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Sheila M. Katz

Sheila Katz

Assistant Professor

Phone: 713.743.1918
Office: 466 Philip G. Hoffman Hall
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Ph.D., Sociology, Vanderbilt University
M.A., Sociology, Vanderbilt University
B.A., Sociology and Women’s Studies, University of Georgia


Professor Sheila Katz uses qualitative methodologies to explore women’s experiences in poverty, welfare, accessing health and human services, 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 and 2011 with a 78 percent 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 wrote a book based on this research, "Reformed American Dreams: Welfare Mothers, Higher Education, and Activism."

Dr. Katz was the local arrangements chair for the American Sociological Association's 2014 annual meetings in San Francisco. She is an elected board member of the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology and also contributes to the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom project and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Student Parent Initiative.

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 the community-based organization, Low Income Families’ Empowerment through Education, conducting community-based participatory research in the “Family Violence is NOT an Option” and the “Education Works” projects.


  • Nominated for Pacific Sociological Association 2013 Early Career Award for Innovation in Teaching Sociology
  • Emerging Scholar award by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 2011
  • National Poverty Center TANF Reauthorization Grant, 2011
  • SAGE/Pine Forge Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award, 2010

Research Interests

  • Sociology of Gender
  • Sociology of Poverty
  • Inequality
  • Social Policy
  • Qualitative Methodologies
  • Sociology of Education
  • Sociology of Drugs


Graduate Courses

  • Seminar in Gender
  • Seminar in Qualitative Methodology

Undergraduate Courses

  • Qualitative Methods
  • Sociology of Gender

Selected Publications

  • Katz, Sheila. 2013. “‘Just Give Us a Chance to Get an Education:’ CalWORKs Mothers’ Survival Narratives and Strategies.” Journal of Poverty 17(3): 273-304.
  • Katz, Sheila. 2013. “Connecting Students to Careers: Teaching Students about Careers in Sociology.” Syllabus and course materials set peer-reviewed and published by the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Resource and Innovations Library for Sociology.
  • Katz, Sheila. 2012. “TANF’s 15th Anniversary: Are Low-Income Mothers Celebrating Upward Economic Mobility?” Sociology Compass 6/8 (2012): 657-670.