For Cecilia Menjívar, M.A. ’86, Ph.D. ’92, sociology hooked her early on.
“It was a natural thing to study sociology, to have a more critical approach to study social life, to study why things happen,” said Menjívar. “I’ve always been interested in those questions, and sociology answers them.”
Menjívar, who holds the Dorothy L. Meier Social Equities Chair at UCLA, was recently elected president of the American Sociological Association. Currently president-elect, she will assume the new office in August 2021.
With more than 12,000 members, the ASA advances the science and profession of sociology. And, Menjívar said, with several societal challenges at hand, sociologists are poised to help.
“At this time, I have to think about how sociologists can respond from our position, our way of thinking, to the challenges that we have during the multiple crises we are living right now,” she said.
Her own research into the effects of immigration laws and enforcement is currently on hold, due to the pandemic, though she keeps in touch with many of her research participants.
This quarter, she’s teaching graduate students and making the most of the technology available to optimize remote learning.
“I miss being in the classroom with the students, but at the same time, this format allows for a different type of teaching and more interaction, using all the technology available,” she said. “We have to adapt to make the best of this. I’m optimistic about it.”