Full-Time Sociology Faculty
Helfing, MA, MSW
Mr. Helfing earned his BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology
from California State University, Northridge. His MA is also
from CSUN, in Education, Educational Psychology, Counseling and
Guidance. His Master of Social Work is from the University of
Professor Helfing's professional interests include marriage and the family, criminology,
culture and socialization, and social psychology.
Anne Laurel Marenco, Ph.D.
Anne Marenco has a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis
in Teaching and an
MS in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Family Relations/Child Development
from CSUN and an MA and Ph.D. in Sociology with emphases in Aging and
Family from USC.
Marenco's sociological interests include relationships, aging,
and research methods and analysis. Her professional interests
include field studies, learning communities, assessment, and distance education. Her
research interest is marital satisfaction.
Anne is married and
has two children, a son in college and a daughter in graduate school. She
spends her spare time camping, traveling, and caring for her aging parents.
earned her MA in Sociology from the University of Washington
MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary.
research interests include
life in public spaces, and
globalization. Her teaching interests include gender, race,
class; and deviance.
who have influenced Ms. Williams-Páez
include Howard Becker, June
Jordan, James Baldwin, and Sherman Alexie.
Part-Time Sociology Faculty
Sweo Alvarado, Ed.D.
Thea Sweo Alvarado holds a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley, an
M.A. in Social Science with a concentration in Demographic and
Social Analysis from UC Irvine, and an Ed.D. from UC Davis' CANDEL
Dr. Alvarado is a former COC student. Her research interests include race and ethnicity,
immigration, and education.
Thea lives in
Northridge with her husband, two sons, two cats, and a dog.
John Anderson earned his B.A. in Gender & Women’s Studies with a
concentration in Communication & Media, a minor in Queer Studies,
and his M.A. in Sociology at CSUN.
His master’s thesis analyzed the experiences of LGBTQ junior high
and high school
students in Santa Clarita using visual sociology.
His favorite topic to teach is theory. His research interests
include political sociology; social movements and activism;
relations of gender, race, class, and sexuality; and media studies.
In his spare time, he enjoys watching horror films.
Kim Bonfiglio, MSW
Kim Bonfiglio earned her BA in Psychology at Carroll College in Montana
and her Master's of Social Work degree at CSU Long Beach.
Bonfiglio professional interests
include child abuse, foster care, adolescence, child welfare, gangs,
social services, homelessness, domestic violence, psychotherapy,
criminology, and aging/gerontology.
In her spare time, Professor
Bonfiglio spends time with her family camping and traveling.
Mariana Branda, MA,
Ms. Branda earned her BA
and MA in Sociology with an emphasis in social psychology from CSUN.
She is currenlty a PhD candidate in Sociology at UCA Pontificia
Universidad Catolica Argentina. Her thesis topic is Corporate
professional interests include distance learning development,
qualitative methods, culture, gender/class/race relations, social
psychology, and, globalization. She teaches online courses for
College of the Canyons from her home in Argentina.
spends her spare time with
her family, reading, and traveling.
Kathryn Coleman earned
her BA in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara and her MA in Sociology at
sociological interests include sex and gender, race and class, and
deviance. At UCSB she focused on the American prison system for her
research in race and class, and at CSUN she wrote her thesis on the
American prison system, focusing on recidivism among the criminally
labeled. The title of her thesis is "The American Prison System:
Institutional and Social Factors Contributing to Recidivism." In
this project, she was able to further explore her main sociological
interests by focusing on the general prison population and the
social and institutional factors which generate and propagate high
recidivism rates among criminalized individuals in the United
In her spare time, Ms.
Coleman enjoys traveling.
Emily Frydrych, MA
Emily Frydrych earned her
BA in Gender Studies from the University of Michigan and her MA in
Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.
graduate school, she was awarded a post-graduate fellowship from
University of Chicago’s Human Rights Program and moved to Kathmandu,
Nepal where she worked investigating and documenting torture,
disappearances and other violations during the state of emergency.
Upon returning to the States, she began teaching for
both state universities and online programs with particular
interests in Human Relations, Race/Class/Gender, Domestic Violence,
Social Problems, Distance Education and Diversity in the Workplace.
Emily has also consulted
and trained agencies on issues of family violence,
employee-relations, communication styles and diversity. She spends
as much time as possible with her amaaazing family, all of whom
still live in LA. She recently completed her first (and last!!)
marathon, and got married last year. Any time off and spare time is
spent practicing yoga and traveling around the world.
Heather Harper, MA
Professor Harper earned her BA in
Sociology from UC Santa Barbara and her MA in Sociology from CSUN.
Her research includes the effect of party system on voter
confidence, the effect of recession on organized labor, and a
cross-national comparative analysis of union density. The
thesis will analyze democratic participation and expression within
the local institutional context of an Emergency Financial Manager.
Ms. Harper's professional
interests include Political Sociology, Economic Sociology, Theory,
Social Movements, Historical Sociology, Quantitative Methods, and
In her spare time she spends time
with her feline son, Jack (pictured), babysitting her canine nephews
and nieces, and watching Doctor Who.
P. Haugen, MA, SPHR
Professor Haugen holds a BA and MA in sociology from California
State University, Northridge. His areas of interest include sex
and gender, the sociology of work & organizations, and social
research methods. He most enjoys making sociology relevant for
everyone and constantly is reinvigorated through the
sociological imagination. Mr. Haugen was
named the top graduate student in sociology for California by
the California Sociological Association
and was awarded "Outstanding Graduate Student" for his
scholarship at CSUN. Mr. Haugen enjoys a healthy balance of
teaching with a professional career as a Human Resources Manager
with one of the most iconic brands in the U.S..
is certified as a Sr. Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by
the Society for Human Resources Management. This balance
allows him to stay in touch with “corporate America” while
applying his knowledge of sociology to his everyday work.
In his spare time, Mr. Haugen is an avid supporter of the arts
taking in Giant’s games down the street from where he lives in
San Francisco, and
travel all over the world with his husband.
Jaye Houston, Ph.D.
In 1995, Dr. Houston earned
her BA degree in Religion with a minor in Global Peace and Security
at UCSB. In 1998 she was
awarded a certificate in Women’s Studies and an MA degree in
Religion from The Florida State University. In 2006, she
completed a doctoral degree at Claremont Graduate University in
Women Studies in Religion. Her dissertation field research
examined the intergenerational relationship between female Holocaust
survivors and their granddaughters--the third generation.
Houston's interdisciplinary academic foci are sociology of religion,
self and society, women’s studies, comparative genocides, and field
Austin Im, MA
Professor Im received BA in
Sociology from UC Irvine and his MA in Sociology from CSU Fullerton
with an emphasis in Race and Ethnicity. His professional
interests include Race and Ethnicity, Multiculturalism,
Majority-Minority Relations, Asian American Studies, Popular Culture,
and Marriage and Family.
Austin's personal interests include spending
time with family, movies (80s and 90s film buff), sports, and
Bobby Keo is originally from San Diego, CA and
moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA where he received his B.A. in
Sociology with a minor in Anthropology. He then continued in the
discipline of Sociology and received an M.A. from CSUN. His masters
thesis revolves around uncovering potential predictors of alcohol
consumption within the college undergraduate population.
His research interests also include race and
ethnicity, law and society, and research methods and analysis.
In his spare time, he enjoys watching and
playing sports as well as learning about the latest automobiles on
Melanie Klein, MA
Melanie Klein earned her BA
in Sociology from California State University, Northridge in 2003.
Her areas of interest include feminism, intersectionality, systems
of power, media studies, and media literacy education, as well
gender and masculinities.
She has worked with the new citizen journalists of the LA Academy of
Media and the peer-educators of
J.A.D.E (Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating) on ways to tap
into the power of their own voice. She is an expert contributor in
the areas of media literacy and body image issues for
She is the adviser of the
Santa Monica College Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and
the founder and co-coordinator of Women, Action + Media Los Angeles
FeministFatale.com and is a contributor at
Ms. Magazine’s blog. Her essay on yoga, body image and feminism
Curvy Voices and her extended chapter on the same topic is
included in the anthology,
Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice.
Dominic Little earned his
MA in sociology at California State University, Northridge.
Professor Little’s research interests include research methods,
statistics, evaluation assessment and needs analysis, social
psychology, social movements, and women’s studies.
Professor Little has extensive experience working as a methodologist
and statistical consultant for various governmental and non-profit
organizations. Currently, he is teaching for both College of the
Canyons and California State University, Northridge.
Dominic is happily married and experiencing the wonderful journey of
fatherhood. His daughter, Danica, already has
him “wrapped around her finger.”
Professor Lookholder earned her BA in Women's Studies from Cal State
Fullerton (with minors in Sociology and Political Science), and her
MA in Sociology from Cal State Northridge.
interests within sociology include women & gender studies, human
sexuality, media studies, social movements, masculinities, and
research methods. The majority of her graduate research involved a
comparative analysis of sex practices among youth today and youth
during the sexual revolution era.
her spare time, she enjoys baking cookies, playing with her dogs,
and relaxing with friends and family.
Ali Akbar Mahdi, Ph.D.
Dr. Mahdi is a specialist in
the political economy of change, gender, and development in the Middle
East. He is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Ohio Wesleyan
University and has also taught at Michigan State University, Adrian
College, and Central State University. He has authored books
including “Culture and Customs of Iran” (co-author), “Sociology in
Iran”(co-author), "Sociology of the Iranian Family,” and “Iranian
Culture, Civil Society, and Concern for Democracy.”
Dr. Mahdi is the author
of numerous articles and reviews on topics ranging from sociology of
knowledge to the political economy of Iran and Islam. He has served as
the executive director of the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis
(CIRA), Editor of Michigan Sociological Review, and President of
Michigan Sociological Association. He is a recipient of Bishop
Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award at Ohio Wesleyan University
(2008), Marvin E. Olsen Service Award from the North Central
Sociological Association (1994), Teaching Excellence Award from
Michigan Sociological Association (1990), the Sears Foundation
Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award at Adrian College
(1990), and Excellence-in-Teaching Citation Award at Michigan State
Meyers earned her Masters and Bachelor Degrees in Sociology from
California State University Northridge (CSUN). Her graduate research
focus and publications were in the areas of gender research, family
law, gang-related behavior, and youth subcultures. Since 2006,
Professor Meyers has taught in the Sociology Departments of CSUN,
Moorpark College, and the Adult Evening Degree Program at California
Lutheran University. Service learning, public health, interpersonal
violence prevention, and community outreach are integral components
of her classroom curriculum and requirements.
spare time, Professor Meyers enjoys hiking, camping, yoga,
volunteering in the community, and spending time with her teenage
son and their two dogs.
Arman Mgeryan, MA
Mr. Mgerian earned his MA
and BA from CSUN in the field of Sociology with a specialization in
Criminology. Upon graduation from graduate school, he was hired to
teach Sociology and has been doing so since fall 2005. He is actively employed at College of the Canyons, Pierce College and
Professor Mgerian has
taught several courses including Introduction to Sociology, Social
Problems, Marriage and Family, Deviance, and Social Psychology.
Arman is happily married
and enjoying the joy of parenthood. Lilly, his daughter, fills his
life with excitement and fun. He loves to travel and is a black belt
in the art of Judo.
Emily Prior, MA
Emily Prior's degrees from
California State University, Northridge include a BA in Psychology,
with minors in Anthropology and Human Sexuality and an MA in
Interdisciplinary Studies, combining Sociology, Anthropology, and
research interests include
sexuality, gender, feminism, identity and representation, deviance,
marginalized subcultures, mixed methods and multi-discipline
In her spare time, Emily
enjoys the outdoors, reading, gardening, sewing and crafts, and most
of all her sweetie of 16+ years and her daughter.
661/219-1213 texts preferred
Gayle Pulliam graduated
from College of the Canyons. She has a BA in Sociology from
California State University, Northridge and will be completing her MA in Sociology at CSUN this
semester. Ms. Pulliam's expertise is in Criminology, Deviance,
Gangs, and Social Problems. She has worked as a tutor and mentor for
at risk adolescents, including active gang members.
Gayle's objective in teaching Sociology is to get students to see
their world through new eyes. If she can show them how often we are
critical, judgmental, and prejudiced and can help them change their
perspective she feels successful.
Although Gayle loves
teaching she spends her spare time with her family, which includes
Joseph Roberson is a former
student athlete from Los Angeles Pierce College and California State
University Northridge. He obtained his Bachelor’s in Sociology and
Masters in Counseling from California State University, Northridge.
Joseph’s current sociological interests include redefining and
reshaping the hyper masculine cultural value system subscribed to by
many young African American and minority males.
resident of the San Fernando Valley, Joseph enjoys spending his time
working with the community, mentoring young people and contemplating
the legacy he would like to leave behind in this world.
Preeta Saxena, Ph.D.
Preeta Saxena earned a
B.S. in Sociology/Law and Society at UC Riverside (2002), an M.A. in
Sociology from CSUN (2007) and a Ph.D. in Sociology, Criminology and
Gender Studies at UC Riverside (2012). She was recently
awarded a Post-Doctoral Training appointment at UCLA's Integrated
Substance Abuse Programs.
Her research areas are
in integrating topics of gender, stigma, criminal behavior, and
substance use. She is particularly interested in gaining an
in-depth understanding of the role that social standards of
masculinity/femininity and social stigma play in explaining
differential patterns of substance abuse and treatment both between
men and women as well as among women.
Schmidt holds a BA in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara and an MA in
Sociology with an emphasis in Gender and Sexuality from Cal State
Northridge. She also holds a Master’s degree in Social Welfare
from UC Los Angeles.
Schmidt’s research interests include issues relating to gender and
sexuality, women’s health, family and domestic violence, and
comprehensive community interventions.
incorporates examples from diverse fields of study-including
sociology, psychology, anthropology, and social work-into the
classes she teaches in order to illustrate the broad relevance of
sociology. He current research is using qualitative methods to
study the process of providing psychosocial nonintervention for
low-income ethnic minority parents.
Angel Valdivia, MA
Angel Valdivia graduated from
College of the Canyons in 1994 and earned his BA in Chicano Studies
and Sociology from UC Santa Barbara. He worked in the private
and public sectors before returning to CSUN to earn an MA in
sociology in 2003. In 2005 he earned a second MA in Sociology at
UCSB. His research focused on political language and spatial
formations. He excavated the Congressional Record from 2001 to 2006
that focused on Saddam Hussein, the Middle-East, Terrorism, and
Weapons of Mass Destruction and how the media and political figures
shaped the imaginary of them.
Professor Valdivia is
currently finishing his Ph.D. in Sociology at UCSB. He is
conducting a social-historical excavation of Panorama City, his home
town. His research focuses on the question, "How is knowledge
historically constituted and spatially situated?" His research
technique allows him to not only dig into the historical processes to
observe how people interact with each other, but adds an under
developed idea in sociology, the question and role of spatial
formations in human interaction.
has recently been
contemplating attending Law School to focus on land issues and or
international trade (economic globalization). But Law School has to
wait until he finishes the Ph.D.!
Mary Valentine, MA
earned her BA and MA in sociology at CSUN. She also has a
Mediation Certificate from the Center for Dispute Resolution.
Ms. Valentine's professional
interests include conflict resolution, gender issues, social
movements, educational quality, and immigration.
Mary has spent more than a decade
Women's Institute, England's oldest and largest women's
organization, made up of more than 250,000 women in over 5,000
villages throughout England. In the process she has
with the WI's most famous members, the Calendar
raised more than $2 million for Leukemia research by
posing for a nude calendar. Here Mary is surrounded by the
Calendar Girls at a press conference in London.
Her personal interests include
travel, especially in England, and photography
Rebekah Villafana, MA
Ms. Villafaña holds a BA and an MA
in Sociology, with an emphasis in Criminology, from California State
University, Northridge. Ms. Villafaña’s areas of research interest
include juvenile delinquency, prison violence, women and poverty,
education, and abuse of power and privilege in child abuse cases.
leisure time, she enjoys exercising, cooking/preparing healthy
dishes, and spending quality time with family.
Esther Villegas-Sandoval, BA
Professor Villegas-Sandoval earned a
BA in Sociology from California State
University, Northridge. She is currently
completing her thesis which explores the
experiences of undocumented immigrant youth as they explore
post-secondary education and
employment prospects after graduation.
Esther hopes that her
research will add to the growing literature on undocumented college
students and encourage individuals to review the current policies that
affect our undocumented community.
Esther has worked extensively with
non-profit organizations and non-public agencies providing direct
services to at-risk youth, low income families, and children with
In her spare time, Esther enjoys
cooking, traveling, and relaxing.
Welch earned his MA in
Sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno after completing his
Ronald E. McNair Scholars Fellowship and BS in Sociology at Boise
Levin’s specific focus is
political economy with interests including social stratification,
globalization, environmental sociology, violence, community, rural
and urban studies, social movements, and the intersections of class,
race, and gender.
Robert Wonser, MA
Professor Wonser earned his BS in Business Administration with an
option in Marketing and his MA in Sociology from CSUN.
research interests include culture, mass media, subcultures, popular
culture, youth culture, consumerism, social stratification,
criminology, and social psychology.
spare time is spent with his new baby who he is training to be a