Elizabeth Roe

Sociology, '20 working with Lecturer in Sociology, Jonathan Mijs

During my senior spring semester in 2020, I worked with Professor Jonathan Mijs on a 92R project. The 92R was originally initiated because Professor Mijs was in the process of writing a book, and he wanted help with conducting literature reviews. The aim of the research was to answer the question: As socioeconomic inequalities have grown between 1970 and 2020, have rich and poor Americans become increasingly isolated? We completed a comprehensive literature review focusing on segregation trends along four central realms of life: 1) Social networks, 2) Neighborhoods, 3) Schools, and 4) Workplaces. We found that socioeconomic segregation among all four of these pillars has indeed grown since 1970. This conclusion introduces a host of policy implications and areas for future research.

Although the project was initially intended as a literature review for Professor Mijs’ book, we soon realized that our research may merit its own publication. We continued to work on the project through the pandemic after the 92R semester had ended. We crafted our research into a review article, and after several rounds of revisions, it was accepted for publication in Sociology Compass, a peer-reviewed journal. It was my first publication experience in which I had first authorship (Professor Mijs and I shared first authorship). Throughout the project, I learned more about the process of both conducting literature reviews and publishing articles. I intend to dedicate my career to research (particularly research related to inequalities), so this experience was truly invaluable. Furthermore, completing the extensive literature review enhanced my understanding of inequalities in America and reinforced my interest in exploring interventions to redress them.

Although the publication was an exciting result of the 92R project, much more important was the working relationship that I formed with Professor Mijs. I am still amazed that I had the chance to work so closely one-on-one with someone as accomplished as he is. We had weekly meetings for several months, during which I learned more about his research and received regular feedback on my work. I consider Professor Mijs a great mentor to me, and I will continue to keep in touch with him throughout my career. I think it is very rare for undergraduates in other settings to get this kind of exposure to faculty research, so I would absolutely urge students to get involved.