Sheila Katz, PhD.

University of Houston

Sheila Katz uses qualitative methodologies to explore women’s experiences in poverty, on welfare, accessing health and human services, in higher education, and during the Great Recession. She conducts longitudinal qualitative research with single mothers who graduated from higher education while participating in the welfare system in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She interviewed the same participants three times, in 2006, 2008, 2011 with a 78% retention rate, and her research explores the needs of families who pursued higher education while on welfare, how families fared during/after the “Great Recession,” the role of grassroots advocacy organizations in their lives, and policy issues for welfare reauthorization. This project received national funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Poverty Center.

She is currently finalizing the book manuscript based on this research: Reformed American Dreams: Welfare Mothers in Higher Education During the Great Recession (Rutgers University Press).

Dr. Katz is an elected board member of the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology. (CAPACS), and also contributes to the ACLU Reproductive Freedom project and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Student Parent Initiative. Dr. Katz has served on the board of NCSPP since 2015, and is one of the first cohort of NCSPP Advanced Scholars, for her research, Student Parents in the South, a regional study contributing to a national dataset of student parent programs.

Prior to coming to the University of Houston, Dr. Katz was an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Sonoma State University. From 2003-2013, Dr. Katz collaborated with community based organization, Low Income Families’ Empowerment through Education (LIFETIME), conducting community based participatory research in the “Family Violence is NOT an Option” and the “Education Works” projects. Dr. Katz holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Vanderbilt University.

For more information about Dr. Katz’s recent research on student parent programs visit: in-the- south