Our Faculty



Professor Almeida’s research centers on the efficacy of collective action at the local, national and global levels of social and political life. He currently works on environmental and economic justice-based social movements.

Email: palmedia@ucmerced.edu

camila alvarez

Professor Alvarez’s areas of expertise are environmental sociology, environmental justice, and quantitative methodology. One of her current projects is developing innovative research methodologies to measure and address environmental inequalities across race, class, and gender.

Email: calvarez55@ucmerced.edu


Professor Beattie studies educational inequality along the lines of race, class, gender and sexuality. A current project uses quantitative analysis and focus groups to understand intersectional variation in academic outcomes among LGBTQ+ college students.

Email: ibeattie@ucmerced.edu

Stephanie Canizales

Professor Canizales' research centers children and youth in the study of international migration and immigrant integration. Her current book project draws on qualitative data to interrogate how Central American- and Mexican- origin youth navigate coming of age without parents and legal status in the U.S.

Email: scanizales@ucmerced.edu


Professor Dodson studies the role of political institutions in fostering political behavior and attitudes, with an emphasis on cross-national differences and over-time change.

Email: kdodson2@ucmerced.edu


Professor Eaton studies the role of social ties, organizations, and politics in the interplay between financiers, other elites, and subordinated social groups. One of his principal current projects analyzes race, class, and student debt as a system of stratification.

Email: ceaton2@ucmerced.edu


Professor Flores' research focuses on labor, immigration, religion, and local social movements. He is faculty director of the UC Merced Community and Labor Center

Email: eflores52@ucmerced.edu

Blythe George

Professor George’s (Yurok) work centers on trauma, meaning, and resilience on rural tribal reservations, drawing from in-depth interviews, ethnography, and data sovereignty to insert the experience of Indigenous communities into the study of marginalization.

Email: blythegeorge@ucmerced.edu


Professor Golash-Boza’s research focuses on the intersection between racism, capitalism and the law, with an emphasis on deportation, incarceration, and gentrification.

Email: tgolash-boza@ucmerced.edu


Professor Hamilton studies gender, family and education, with a specific focus on the transitions to adulthood among college students.

Email: lhamilton2@ucmerced.edu

yang lor

Professor Lor studies education, stratification, culture, race & ethnicity, Asian Americans, and political participation.

Email: ylor2@ucmerced.edu

Amanda Mireles

Professor Mireles studies social inequality, gender, and the family.

Email: amireles5@ucmerced.edu


Professor Pirtle has expertise in the areas of race and racism, identity, health equity, and Black feminist praxis. She leads the Sociology of Health and Equity (SHE) Lab.

Email: wpirtle@ucmerced.edu

Andrea Polonijo

Professor Polonijo studies health disparities along axes of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Her current projects focus on social determinants of vaccination across the life course.

Email: apolonijo@ucmerced.edu

Daisy Reyes

Professor Reyes is primarily interested in how race and ethnicity are constructed and mobilized within institutions, with particular focus on sites critical for social mobility, like colleges and universities. Her newest project examines the mobility trajectories of college-educated Latinx millennials with specific attention to their financial experiences and familial arrangements.

Email: daisy.reyes@ucmerced.edu


Professor Valdez specializes in the study of social inequality in labor markets, entrepreneurship, and health from an intersectional perspective (race, class, & gender) and among Latinas/os in the U.S.

Email: zvaldez@ucmerced.edu


Professor Van Dyke specializes in the study of social movements, hate crime, and sexuality, with a focus on social movement tactics, mobilizing contexts, and student activism and experiences.

Email: nvandyke@ucmerced.edu

Meredith Van Natta

Professor Van Natta's research explores the intersection of citizenship and science, medicine, and technology policy. Her current project examines how immigrant patients and their healthcare providers in the U.S. balance health risks against the threat of detention and deportation.

Email: mvannatta@ucmerced.edu


Professor Whitt’s research centers on the study of higher education with a focus on college students’ learning and successes, and issues and trends in student affairs practices.

Email: ewhitt@ucmerced.edu


Professor Zatz’s research focuses on immigration policy, youth and families, and on race/ethnicity, gender and juvenile and criminal court processing and sanctioning.

Email: mzatz@ucmerced.edu


Nella Van Dyke

Sociology Graduate Program Chair

Email: nvandyke@ucmerced.edu

Website: sociology.ucmerced.edu