Berkeley Talks

Sociology Ph.D. graduates on the power of family and deep inquiry



In this episode, two Ph.D. graduates in sociology — Kristen Nelson and Mario Castillo — give the graduate student address at the UC Berkeley Department of Sociology's spring commencement ceremony."Like many of you, I was raised by a single mother," said Castillo at the May 19 event. "Her name is Mariana Leticia Castillo, and she was 17 when I was born. Now, I have tried to imagine what a 16-year-old mother-to-be must have felt as she prepared to bring a new life into this world, how she had hope for my wellness, happiness and success, coupled with an overwhelming sense of worry, anxiety and fear about the uncertain journey ahead."My mother's story, as a young working-class woman of color, finding her way as a single parent, combined with my own unique experiences as a queer person of color, propelled me towards deeper inquiry, self-discovery, and ultimately, the fascinating field of sociology."For Nelson, growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the most segregated metro area in the U.S., opened her eyes to the st