PhD in Sociology of Education

Catherine Kramarczuk Voulgarides

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Expected Date of Graduation: May 2014

Why did you choose to pursue a Doctoral degree in Sociology of Education?

I chose to pursue a doctoral degree in sociology of education because I was incredibly curious about the intersection between educational practice and the goals of educational policy. The degree offers me a creative scholarly avenue to explore how the work being done in schools relates to broader social trends and educational outcomes.

Please describe the focus of your research:

My research investigates the role of legal compliance to federal disability legislation when addressing racial/ethnic disproportionality in special education. I use ethnography and interviewing, in conjunction with sociological organizational theory, to explore how legally mandated equity is interpreted in practice and how legal mandates relate to the entrenched complexities and inequities of the American education system. I specifically focus on how school district leaders interpret and enact policy and how their actions relate to the social context of the districts they work in.

Professor or scholar who has influenced you the most:

Dr. Pedro Noguera, my adviser, has influenced me the most. I have also been influenced by Richard Arum at NYU and by the writings of John Meyer on neoinstitutionalism. Lisa Stulberg has also been very influential and supportive.

Fellowships and Awards:

  • Research Assistant for 4 years at the New York University Metropolitan Center for Urban Education
  • Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education Fellow

  • Mitchell Leaska Dissertation Research Award

What are your career goals?

I envision my career expanding beyond the field of sociology of education to include collaboration with scholars of equity, law and policy. I am interested in building a career that explores how well intentioned policies are translated to practice and how they interact with the historical, economic and social realities of America.

What do you like the most about the Sociology of Education program at NYU Steinhardt?:

I like the flexibility of the program. Depending on your interests you can weave theory and practice into a unique scholarly trajectory.