Dr. Mazelis is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, an affiliated scholar at Rutgers-Camden’s Center for Urban Research and Education (CURE), a Faculty Affiliate at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Research on Poverty, and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network; her key findings research brief can be found here and her interview with SSN’s No Jargon podcast can be found here. She serves as Sociology Compass Associate Editor for the Section on Social Stratification and served as the co-leader of the Scholars Strategy Network’s New Jersey/Philadelphia chapter 2018-2021. 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, and occasional courses on homelessness for the Honors College. 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 has specialized 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 with NYU Press, Surviving Poverty: Creating Sustainable Ties Among the Poor, is based on her research in Philadelphia. You can listen to her talk about her book in an interview with the New Books Network. She also authored an article on sustainable tie creation in a 2020 special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science: Do Networks Help People to Manage Poverty? Perspectives from the Field. She also wrote about social ties in the context of distancing during the pandemic.
She 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 using survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). More recently, she and Mykyta authored another article in Journal of Marriage and Family using the qualitative addition to the Fragile Families study, the Time, Love, and Cash in Couples with Children Study (TLC3) to explore how new parents talk about accessing and avoiding support from family. She has also 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).
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, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers-Camden, is published in Urban Studies (and profiled in The Atlantic’s CityLab) and in Social Indicators Research. She also authored an Oxford Bibliographic entry: “Welfare, Race, and the American Imagination,” with Stephen Pimpare.
Dr. Mazelis is currently engaged in a research project funded by the National Science Foundation, “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, Associate Professor at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. This 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 authors recently published a brief report and a journal article based on their research.
- Dr. Mazelis wrote for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star about the need for a raise in the minimum wage
- Dr. Mazelis wrote about the challenges facing mothers during the pandemic for The Society Pages by the Council on Contemporary Families
- Dr. Mazelis wrote about why some people don’t want to ask for help for The Society Pages by the Council on Contemporary Families
- Dr. Mazelis’s research was discussed in depth on Episode 23 of the Attached Podcast
- Dr. Mazelis wrote for The Hill about how the stigmatization of poor people leads to punitive and wasteful policies
- Dr. Mazelis was interviewed for the Scholars Strategy Network’s podcast No Jargon
- Dr. Mazelis wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer about proposed 2019 budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Dr. Mazelis wrote about her research for Families As They Really Are, a project of the Council on Contemporary Families
- Dr. Mazelis was interviewed about her book for The Society Pages by the Council on Contemporary Families
- Dr. Mazelis was interviewed on This is the Zero Hour With RJ Eskow
- Dr. Mazelis was a guest on The 1A on National Public Radio
- Dr. Mazelis wrote for The Washington Post to counter the idea that poor people can escape poverty with the right mindset
- Dr. Mazelis wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer about the use of public space and neighborhood safety
- Dr. Mazelis was interviewed about her book for the New Books Network
- Dr. Mazelis wrote for Newsworks on proposed 2018 budget cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Dr. Mazelis was quoted in:
- this article in Politifact
- this article, this article, this article, this article, this article, this article, and this article in The Philadelphia Inquirer
- this article in the Pennsylvania Capital Star
- this article in PlanPhilly
- this article in The Press of Atlantic City
- this today.com piece
- this wallethub.com piece on “2015’s Best and Worst States for Underprivileged Children” as a member of a panel of experts.
- this Courier-Post article
- this today.com piece
- Her research was profiled in Al Día
- Her research with Dr. Okulicz-Kozaryn was profiled here, here, and here
- Her book was discussed by the Center for Urban Research and Education