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Faculty & Staff

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Paul Van Auken, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Chair, Oshkosh Campus

Office: Sage 4611

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Jeremiah Bohr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Oshkosh Campus

Office: Sage 4617

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Dr. Van Auken Bio

Paul Van Auken has been a member of the sociology and environmental studies faculty at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 2007, after completing a Ph.D. in sociology from UW-Madison. Prior to that he obtained an M.A. in urban affairs & public policy at the University of Delaware and then worked in the nonprofit sector doing community and economic development for several years. At UWO, Paul has regularly taught classes about rural sociology, sociology of the modern city, environment and society, population problems, applied sociology, and courses in the University Studies Program, for which he was a member of the design committee. A native of Iowa but resident of Wisconsin since 1999, Paul is chair of the Department of Sociology. He conducts research on issues related to community, immigration, land use planning and access to public space, sustainability, and teaching and learning. His most recent academic publication is “Toward a Fusion of Two Lines of Thought: Creating Convergence Between Aldo Leopold and Sociology Through the Community Concept” in Socio-Ecological Practice Research. Paul also practices public sociology, regularly writing a column called “Shortening the Distance” for local independent media outlet Oshkosh Independent. He helped found United Faculty & Staff of UW Oshkosh, a union local for the American Federation of Teachers-WI, has played in several rock bands over the years, and enjoys life in the Menominee South neighborhood of Oshkosh with his wife and two daughters.

Dr. Bohr Bio

Jeremiah Bohr came to UWO in 2015 after completing his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research areas include climate change denial, politics, and communication, energy consumption, and computational social science methods. He has published in journals such as Global Environmental ChangeSocial Forces, and Environmental Politics, and had his research discussed in outlets such as The GuardianBloombergTime, and others. His courses include Introduction to Sociology, Environment & Society, Social Data Science, Social Networks & Organizations, Social Research, and Social Stratification.

Greg Peter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Fox Cities Campus

Office: Fox Main Building 1511

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Alphonso Simpson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of African American Studies, Oshkosh Campus

Office: Sage 4609

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Dr. Peter Bio

I am currently an environmental and rural sociologist with specialties in food systems, agriculture, and the environment as well as community studies and development.  I was the Service Learning Coordinator for the UW-Colleges for two years and part of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service.  I earned a BA in East Asian Studies with an Environmental Studies minor at UW-Madison, an MS in Rural Sociology and PhD in Sociology at Iowa State University.  I am a co-author of a book, two book chapters, several articles, and dozens of research presentations on rural sociology, sustainable agriculture, and the interface between the environment and society. 

Dr. Simpson Bio

Alphonso joined the Sociology Department in the Fall of 2019. He also serves as the director of the African American Studies Program here at UWO. After 18 years as a professor of African American Studies at Western Illinois University, Dr. Simpson has embraced UWO with zeal and enthusiasm. He completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in African American Studies and Music from the University of Wyoming. A native of Andalusia, Alabama, Alphonso has studied across the country but is very excited to call Oshkosh, Wisconsin home. He enjoys spending time outside of the classroom with his wife and two daughters and their Yorkie, Chewy. 

Orlaith Heymann, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Oshkosh Campus

Office: 4613

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Juyeon Son, Ph.D.
Professor, Oshkosh Campus

Office: Sage 4615

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Dr. Heymann Bio

Orlaith (Orla) Heymann joined the UWO Sociology Department in 2022 after completing her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Cincinnati and her M.A. in applied sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Her research examines how people navigate contentious health contexts such as sex education and abortion. As a result of her focus on educators, schools, and health care settings, Orlaith’s expertise spans medical sociology, reproduction, education, sexuality, and work. She has published in journals such as the Journal of Health and Social BehaviorWork, Employment and Society, Journal of Family Studies, Contraception, and Health Affairs. She has won grant support for her research from the National Science Foundation and a Scholar Award from PEO International. Orlaith’s current classes include Sex and Sexualities, Health and Illness, Social Research, Senior Seminar, and Sociology of the Family.

Orlaith grew up in Minnesota, but her family has deep roots in Oshkosh (going back to the 1800s!), so moving to Oshkosh felt like coming home. When she’s not teaching, writing, or researching, she is probably reading a fiction book, working on a mediocre craft or art project, or catching up on a TV series.

Dr. Son Bio

Dr. Son received her Master of Arts in Women’s Studies from Rutgers University at New Brunswick in 1998, her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Oregon in 2007, and joined the department in 2007. Dr. Son is a medical sociologist and she has published articles that examine issues such as health service utilization and immigrant incorporation, postpartum care, health disparities, transnationalism and technology, gerontology, and sexual health curriculum. Her current research interests are good ageing and end-of-life decision making processes along the lines of class, race and gender categories. She is trained in both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

She is originally from Seoul, Korea but has lived in the U.S. for more than the half of her life time. Wisconsin is the state she spent her first couple of years in the U.S. as an international student in the 90s, and thus has been her second home in her heart.

Department of Sociology & Public Administration

(920) 424-2030
Sage Hall, Room 3003 or 3464

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