PhDs on the Market

The Department of Sociology at Michigan State University is proud to present our current job market candidates. Our program promotes sociological understanding and produces scholars who confront global social problems. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the candidates or the Academic Program Coordinator.

Katherine Dentzman, PhD

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Dissertation Title: ‘I would say that might be all it is, is hope’: Disruption, attachment, and farmers’ framing of herbicide resistant weeds

Dissertation Committee: Ray Jussaume (chair), Stephen Gasteyer, Wynne Wright, and Karen Renner 

img_3163-katie.jpgKatherine's dissertation stemmed from her participation in an interdisciplinary project with participants from seven universities across the US with specializations in economics, weed science, and sociology. They investigated the socio-environmental impacts of herbicide-resistant weeds and farmers’ management of these weeds in corn and soybean systems. Katherine's particular research on this project had three foci: 1) the role of master frames and socio-technical imaginaries in farmers’ decision making, 2) how the geographic distribution of herbicide weeds creates place disruptions leading to different kinds of weed management practices and environmental outcomes, and 3) the utility of a mixed methods framework for researching agri-environmental phenomenon from a sociological perspective. This project greatly enhanced Katherine's experience and familiarity with organizing and leading focus groups; developing, implementing, and analyzing surveys; and working with a diverse interdisciplinary research team. Her time on this project sparked a love of both qualitative and quantitative research, as well as interdisciplinarity. She is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Washington State University with Dr. Jessica Goldberger working on the transdiciplinary project 'Performance and Adoptability of Biodegradable Plastic Mulch for Sustainable Specialty Crop Production' under USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative award 2014-51181-22382.

Riva Denny, PhD

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Riva Denny CV

Dissertation Title: A Cross Scale Examination of How Knowledge and the Physical Environment Influence the Use of Best Management Practices in US Commodity Agriculture

Dissertation Committee: Sandra Marquart-Pyatt (chair), Aaron McCright, Stephen Gasteyer, G. Philip Robertson (Dept. of Plant, Soil & Microbial Sciences), Diana Stuart (Northern Arizona University)

denny.jpgI am a sociologist with interdisciplinary research interests in the environment, agriculture, food systems, development, human-environment systems, natural resources, and water policy. I use both qualitative and quantitative methods at multiple scales and specialize in using multi-equation regression techniques like multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling with latent variables (SEMLV), and longitudinal analysis. I work extensively with large secondary datasets, frequently drawing from multiple sources to create my own datasets. I also use survey and in-depth interview data. My research falls into two broad areas: Agriculture and the Environment, and Food Systems, Food Security and Development. I received my PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University in 2018, with specializations in Environmental Science and Policy, and Ecological Food and Farming Systems, and a certificate in Environmental and Social Systems Modeling. I am currently a Research Associate in the MSU Department of Sociology. In 2012 I completed my MS in Rural Sociology from Auburn University. My master's thesis investigated the differences between red meat inspection regulations at the state and federal levels and the implications that these differences have for small slaughterhouses and local meat production and distribution systems. I have a BA in Anthropology from Boston University.