Sociology Department

The Senior Thesis

The Senior Thesis is the culmination of a student's educational experience. It normally consists of five sections or parts: Part I: Problem Formulation and Statement; Part II: Theory, Literature Review, Hypotheses; Part III: Methods, Data, Design; Part IV: Analysis and Findings; Part V: Summary and Conclusions. It is ideally written in close consultation with a mentor who tries to steer the student's work on a course that will prove most fruitful. Students are expected to become active producers of research, rather than simply passive consumers. This requires considerable familiarity with current research, for the department's practice has been to encourage its seniors to produce original scholarly work that contributes to a distinct subfield of sociology.

As is normally the case at Reed College in the Division of Social Sciences and History, students are also expected to produce drafts of sections of their thesis at regular intervals. In particular, they are expected to submit copies of a completed draft at the midpoint of their second semester, and to substantially revise the document based on feedback received on the draft for a final copy submitted by the due date at the semester's end. As is customary, the thesis concludes with a two-hour oral defense at which the advisor, two members of the Division of Social Sciences and History, and one external examiner, or "fourth" reader, test the student's ability to explain his or her results. The main criteria for the quality of the thesis product are: clarity of research question and supporting rationale; depth of engagement with prior research and ongoing debates in sociology over the topic; suitability of the research design and data for the question at hand or the fit between design, data, research question and theory; quality and depth of data analysis; care and clarity in presenting results; extent to which limits and implication of the analysis are addressed; and overall clarity of the document, its core argument and findings. Students are also evaluated on how well and consistently they engaged thesis tasks over the course of their senior year, incorporated feedback and addressed key issues in revising their drafts, and engaged issues raise during the oral defense.

Although sociology's major paradigms can easily be understood with little quantitative sophistication, current research in the discipline's major journals uses advanced mathematics tools extensively. As a result, the department has a longstanding practice of encouraging students to take graduate or post-graduate level courses at other institutions prior to the start of their senior year, in particular at Ann Arbor's ICPSR Summer Institute, to consult with scholars at other institutions, and to produce the results of their thesis at professional conferences.

Recent Theses


Carl C.B. Backman, "Apollo's Iron Cage: Mission Challenges, Bureaucratic Responses, and Alternative Forms in American Ballet Companies"

Rachel Eliana Bork, "The Influence of Economists on the Social Cost of Carbon"

Hannah Anoa Card, "'Resting time is not wasted time': Chronic Illness, Time Perspectives, and the Reed Student Experience"

Roe Lin Meredyth Gardner, "The 'Troubled Teen' Industry and New Regimes of Punishment"

Ezra Fockens - CRES: Sociology, "Commentary Culture: The Development of an Online ‘Gender Critical’ Movement and Understanding its Popular Manifestations and Backlash with Two Case Studies"

Kiarra Margaret Ko-Madden, "The Formation of Asian American Identity through Social Media"

Max J. Kreppel, "Juggling Private Prisons: Their Rise and Fall"

Kathleen Nyaradzo Kwenda, "Assortative Mating Revisited"

Chloe Lombardo, "Does access to technology disrupt how socio-economic status structures inequalities in engagement with health-related information and services?"

Kayla Luo, "The Myth of Choice: How Women Nurses in the U.S. and China Choose between Work and Family during The Covid-19 Pandemic"

Julianna Crysta Ruff, "Political Polarization and a Narrative Approach to Identity Studies: Paradoxical Othering Processes Between Politically Opposite College Activists"

Madison R Scheafer, "Boots on the Ground: How Bureaucratic and Collectivist Practices Create the Conditions for Resiliency in Street Medicine Organizations"

Sarena Solodoff, "Their Pride and Joy (it’s Perfectly Queer): Supportive Parental Framing and Social Networks in Parenting Transgender and Gender Expansive Children"

Francesca "Frank" Tangherlini, "The Small Liberal Arts Experience: Student Perception of Sexual Misconduct and Title IX on Campus"

Idalis Yazmin Urbina, "Doing Gender to Maximize Tip Revenue as a Restaurant Server"

Rikki Allison Witt, "Generating community efficacy in times of crisis: a study of nonprofit organizations in the COVID-19 pandemic"

Ming Yan, "An Analysis of the Emergence of the Alternative Pet Food Industry"

Cassandra Zimon, "Media Discourse, Framing, and Standing in the Polish Abortion Debate"


Alice Chang, "Race, Criminality, and Legal Advocacy for Justice Reform"

Shep Heaton, "Structural Mortgage Discrimination: Denial and Subprime Lending During the Housing Boom"

Lillyanne Pham, "Feminisms and Instagram in 'Asian America'"

Jessica Riaño, "Feminism on the Frontlines: Understanding Feminism's Influence on Domestic Violence Direct Service Work"

Meredith Riley, "Boxing Up Biological Race: Racial Frameworks in the Consumption of Genetic AncestryTechnologies"

Anna Volz, "Finding a 'match' : student support at liberal arts colleges and the community college transfer”


Nick Egan, “An institutional analysis of diversity and inclusion offices in higher education of the Pacific Northwest”

Ivy He, “Raising up an idol : subjectivity and collectivity in the fandom of Chinese idols : TFBOYS and TF family.”

Molly Johnson, “Whose truth is out there?: knowledge construction in the UFO subculture”

Melissa Molloy, “Ballot integrity or voter suppression?: minority threat theory applied to the case of voter identification laws in the United States”

Michelle Owens, “From criminality to insanity : contesting deviance in mental health courts in Portland, Oregon.”

Asher Sorenson, “Defining deviance : navigating boundaries within the occult”

Shana Waldman, “Growth and greed in the marketplace : organizational alternatives to shareholder value”


Emily Barr, “Co-opting the co-op? : a study of comparative identity expression and the intrusion of market logics in credit unions”

Eleana Binder, “Beyond NIMBYism: neighborhood associations’ responses to homelessness”

Walker Bolan, “The association of gender and fitness”

Alexandra Boyd, “Ethnic studies in the U.S. school system : emergence and institutionalization”

Anneleissa Coen, “Mandingueiras : women’s participation in capoeira in Bahia, Brazil”

Eleanore Denegre, “Gender, race, and artificial intelligence”

Sydney Lewis, “Pain in the assessment : physicians navigating ambiguity, defining roles, and reacting to media attention during the American opioid epidemic”

Sabrina Nelson, “The making of a menstrual movement : online counterpublics of epistemological activism and support”

Eira Nylander Torallas, “Respétame : an ethnographic analysis of perceptions of sexual consent amongst young women in Madrid nightlife”

Janyl Powell, “The tribal gaming tax : an analysis of gaming taxation in the United States”

Katherine Zheng, “Defining and maintaining place for multiethnic communities : non-profit organizations in the prevention of gentrification in Portland’s Jade District”


Elise Levy, "An Army of Lovers Cannot Lose: Queer Publics, Peoples, and Relationships"

Heidi Loening, "Let's Move!: the Obama Administration, Food Policy, and America's Favorite Welfare Program"

Rebeca Willis-Conger, "Gender Work in Science Policy: a Discourse Analysis of NIH's SABV Announcement"

Savanah Walseth, "Sleeping on the Stars: Marginalization on Hollywood's Streets"

Camilla Costanza Turchetti, "Making the Gain Line: an Examination of Women's Rugby in Italy"

Sierra Swann, "Marginalized Voice and Agentive Choice: How Anti-Trafficking Professionals Frame People in Prostitution"

Jordana Ryerson, "Identity and Agency in Overeaters Anonymous"

Caitlin O'Shea, "This Must Not Be the Place for Me: Gender and Inclusive Practice in the Comic Book Industry and Fandom"

Dana Koscielny, "Political Poultry: on the Determinants of Change in the American Egg Industry"

Rosa Kalish, "I Would Kill for Your Body: Mean Girls and Peer Appearance Culture"

Paris Simone Gresham, "Restorative Coaching: Reclaiming Black Male Athletes"

Katerina Galkin, "Setting Aside Affordability: the Fight to Make New York City Affordable Using Inclusionary Zoning"

Alejandro Chavez, "Can Daddy Try?: an Ethnographic Study of Gendered Parenting Strategies in Public Spaces"

Sophia G. Bucci, "Playing With and Within Power: Possibilities for Reconfiguration and Transgression in Lesbian+Queer BDSM"

Franchesca Breedlove, "Risky Business: Risk Calculus and Birth Control Use in College Attending Women"

Anne Brazil Baker, "A Place to Be: How the Houseless Create Homes Outside of the Nonprofit and State System"


Olivia Kilgore, "Media Portrayal of Protesters in Ferguson After the Death of Michael Brown: a Comparison of Local and National Newspapers: August 9, 2014-December 31, 2014"

Kaitlyn R. Jackson, "New Choices in Primary Care: A Statistical Analysis of Urgent Care Patients"

Olivia Dawson, "Following the Scent of Turpentine: the Pearl's Art Galleries and Interactions with Re-Development"

Cris Cambianica, "The Military and Mobility: Racial Differences in Military Occupation Specialties and Life Course Earnings"

Evangeline Archibald Shulman, "Discrimination in Dialogue: the Development of Anti-Harassment Policies Within American Universities and Colleges"


Ben Steele, "The Rise of Walkability: Assessing the Socioeconomic Impact of the New Urbanist Paradigm"

Emma Williams Baron, "Girls and Boys Who Work: Effects of Gendered Adolescent Work Experiences on Career, Education, Family, and Work-Life Balance Aspirations and Expectations"

Helene Wierzbicki, "Rationing Out Justice: an Examination of Court Fees Among the United States in the Aftermath of the Great Recession"

Eleanor Parmentier, "'It's a Wonderful Life?': Community Bank Impacts on Small Business and Entrepreneurship"

Erica Rose Maranowski, "Institutional Foundations of High School Closure in Portland Public Schools: Race, Class, Enrollments, and Budget Cuts"

Mary Lubbers, "Friendships from Behind the Computer Screen: Developing Social Capital Through Online Interactions"

Anika Ledlow, "College Campus Safe Spaces"

Darci Kovacs, "Will No Financial Institution Be Safe?: Cooperative Identity Drift and U.S. Credit Union Adoption of Market-Based Practices"


Olivia Jensen, "Interactions Between Marginalized Status & Social Structure: Quantitative & Choreographic Approaches"

Yu-Ting Yang, "What It Takes to Advance: a Study on Portland's Community-Based Alternative Education System"

Hugh Schlesinger, "An Alternative Ulster: Community Influence on Armed Group Action in the Troubles"

Paulina Saba, "SiÌ Se Puede: How Undocumented Immigrants Overcame Barriers to Political Activism"

Chiara Packard, "Voices Against Violence: the Women's Movement and the Wave of Mobilization Against Rape in India"

Sophie Naranjo-Rivera,"Started from the Bottom Now We're Here: Examining Representations of Black Masculinity in Popular Music"

Emma Mclean-Riggs, "Just a Piece of Paper?: an Examination of Restraining Order Hearings in Multnomah County, Oregon"

Stephanie Maurer, "Teacher Talk: English Language Learning in Refugee Resettlement in Portland, Oregon"

Sam Levin, "Count Me In: Industrial Outcomes of Mathematicians in the United States"

Ari Galper, "Beyond Decoupling: Possibilities for Industrial Change in Accountable Care Organizations"

May 2013

Katharine Chen, "The Commercialization of the Unmanaged Heart"

Daniel Ku, "Disrupting the Network: the Structure of Hacktivism"

Mary Lindeblad-Fry, "Rez-onomics: A Cross Comparative Analysis of Tribal Economic Performance"

Laura Muco, "African Immigration and Assimilation in Portland, Oregon"

Melissa Osborne, "Smoking With Felons: Building Community and Eroding Barriers in the Isolated Liminal Space of Reentry"

Jessa Ramsey, "The Real 'Housewives' of Moscow: Exploring the Wealth, Status and Personal Narratives of Russia's Female Elite"

Talia Tiffany, "Vital Social Ecology: Investigating the State and Forms of Contemporary Intentional Communities"

Brittany Wideman, "The Contemporary Culture of Right Wing Extremism: A Content Analysis on Framing in Mass Media of the Internet Age"

May 2012

Rachel Cole-Jansen, "A study of commercially sexually exploited children in Portland, Oregon"

Ryanne Kikue Fujita-Conrads, "Accepting the foreign : perceived threat, foreigner exclusionism, and social distance from immigrants in the United States and Spain"

Gregory Lawrence, "Digital communication technologies and identity practices in the Occupy Wall Street movement"

Erica Lee, "Transient identities: multiracial identity in a new century"

Nora McConnell-Johnson, "Self enhancement, incorporated: teaching cultural capital to close the achievement gap"

Emmi Obara, "Competing hopes and fears: immigrant parent influence on adolescent ethnic and racial identification"

Adrien Schless-Meier, "Open and accessible to all?: organizational color-blindness in the Portland farmers market"

Katileyn Schwartz Kaufman, "Political effects on prison siting during mass incarceration in California: a qualitative and quantitative analysis"

Patrick Taylor, "Urban development and neighborhood change: local place-making efforts in Portland's Northeast neighborhoods"

May 2011

Jennifer Bautista, "Experiences in vocational education: perpetuating inequalities and the effects on future aspirations"

Kristina Marie Fullerton, "Pre-teen girls of color and beauty ideals in the age of multicultural lipstick commercials"

Ethan Knudson, "Straddling social oceans: immigrant social networks as pathways for transnational entrepreneurship"

Madeline McAdams, "Framing an Inconvenient Truth: a content analysis of television news coverage on Al Gore's climate change activism"

Jamie Perkins, "Recognition of veteran illness in the post-Vietnam era"

Piper Smith, "Mass incarceration and the creation of prisoners as a captive market"

Winnifred Poore Schmidt, "Britpop: the rise and decline of a national product in the British music industry 1991-1997"

Lindsay Simon, "Changes in the marriage institution: effects of parental divorce on offspring gender behavior"

Matt Steele, "The construction of LGBT Mormon identities"

Rebecca Elise Stuewe, "Dominating the gatekeeper: sexual scripts as mechanisms for organizing social behavior"

May 2010

Matthew Burke, "Why securitization?: US and Canadian housing finance systems in historical and comparative perspective"

Jack Byerly, "The Centralia mine fire: Government decision-making, community divisions, and media portrayals"

Michelle Carroll, "Persistence, parental cultivation of capital, and
racial inequality in elite higher education"

Anne Celovsky, How'd he do it? An examination of U.S. health care politics during the Clinton and Obama administrations"

Glenn Harrison, "But I, Somehow, Someway / Keep Coming Up With Funky-Ass Shit Like Every Single Day!" Artists' collaboration networks and success in the case of popular music, 1992-2007"

Peter Jantzen, "Altruistic lawyers? surely not! : structural
embeddedness and civil litigators in Portland Oregon"

Cyd La Luz, "The Sam Adams sex scandal : an analysis of newspaper coverage"

Alyson Sneider,  "Free Spaces and Collective Identity: An Examination of the Transgender Rights Movement"

Kelsey Zorn, "You plus me equals us: The effect of a changing political landscape on the individual calculus of protest participation in post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine"

May 2009

Ryan Cook, “Taking on Goliath: The Emergence of the Wind Energy Industry”

Rachel Cooper, “The Struggle Between Rehabilitation and Punishment: Access to Psychiatric Treatment in State Prison Systems”

Molly Gingras, “Journalists' Conceptions of Journalistic Objectivity: Strategy, Credibility, and the Construction of a Paradigm”

Charli Krause, “Live Free or Drive: Bike Activism and Civic Engagement in Portland, Oregon”

Zoe Vrabel, “The ‘We’ in ‘Yes, we can’: Activist Identity Creation in Obama Volunteers”

December 2008

Adrian Chen, “Death Talk: Media Discourse and the Right to Die Movement, 1990-1995”

May 2008

Maricela Dorado, “Retreating States Confront Newly Activated Publics: Transnational Feminism and State Responses to Violence against Women in Postcommunist Europe”

Samuel Gast, “Embedding Innovation in Shifting Norms of Commercial Collaboration: A Social Network Analysis of the Boston Biotechnology Cluster, 1980-2000”

Annalee Schafranek, “Constructing Feminism and Framing a Movement: A Newspaper Content Analysis”

December 2007

Naomi Kaplowitz, “State Determinants of Prison Privatization”

Hillary Theobald, “A Quantitative Analysis of the Effects of Social Disorganization and Social Diffusion on Youth Gang Proliferation”

Spring 2007

Robin Blanc, “Public School Choice: Institutional Change and Educational Organization in Historical Perspective”

Aya Burgess, “(Philanthropy)™ : The Elite Influence on Giving”

Ana Cikara,: “”A Few Good Men’: The Effect of Sex Ratios on Women's Gender Roles”

Anna Neimeyer, “Intentional Community: Changes in Form, Function, and Commitment in Communal Living”

Sarah Lake, “Bringing Home the Bacon: The Institutionalization and Rise of Local Foods”

Benjamin Rowland, “Out of Sight and Off the Streets: Risk and Enforcement in the Sex Industry”

Emma Stocker, “Recovery in the Parishes of Southeast Louisiana: State Capacity and Community Resources in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina”

December 2006

Gerald Johnson, “Why Firms Decide to Offer Health Insurance to their Employees”

May 2006

Alex Bradspies, “An Exploration of Individual and Contextual Factors Affecting the Racial Wealth Gap”

Jamaica Brown, “’Remember to eat and sleep’: Online Games, Offline Lives”

Rebecca Fureigh, “The Backlash against Political Correctness”

Adam Goldstein, “The Community Context of Form Conversion”

Lauren Lanahan, “Overcoming Racial Inequalities: Recent Integrating Trends in the United States”

Clio Sady, “Trash Talking in Queer Activism”

Todd Schifeling, “Inside The Environmental Planetarium: How Green Ideas Move”

Jennifer Seminatore, “From Negotiation to Critique: The Changing Character of U.S. Labor and Environmental Movements Confronting Issues of International Trade”

Taylor Sutton, “Trusting the Human Genome Process”

May 2005

Thuan Duong, “Lost In Translation: Identity And Incorporation In The Vietnamese Second-Generation”

Colette Gordon, “Mobilizing Beyond Crisis: Police Accountability Organizing in Portland, Oregon”

Abigail Kahn, “Negotiating Sex in the Classroom: A Study of Sexuality Education in Oregon Public Schools”

Dorothy Walker, “Electrifying! An Analysis of Consumer Cooperatives In America”

May 2004

Eliot Levin, “Beyond the Iron Law: Structure and Behavior in Public Sector Labor Organization”

Mary Murphy, “The Mediating Role of Neighborhood Context in Predicting Rates of Female Headship: Assessing the Relative Impact of TANF Welfare Policies“

Althea Swett, “Family Roles, Resources, and the Gender Gap in Depression”

Sean Thomson, “Who Protests? A Quantitative Analysis of Protest Participation using the ‘American Civic Participation Survey’"

May 2003

Rachel Crocker, “Understanding The Effects Of Welfare State Devolution: The Implications Of Ethnic Competition And Welfare Magnet Theory”

Daniel Etra, “(R)evolution of the Wind Electricity Industry: A Study of Technological, Organizational and Institutional Change, 1980-2003”

Jennifer Flashman, “How Schools Structure Inequality: The Effects of High School Tracking On Status Attainment”

Keith Malik, “West Meets East: U.S. Involvement in the Ukrainian Women’s Rights Movement”

Lynn Pazzani, “The Social Construction of Rape: Individual and Contextual Effects”

Sarah Ross, “Informal Diversion: A Dilemma in Juvenile Justice”

Lindsey Selden, “Patterns of Mexican American Collective Action, Organizational Mobilization, and Identification”

May 2002

Chris Cone, “The Blame Game: Racial Attitude Formation Regarding Poverty

Robert Kelley, “Corporate Interests In The Corporate Newspaper”

Laura Mangels, “A Quantitative Approach To Gangs: Social Disorganization And Ethnic Competition”

Julia Sandler, “On Modernity And Madness: Endorsing The Medical Professions”

December 2002

Marissa King, “Cooptation or Cooperation? The Role of Transnational Activists in the Zapatista Movement

May 2001

Derek Darves-Bornoz, “Class, Corporations and the Intercorporate Network: Fortune 500 Firms in the US Trade Policy Formation Process”

Lucas Dauter, “Testing Theories of Ethnic Sentiment: The Case of Yugoslavia"

Lauren Golden, “Coalition Building Around Land Use and Affordable Housing: A Case Study of Portland, Oregon from 1995 to 2000”

Scott Jones, “Alternative Work, Partial Returns”

May 2000

Junette McWilliams, “Social Organization And Deviant Behavior: An Analysis Of Suburban Adolescent Drug Use”

Jeff Jassmond, “Growing Meaning: The Organic Foods Movement and Processes of Framing”

Clayton Szcech, “Beyond Autonomy or Dominance: The Political Sociology of Prison Expansion”