A Message from the Chair

Submitted by Ellen Palms on
Rick Bonus, Professor and Chair

Welcome to school year 2021-2022! I write this in struggle with you, given all the hardships brought about by our ongoing pandemic, by worldwide calamities and conflicts, and by our continuing attempts to reckon with social inequalities. I also write this in the spirit of hope and renewal, to remind ourselves of everything else that we do and try to achieve in spite of our struggles. It is through these contexts that I share with you some great news about AES that provide us reasons to appreciate all the hard work we do and acknowledge all the good fortune that we receive.

First off, a big welcome to our newest faculty member, Oliver Rollins! Oliver comes to us from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Louisville, having been trained as a medical sociologist and already such an accomplished scholar of biosocial sciences and race. We also welcome in advance Maryam Aziz, a scholar of African American popular culture, martial arts, and sports from the University of Michigan, who will be joining us next year after she finishes her postdoctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University.

I want to give recognition to the rest of our meritorious AES faculty and staff for their individual achievements in research, teaching, and service that, in turn, have provided our collective a deeper sense of group pride. A good selection of their accomplishments includes Jang Wook Huh’s National Endowment for the Humanities Award; La TaSha Levy’s Simpson Center’s First Book Fellowship and Royalty Research Fund grant; Alina Méndez’s residence scholarship at the School for Advanced Research and fellowship from the Ford Foundation; Linh Thủy Nguyễn’s LUCE Southeast Asia grant (as co-winner) and Royalty Research Fund grant; LaShawnDa Pittman’s election as chair of the Race, Gender, and Class section of the American Sociological Association; Carolyn Pinedo-Turnovsky’s collaborative research grant from the Simpson Center; Sonnet Retman’s Simpson Center grant; Lauro Flores’ project to organize “Poetry and Social Justice;” and Devon Peña’s presidency of The Acequia Institute. I highlight the successes of our teaching professors, Connie So, Jacqueline Waita, and Kell Juan, for their high-caliber pedagogy and vibrant community engagement. And, of course, a round of applause to the most hardworking support staff we have: Anjélica Hernández-Cordero, Lorna Hamill, and Ellen Palms.

I offer my commendations and congratulations to our amazing students, including those who have graduated with their degree in AES and/or their minor in Diversity. For many years now, we have been the beneficiaries of their intellect and energies. I am always in awe when interacting with them or when I hear them doing something good. Some of them are featured in our newsletter, so once you read about them, you will know what I mean.

Being AES’ current leader has brought me immense satisfaction as well as motivation to continue doing my work in school transformation. Last year, I was indeed thrilled that my book, The Ocean in the School, out of Duke University Press, came out as a culmination of a multiple year-long ethnography I did with Pacific Islander students and their allies who were engaged in transforming our very own university. The conduct of this project and the writing of this book were deeply inspired by students I myself have taught and mentored ever since I started at UW.

We are all pleased and proud to offer you our set of diverse stories in our newsletter. Do stay in touch and share with us your achievements as well. You belong to our AES community!

Rick Bonus