Dr. Mazelis is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and the 2016-2017 Undergraduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, and an affiliated scholar at Rutgers-Camden’s Center for Urban Research and Education (CURE). She received her B.A. from Binghamton University of the State University of New York and her M.A. and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Mazelis teaches Introduction to Sociology, Sociological Theory, Social Stratification, and Urban Sociology. She was in the inaugural cohort of Civic Engagement Faculty Fellows and received a Chancellor’s Award for Academic Civic Engagement in 2012.


Dr. Mazelis specializes in the study of urban poverty and social ties, using qualitative interview methods to explore the meaning and understanding people have of their own situations. Her book, Surviving Poverty: Creating Sustainable Ties Among the Poor, based on her research in Philadelphia, is forthcoming from NYU Press.

She has published on the views of welfare-reliant women (with coauthors Ellen K. Scott, Kathryn Edin, and Andrew S. London), in the volume For Better and For Worse (Russell Sage, 2001). She also co-wrote with the Census Bureau’s Laryssa Mykyta an article that appeared in Journal of Marriage and Family on the role of marital and relationship status in financial support from kin to new parents. The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States (2015), includes three contributions by Mazelis: one on social ties among the poor; one, coauthored with President of Campus Compact Andrew Seligsohn, on the consequences of deindustrialization and neoliberalism in Camden, New Jersey, the poorest city in America; and one, coauthored with Rutgers alumnus Brendan Gaughan, on poverty stigma and Occupy Wall Street rhetoric. She authored an article on reciprocity among the poor (Journal of Poverty), and her work with Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers-Camden, is published in Urban Studies (and profiled in The Atlantic’s CityLab) and in Social Indicators Research.

Dr. Mazelis is currently engaged in two new research projects. One, “The Cost of a College Degree: How Students Pay for College, the Unequal Transition to Adulthood, and the Transmission of Inequality,” with collaborator Arielle Kuperberg, Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, is a mixed methods research project exploring the role of student loan debt in the college experience and future aspirations and expectations of graduating seniors, with a longitudinal component examining their transition out of college. The other, “Urban Gardens, Social Ties, and Community: Loud Successes, Quiet Failures,” with collaborator Bridget Costello, Associate Professor at King’s College, is a comparative study exploring the role of urban gardens in community cohesion and social capital in Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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