May/June 2010 Issue • Volume 38 • Issue 5

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Four Sociologists Elected
to the National Academies

Four sociologists were among the 72 scientists elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in April. NAS recognized the new members for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

"I was very surprised and honored to be elected to the NAS," said Mary C. Waters, Harvard University. "I had no idea I had been nominated, so when I learned I had been elected … it was really good news from out of the blue."

Joining Waters as new NAS members are sociologists Robert D. Mare of the University of California-Los Angeles, Gary King of Harvard University, and Greg J. Duncan of University of California-Irvine.

A private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare, NAS acts as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. Membership in NAS is considered one of the highest honors in American science.

"I hope to be an active member and become involved in the work of the academy," said Waters, who noted that the election results have earned her some legitimacy—from her kids, at least. "On a personal note, my children have been very impressed that I now have official proof that I am a scientist," she said.

"We are proud that the academy elected four social scientists to join this prestigious group, and believe that the election of Waters, Mare, King, and Duncan highlights the important contributions sociologists make to science," said Sally Hillsman, ASA Executive Officer.

Mary C. Waters is the M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, where she has taught since 1986. Waters chaired the sociology department in 2007 and from 2001–05. An Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow, her current research examines the integration of the children of immigrants in the United States and Europe and young adults who survived Hurricane Katrina. Waters, who earned a PhD in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley, is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on immigration, ethnicity, race relations, and young adulthood. Some of her most recent work includes a special issue of the journal The Future of Children on the transition to adulthood, which she co-edited, and Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age, a book she co-authored and that won the ASA’s Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award in 2010.

Robert D. Mare is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Statistics at the University of California-Los Angeles, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1998. At UCLA, Mare served as the founding director of the California Center for Population Research from 1998- 2003. Previously, he spent 20 years on the faculty of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mare, who earned a PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan, has been a Guggenheim fellow, a Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences fellow, and a winner of the ASA Methodology Section’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award. In addition, he was recently elected as an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow. Mare’s areas of research expertise include social stratification, demography, and quantitative research methods. His research focuses on the connection between demographic processes and social inequality. Currently, Mare is collaborating on a study of the causes and consequences of mixed-income housing and neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Gary King is the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor in Harvard University’s Department of Government, and serves as the director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. He develops and applies empirical methods in many areas of social science research, focusing on innovations that range from statistical theory to practical application. King has produced more than 120 journal articles, 15 open source software packages, and eight books, which span most aspects of political methodology, many fields of political science, and several other scholarly disciplines. King has received numerous honors during his career including American Statistical Association fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow, Guggenheim fellow, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow.

Greg J. Duncan is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Education at the University of California-Irvine. Previously, he had been the Edwina S. Tarry Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, 1995-2008. Duncan spent the first two decades of his career at the University of Michigan, where he worked on and ultimately directed the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data collection project. PSID collects economic, demographic, health, behavior and attainment data from a representative sample of U.S. individuals and the families in which they reside. PSID was the only social science project to be named one of the National Science Foundation’s "Nifty Fifty," the most significant NSF-funded projects in the organization’s 50-year history, in 2001. Duncan has published on issues of income distribution, child poverty, and welfare dependence. An American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow, he has served as president of the Midwest Economics Association, president of the Population Association of America, and currently serves as president of the Society for Research in Child Development.

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