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Sociology's Jesse Diaz Recipient of Minority Fellowship


By Stephanie Wejbe, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

The Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) of the American Sociological Association announced graduate student, Jesse Diaz, Jr., to be among the seven new fellows, comprising the 30th cohort. The cohort consists of Ph.D. students in the field of sociology pursuing doctorate degrees with emphases in mental health. Jesse was selected based on his research interests in Chicano gang members and day laborers.

Jesse Diaz received his B.A. in Chicano Psychology from Pitzer College. He is also a recipient of the 2003 Ernesto Galarza Research Center Faculty Grant. Diaz was informed of the program by former MFP fellow and advisor, Jose Calderon, professor of Sociology and Chicano studies at Pitzer College. Diaz’s senior thesis examined the social support among Chicano gang members relative to immediate or extended family members and their peers. Issues regarding self-esteem, acculturation, and stress made Diaz’s research distinctive from the rest of the fellows in the cohort, demonstrating the diversity of the cohort itself.

Diaz commented on how UCR “gave me the opportunity to pursue my research” as well as being supportive of participation in research activities, including presenting at conferences. At the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Diaz has aligned himself with professors who guide him through his research, particularly Professor Scott Coltrane (from the Department of Sociology) with whom he plans to collaboratively work regarding research of discrimination comparing full-time employed Mexican-American fathers, and day laborers. This data will be extracted from the “Parents and Youth Study,” in which Dr. Coltrane is a principal investigator, and where Diaz has been employed as a research assistant for over a year.

In the future, Diaz plans to pursue more research on gang groups, but evaluating them in relation to college students. The approach seeks to discover who has more violent tendencies to prevent further demonizing of specific target groups such as gangs, who based on his scaled findings scored low on violence.

Diaz highly encourages those who are interested in applying for the MFP fellowship to seek his assistance. Minority fellowships are open to undergraduates in any major, who wish to pursue a doctorate degree in sociology with an emphasis in mental health issues, and to first and second year sociology graduate students with the same interests. Diaz emphasized that “the very prestigious fellowship” comes with a host of opportunities including a monthly stipend, various grant possibilities, research mentors, as well as full travel and accommodations benefits.


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