July/August 2014 Issue • Volume 42 • Issue 6

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Three Sociologists Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

In May, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the election of three sociologists—Peter Bearman, Kathryn Edin, and Kathleen Mullan Harris—among this year’s 84 new members. These newly elected NAS members were recognized for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Members in the Academy, considered one of the highest honors in American science, help write reports on key scientific issues to help inform policymakers’ decisions.

Peter Bearman is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theories and Empirics (INCITE), the Cole Professor of Social Science at Columbia University, and Co-Director of the Health & Society Scholars Program, the Mellon Interdisciplinary Training Program, and OHMA at Columbia University. A specialist in network analysis, he co-designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. He is the author of Doormen (University of Chicago Press, 2005) and is an editor of the Handbook of Analytical Sociology (Oxford University Press, 2009) and edits (with Peter Hedstrom) a series on analytical sociology at the Princeton University Press (PASS). Bearman is currently investigating the social determinants of the autism epidemic. In addition, he is working on the dynamics of lynching in the Deep South, violence in Northern Ireland, the analysis of event and relational sequences, and qualitative research design.

Kathryn Edin is a Distinguished Bloomberg Professor in the Department of Sociology, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She is one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers, deploying ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, and mixed method approaches to work within the domains of welfare and low-wage work, family life, and neighborhood contexts. She has taken on key mysteries about the urban poor that have not been fully answered by quantitative work. Edin has authored or co-authored six books and some 50 journal articles. Her 2005 book, Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood before Marriage, co-authored with Maria Kefalas, sought to answer the question why were so many low-income women having children without marrying. The book has become a classic in the field. 

Kathleen Mullan Harris is the James Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on inter-relationships among family, poverty, and social policy. Harris is Director and Principal Investigator of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a longitudinal study of more than 20,000 teens who are followed into young adulthood. With Add Health data, Harris is studying health disparities, the acculturation of immigrant youth, and the family formation behavior of young adults, including non-marital childbearing, cohabitation and marriage. Under Harris’ leadership, the next wave of Add Health is expanding its biological data collection to bridge biological and social sciences in the study of developmental and health trajectories from adolescence into young adulthood. Harris was elected president of the Population Association of America 2008-09.

The 2014 NAS election was held during the annual meeting of the Academy. NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. The Academy acts as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. Additional information about the institution and a full directory of NAS members can be found at www.nasonline.org/.


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