention that many professors gave me as I began my intellectual and professional path as a sociologist.  I was advised to present at conferences and was also coached on how to start the process of publication.  In addition, I came to discover a firm commitment to public sociology amongst various faculty, who worked tirelessly to advance social justice issues. Their passion not only ignited my own love of public sociology, it also strengthened my commitment to social change.

After graduating, I have taught various courses such as social change, popular culture/mass media, and race and ethnicity at Hunter College, Manhattan College, and now at Troy University.  I have published articles on anti-war music and its usage by peace activists, race relations amongst undergraduates, and am currently working on my first book, Silent Soundtrack?: U.S. Antiwar Music, Media, and Mobilization from Vietnam to Iraq. I am also involved in research about Alabama blues musicians which complements an annual blues festival I have started called the Wiregrass Blues Fest.  I believe that as sociologists we have the unique privilege to study and critique all aspects of social life—from pop music to race relations to broad economic/political systems—and much, much more. We can also have the opportunity to affect change through making policy recommendations and working alongside social movements. It makes our work inherently interesting, intellectually stimulating, and ultimately—very rewarding. 


  Natalie Byfield
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2008
Current Position: Assistant Professor, St. John's University in Queens
 Dr. Natalie Byfield is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at St. John's University in Queens. She has taught in the fields of sociology and communications. Her overall research focuses on the role of language in society and how the powerful and those with less influence use language to shape their world. Through this she explores media in society, cultural studies, social theory, and the co-determined nature of race, gender, and class formations.

In 2011, Byfield was a visiting research fellow at the Research and Evaluation Center of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a recipient of the Carla B. Howery Teaching Enhancement Grant awarded by the American Sociological Association. She is also a past recipient of a Charles H. Revson Fellowship at Columbia University and a National Science Foundation Fellowship.

She spent close to a decade working as a journalist in New York City. Her work has appeared in the New York Daily News, Time Magazine, The American Lawyer, and the New York Law Journal. Her recent book Savage Portrayals: Race, Media &the Central ParkJogger Story, was published by Temple University Press.
 
  Christopher Donoghue
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2004
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Sociology, Monclair State University
Fordham University is the place where I became a sociologist. It was here that I was introduced to many of the classic writings in Sociology, and also its most contemporary theories. Under the guidance of Fordham's very accomplished faculty, I learned to apply the sociological perspective to the study of topics that interested me most at the time: aging, health and disability.

Upon leaving Fordham, I pursued a research agenda at Kean University, where I was tenured in 2009. While there, I published studies on the quality of care in American nursing homes in journals such as The Gerontologist, Research on Aging, The Journal of Applied Gerontology, Health Care Management Review and The Journal of Health and Social Policy. In 2012, I joined the Sociology Department at Montclair State University, where I have begun to conduct social psychological research on prejudice and bullying among elementary and middle school students.

During the 2011-12 academic year, I was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. I was also elected to a 3-year term as the Northeast Regional Representative to Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honors Society. In addition to my academic work, I serve as a Program Evaluator for a 5-year grant funded project to reduce teen pregnancies in Jersey City and Newark, and as a Project Director for a community based consultation program for several private schools in the Northeast.
 
Keith Alan Howey
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2010
Current Position: Research Associate at Common Ground Community
At the age of 17, Keith enlisted in the Army and completed a tour in Baghdad soon after. Upon discharge, he received his undergraduate degree in political science and sociology from Rutgers University in May 2010. As a Fordham master's candidate, he was able to combine his military experiences with his interest in qualitative research. His thesis investigated how military life and structure creates the conditions for veteran homelessness. Professors and mentors encouraged Keith to write a letter to the editor which was published in The New York Times. In addition, he conducted an interview on Fordham's radio station, WFUV, about his research findings.

After graduation, Keith spent two months at a Guatemalan orphanage. Though he failed to learn Spanish, it did reinforce his resolve to help the less fortunate. With the education and research experience he received from Fordham, he obtained a position at Common Ground – the largest provider of supportive housing in NYC and homeless outreach provider in Brooklyn, Queens and sections of Manhattan. As the evaluationassociate, he regularly uses the qualitative and quantitative skills he sharpened at Fordham.


  Christopher Kudlac
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2004
Current Position: Associate Professor, Westfield State University
Fordham University was the best place that I could have gone to graduate school. The PhD program in Sociology offered me an opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant and then after completing my Masters degree, I was given the opportunity to teach courses of my own. The faculty at Fordham was amazing as I still keep in touch with many of my former professors and consider some good friends. As I was completing my PhD, I was hired at Westfield State University in Massachusetts in the Criminal Justice Department. I was able to turn my dissertation into my first book Public Executions: The Media and the Death Penalty. My experiences at Fordham made the transition to professor quite easy and natural. Since being at Westfield I have become an Associate professor and served as the coordinator of the Graduate program and the chair of the department. In 2007, I published my second book Fair or Foul: Sports and Criminal Behavior in the United States.
 
  Stephanie Laudone
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2012
Current Position: Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)
Stephanie Laudone earned her Ph.D. at Fordham University in 2012, with a dissertation exploring racial identity on Facebook and other media. While completing her doctoral degree, Laudone taught at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and Farmingdale State University. She has recently accepted a tenure-track position at the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York.
 
  Brian McKernan
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2006
Current Position: Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at SUNY Albany, Pre-doctoral fellow at Yale’s Center for Cultural Sociology, and Visiting Lecturer in Sociology at Mount Holyoke College
I found my time at Fordham to be exhilarating from the moment I first arrived. Fordham’s graduate program in sociology offered me an opportunity to learnfrom faculty who are not just accomplished in their fields but also strongly engaged in applying their work to address pertinent social issues. The intellectual and professionalguidance I received at Fordham has left a deep impression and has proven invaluable in my own growth both inside and outside academia.

After graduating from Fordham with my M.A., I moved to SUNY Albany to pursue my Ph.D. with an emphasis in cultural sociology. My current research agenda focuses on documenting mass media’s powerful role in civil society. I am particularly interested in identifying what topics different media outlets define as important, the symbolic resources they use to render these topics meaningful, and the social groups and positions included in their coverage.

My dissertation uses principles from the literature on democratic deliberation and the concept of an aesthetic public sphere to examine the social construction of video games in different mediated spaces. My other major research project examines the powerful celebrity discourses present in civil society. I am also involved in a collaborative project with Ronald Jacobs that explores coverage of American television in non-American newspapers. Besides my research interests, I am currently a visiting lecturer at Mount Holyoke College and a pre-doctoral fellow at Yale’s Center for Cultural Sociology.
 
  Judith Perez
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2011
Current Position: Clinical Assistant Professor of Sociology, The Catholic University of America
Dr. Perez is a third generation Puerto Rican who was born and raised in the Bronx. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology, with a concentration in Diversity and Inequality from Fordham University (2011), where she also obtained advanced certification in Latin American and Latino Studies (2006).

Dr. Perez currently serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Sociology at The Catholic University of America, where she teaches classes on inequality, urban sociology and social problems. She has previously taught in the Latino Studies department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY and for the College of Liberal Studies at Fordham University. In addition, Dr. Perez served as an assistant faculty member for the National Equity Center’s Summer Civil Rights and Social Justice Training Institute, held at UCLA.

Recent publications include two book chapters related to Dr. Perez’s research on the residential segregation of Latinos in Washington, D.C., and the racial integration of Puerto Ricans in the northeast Bronx. Dr. Perez is currently revising two of her dissertation chapters about gentrification in New York City and the importance of school district reputation in predicting neighborhood choice and outcomes for peer-reviewed journal consideration as well.

Dr. Perez received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., and her Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration (College Student Personnel) from Teachers College, Columbia University. A true inter-disciplinarian at heart, Dr. Perez utilizes her skills as a sociologist, and merges her passion for teaching, academic administration, racial equity work and anti-racism education.
 
  Janice Rodden
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2008
Current Position: Senior Training and Development Coordinator, Vitech Systems Group, Inc.
I obtained my Master’s degree in Sociology through Fordham’s accelerated program, which allowed me to begin graduate coursework during the senior year of my undergraduate program at Fordham. While the additional course load was demanding to complete during the final year’s social events, it taught me excellent time management skills that have continued to serve me in every position I’ve held since graduation.

Entering the graduate Sociology program allowed me to strengthen my relationships with professors, meet a wonderful group of students, and deepen my knowledge of the subject. The concepts I learned are applicable in countless “real life” scenarios outside of academia, and taught me to view the social world through a new lens.

Since graduation, I have remained in New York City, but have worked outside of the academic sector. I’ve worked with Pearson Education writing instructor’s manuals for sociology textbooks with topics including the U.S. census, and qualitative research methods. I author my own blog. My current position is at a software company, where I write marketing materials and training materials on how to use our product. Additionally, I manage resources to meet client deliverable timelines, deliver training sessions to clients, and run our new hire training program on a monthly basis for all incoming associates.
 
  Andrew Tiedt
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2011
Current Position: Statistician, at U.S. Department of Justice; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, NORC (National Opinion Research Center) at the University of Chicago; Abe Fellow, Social Science Research Council and the Japan Foundation for Global Partnership
I came to Fordham with a strong interest in international relations and social stratification. I left with a concentration in social demography, more specifically focused on population aging. Under the guidance of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and thanks to ample funding opportunities from the University I was able to narrow my research interests to fit a comparative-cultural dissertation topic.

After graduating, I moved to a postdoctoral research position at the Center on Aging, NORC at the University of Chicago. This entails research on aging and health-related issues as well as training on complex survey design and longitudinal data analysis. At NORC, I have had the pleasure of participating in research teams composed of interdisciplinary scholars with backgrounds in sociology, biology, psychology, economics and medicine. My primary research interests focus on the role of social support relationships in moderating health and quality of life outcomes among the elderly. I am currently researching the effect of intergenerational support from adult children on self-reports of pain, depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress and happiness among older Japanese and Americans.
 
  David W. Woods
Degree: Ph.D., AICP
Year: 2009
Current Position: Principal, GreenWoods Associates
Dr. Woods has 25 years of experience as a planning consultant and public servant in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, Florida, and Minnesota. Before recently returning to GreenWoods Associates, he was the Commissioner of Planning, Environment and Land Management for the Town of Brookhaven, New York (June 2006 to July 2008). Earlier, he was Vice President-Chief Planner for Urbitran Associates, a major New York metropolitan area-consulting firm.

Dr. Woods served on the American Planning Association’s Board of Directors as the Director for the Northeast United States and Canada. He earned his Ph.D. in Urban Sociology from Fordham University; as well as a B.A. in Political Science from California State University at Hayward, an M.A. in Government from the University of Maryland, and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University. His recent book Democracy Deferred: Civic Leadership after 9/11, focuses on developing an experienced-based planning framework for building better communities, while discussing the lessons learned in trying to influence decision-makers in rebuilding the World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan after 9/11.
 
Bernice Yeung
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2007
Current Position: Investigative Reporter, Center for Investigative Reporting
Bernice Yeung is an investigative reporter for The Center for Investigative Reporting focusing on community health. A former staff writer for SF Weekly and editor at California Lawyer magazine, Bernice's work has appeared in media outlets such as The New York Times, San Francisco magazine, Village Voice, KQED-FM, and Mother Jones. Her investigations into human trafficking, domestic violence among immigrant women, and the explosion of girls in the California juvenile justice system have been recognized with awards from organizations such as the Western Publishing Association and the National Council on Crime & Delinquency. A California native, Bernice received a journalism degree from Northwestern University, and a master's degree in sociology from Fordham University.

Yeung says: “I’m a better journalist because of my graduate sociology training at Fordham. The master’s program was a precious opportunity for me to explore with greater depth the topics and themes that I cover as a reporter. It also gave me a chance to spend some time thinking about the systemic causes of the social and political issues that I write about. Through coursework and discussions with my colleagues both in and outside of the classroom, I learned how to better survey the landscape of research on a particular subject, and how to lay a stronger analytical foundation for drawing informed conclusions. Additionally, taking statistics courses — and then gathering my own data, and distilling them into a master’s thesis — helped me understand the limits and challenges inherent in social science research, which helps me more accurately represent these findings as a journalist. Perhaps as importantly, Fordham faculty and students bring with them diverse perspectives and experiences, which makes every conversation a dynamic and memorable exchange of ideas.”

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