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Faculty Bios

Sunita BoseSunita Bose completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University at Albany in 2005.  Since then she has been an active member of the Sociology Department and the Asian Studies Program at New Paltz. Originally a native of India, her undergraduate degree in Economics is from the University of Calcutta, India. Her substantive areas of interest include gender and families with a regional focus on South Asia. Her current research includes fieldwork in India on girl's education as well as other research on gender discrimination, marriage and families, and HIV/AIDS in India. Her courses are often cross listed with Women's Studies and/or Asian Studies and provide an international perspective for interested students.

Karl BryantKarl Bryant, Ph.D. (University of California-Santa Barbara) is an Assistant Professor in both Sociology and Women's Studies. His research is in the overlapping areas of gender, sexuality, childhood studies, science studies, and the sociology of knowledge. His has published in Deviant Behavior, Journal of Sex Research, Sexualities,and Sexuality Research & Social Policy. He is currently completing a history of the psychiatric diagnosis “Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood,” and is studying the scientific wing of “Ex-Gay” movements. Professor Bryant is also part of an international team studying societal impacts of emerging nanotechnologies. He teaches courses on sexuality, gender, queer studies, and social inequalities.

Donna ChaffeeDonna Chaffee, LCSW, obtained her Master's in Social Work degree in 1977.  She joined the Sociology department at SUNY New Paltz in 2004.  Donna teaches in the Concentration in Human Services, as well as teaching a course in juvenile delinquency and an International Social Welfare course in Spain.  As a licensed clinical social worker, Donna's main area of expertise is in the field of child welfare.  She holds a post-graduate certificate in the area of family therapy and for 30 years has worked as a clinical social worker and administrator in agencies serving children, adolescents, and families.  She continues to provide staff development and quality assurance oversight to local child welfare agencies.

Mette ChristiansenMette Christiansen, LMSW, obtained her social pedagogical degree and practiced in Denmark before coming to the US. After practicing as a direct care worker and social worker in the US, Mette is now the Director of the Concentration in Human Services in the Department of Sociology.  In collaboration with colleague Donna Chaffee, she teaches courses in the Concentration in Human Services. Mette's teaching is inspired by working with various populations in the field and a commitment to professionalizing the field of human services. Mette is pursuing her Ph.D. in Social Welfare at SUNY Albany.  Areas of research and interest include: professional socialization and education of human services and social workers and international social welfare.

Alexandra CoxAlexandra Cox received her Ph.D. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge in 2012.  She was awarded a Gates Cambridge scholarship, which is given to students with leadership potential who are committed to improving the lives of others.  For her dissertation research, Alexandra spent a year following the lives of approximately 40 teenagers who spent time in New York's juvenile justice system.  In 2010, Alexandra was awarded a Soros Justice Advocacy fellowship to conduct an action research project aimed at understanding staff resistance to juvenile justice reform.  She has published her academic work in Punishment and Society andthe Journal of Youth Studies, but has also written for the popular media, in the Huffington Post and City Limits, among other places. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Alexandra worked as a researcher at the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Policy Litigation Project, then at the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of Legal Affairs, in San Francisco, where she also volunteered at the Alameda County syringe exchange. She went on to work as a mitigation specialist at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a community-based public defender's office in New York City.  She is on the board of Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, an organization that helps to build libraries in juvenile facilities and supports author visits to those facilities. 

Judy HalaszJudith Halasz received her Ph.D. from the City University of New York in 2007. Her scholarship and teaching focus on culture, film, urban life, labor, and social theory. Her recent and current projects include an ethnographic and historical study of bohemian life on the Lower East Side of New York City, a statistical analysis of de facto segregation in New York City housing programs, and an examination of gender politics in French avant-garde cinema. She has published in Sociological Forum, Across the Disciplines, and The Drama Review.

Mat JeckerByrneMat JeckerByrne has close to twenty years experience teaching sociology to undergraduate students.  His teaching style is engaging and exciting, aimed at fostering students' learning and reflection skills, and accomplished through innovative assignments, classroom exercises, and traditional lecture.  Dr. JeckerByrne's academic interests include; the sociology of culture, American society, the American Funeral Service, and social inequality and the middle classes.  He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center in June of 2000 defending the dissertation, Dealing with Death: Problems and Responses in American Funeral Practice.

Peter KaufmanPeter Kaufman received his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University and joined the faculty at SUNY New Paltz in 1999. He teaches a wide range of classes including Introduction to Sociology, Sociological Theory, Education and Society, Social Interaction, and the Sociology of Sport. Peter's research interests have also been somewhat broadly defined. He has written about social-class reproduction and identity formation; athletes who engage in social and political activism; and strategies to incorporate critical pedagogy into the sociology classroom.
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Brian ObachBrian Obach received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2000 and came to SUNY New Paltz the same year.  He teaches courses on social movements, environmental sociology and political economy.  His research interests include social movement coalitions, political economy, labor unions, and the environmental movement. He is the author of several articles and a book entitled, Labor and the Environmental Movement: The Quest for Common Ground (MIT Press 2004).  He is currently conducting a study funded by the National Science Foundation on the organic agriculture movement.  He is also active with the faculty union and chairs the campus Environmental Task Force.
Web site

Anne RoschelleAnne R. Roschelle is an Associate Professor. Her teaching interests include social welfare, poverty, the social construction of race, class, and gender through film, and racial-ethnic families. Anne is the author of numerous articles on the intersection of race, class, and gender with a focus on extended kinship networks, family poverty, homelessness, and work and family in Cuba. She is the author of No More Kin: Exploring Race, Class, and Gender in Family Networks, which was a recipient of Choice Magazines 1997 Outstanding Academic Book Award. Anne is an avid hiker and plays flute in a local rock band called Questionable Authorities.

Irwin SperberIrwin Sperber received his Ph. D. in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley (1975), and was actively engaged in the anti-war movement there during the late sixties. His areas of interest include sociological theory, social psychology, health and environmental policy, and the sociology of science. His study of irrationality in the scientific community, Fashions in Science (University of Minnesota Press, 1991), attracted heated controversy in some academic journals. He is presently an associate editor for Capitalism, Nature and Socialism, an international journal devoted to radical ecology, and has made presentations at national and international conferences in that capacity. He is now completing a manuscript, Toward a New Medical Sociology, under contract with the Academica Press.

Roberto Vélez-VélezRoberto Vélez-Vélez received his Ph.D. from SUNY-University at Albany in 2008 and joined the Sociology Department in fall 2010. He teaches courses on Social Inequality, Political Sociology, Research Methods, Media and Society and Social Movements. His research has focused on the anti-military movement in Vieques (1999-2005) and the different points of impact upon Puerto Rican social and political space. He is also interested on collective/social memory and social movements, gender and memory, and Puerto Rican and Latin American Studies. He has written on the significance of gender in social movements, Latin American-U.S. political dynamics, and the role of remembrance in mobilization processes at Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Eve WatermaurerEve Waltermaurer, PhD is a social epidemiologist who joined the Sociology department in 2005 to coordinate the Criminology Concentration. Dr. Waltermaurer has been studying violence since the late 1990's and continues to research intimate partner violence and delinquent behavior. Her criminology courses include criminological theory, delinquency, and sociology of violence. She has also published a number of papers related to research methodology and teaches the two methods courses for the department.