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The Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the university to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the major in Sociology. We’re excited to get to know you!

Message from the Director

Cristina MoraHave you ever wished for an intellectual mentor who knows all the ins and outs of Sociology, both at Berkeley and in the world? Or wanted to meet other sociology undergrads in a setting that didn’t involve grades and homework?  Or imagined figuring out what it actually means to read or argue like a sociologist?  These are just some of the things you’ll be able to do if you join Berkeley Connect in Sociology.As Director of the Berkeley Connect in Sociology, I am excited about the program because it is one of the best ways I can envisage to help our students succeed and thrive at Berkeley and beyond.

Professor G. Cristina Mora
Director, Berkeley Connect in Sociology

Program Description

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Sociology. These mentors lead small groups of 10-20 students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Sociology major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.The only requirement for joining Berkeley Connect in Sociology is that you have an interest in the field of study. You do not have to be a major in order to participate! Undeclared freshmen and sophomores are welcome, along with entering junior transfers and juniors and seniors who have declared the major.

Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students.  They include:

  • small-group meetings led by your mentor;
  • one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
  • special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
  • and visits to Berkeley resources.

At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentors are advanced graduate students s in Sociology, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of several small groups of participants in Sociology. Your small group will be led by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long dinner discussion sessions. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within Sociology as well as key skills you need to succeed in the major. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.

You will also meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, once to get acquainted, and a second time just before Tele-Bears, to discuss your plans for completing your major. Your mentor also has office hours every other week, during which you are free to show up and ask questions, talk over your day or your week, discuss what you are learning in class, or just have an informal conversation.


G. Cristina Mora (Director)Cristina Mora completed her B.A. in Sociology at UC Berkeley in 2003 and earned her PhD in Sociology from Princeton University in 2009. Before returning to Cal, she was a Provost Postdoctoral Scholar in Sociology at the University of Chicago. Professor Mora’s research focuses mainly on questions of racial and ethnic categorization, organizations, and culture. Her forthcoming book, Making HIspanics, will be published by the University of Chicago Press and provides a socio-historical account of the emergence and diffusion of the “Hispanic/Latino” panethnic category in the United States. She is currently working on two new projects. The first examines how national Latino political organizations in the United States and Spain develop and implement panethnic agendas. The second assess clinical studies to explore how the rise of a HIspanic panethnic category influenced the discourse about race and medicine in the United States and abroad.  In addition, Professor Mora’s research on culture focuses on immigrant religion, as well as on the diffusion of Pentecostalism in Latin America. Her work is forthcoming or has been published in venues like the American Sociological Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Latino Studies, and Poetics.

Berkeley Connect Mentors

Jesus CamachoJesus Camacho is a PhD candidate in Sociology. He grew up in Santa Ana, CA and obtained his bachelor’s from UC Irvine. His academic work focuses on race/ethnicity, incarceration, urban sociology, immigration, and political sociology. Jesus’ current project focuses on the news media representative coverage of officer-involved shootings according to race and ethnicity, using official police department data and linking it to local news coverage. Jesus looks forward to sharing his research experiences with Berkeley Connect students. Engaging with students as a teacher and mentor has been one of his highlight as a graduate student at UC Berkeley.

Michel EstefanMichel Estefan is a PhD candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley, where he also received Master’s degrees in Sociology and Latin American Studies. Born in the small town of Zitacuaro in the eastern part of the state of Michoacan in Mexico, he attended college in Mexico City, receiving a bachelor’s in International Relations and an MA in Human Rights, both from Universidad Iberoamericana. He is a political sociologist and a sociologist of law who uses comparative and historical methods to understand how legal cultures and institutions emerge, change, and decline. His first book, “Feeling Like Equals: A Gramscian Reading of the Historical Origin and Development of Human Rights,” was published in Spanish in 2015. He has a strong commitment to helping students from all backgrounds find their intellectual voice and thrive academically. He served as a mentor in the Sociology undergraduate honors thesis mentoring program for three years and then coordinated the program for an additional three years. He is excited to meet Berkeley Connect students and work with them to build a supportive community.

Jessica Schirmer is a PhD candidate in Sociology. Her research interests focus on political, urban, and economic sociology, particularly historical accounts of relationships among the State, financial institutions and urban development. Her dissertation examines state intervention in mortgage markets from the New Deal through the contemporary period, focusing on how federal housing finance policy, real estate developers, and mortgage lending institutions have shaped the supply, cost, and quality of affordable housing over time.

Semester Activities

  1. Instruction begins: Wednesday, August 22 2018
    1. Week of August 27-Aug. 31

    OPENING MEETING, WED, August 29, 5 p.m., 402 Barrows Hall

    1. Week of Sept. 3-7

    Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3rd

    Small groups #1

    Introductions (except for Monday sections, which will meet the following Monday)

    First small group meetings: Introductions (except for Monday sections, which will meet the following Monday)

    1. Week of Sept. 10-14th

    Meet Your Mentor:  one-on-one meetings with Berkeley Connect Mentors

    1. Week of Sept. 17-21

    Small groups #2

    Student Savvy: How to get the most out of your classes, talk to your professors, be productive and do the work without letting it get you down.

    1. Week of Sept. 24-28

                Wednesday  Sept 26 Undergraduate Research Panel – Room 402 5-6

    Meet Your Mentor, continued:  one-on-one meetings with Berkeley Connect Mentors

    1. Week of October 1-October 5

    Small groups #3

    The Sociological Imagination

    1. Week of Oct. 8-12

    Office Hours

    Field Trip: Bancroft Archives – October 9

    1. Week of October 15-19

    Small groups #4

    Charting Your Intellectual Path: Internships, Research Apprenticeships, and Choosing Courses

    (PHASE 1 Call Enrollment BEGINS OCT. 15th)

    1. Week of Oct. 22-26

    Faculty Panel: TBA

    Office Hours

    1. Week of October 29-Nov 2

    Small groups #5

    Writing like a Berkeley sociologist

    1. Week of Nov. 5-9

    Office Hours

    Friday, November 10: Veterans Day Holiday

    1. Week of Nov. 12-17

    Small groups #6

    Sociological Keywords

    PHASE II Enrollment Begins

    1. Week of Nov. 19-23

    Office Hours

    November 22-23, Thanksgiving Holiday

    1. Week of Nov. 26-Nov. 29

    Small groups #7

    Conclusions and Looking Forward


To find sections in the upcoming semester, search the Schedule of Classes for Sociology 98BC (for first-year and sophomores) or 198BC (for juniors and seniors).

To help you meet other students who share your experiences and perspectives, Berkeley Connect sections are designated as lower division (first-year students and sophomores), new junior transfers, and upper division (juniors and seniors), but you can enroll in any section that fits your schedule and credit requirements.

How to Sign Up

To participate in Berkeley Connect in Sociology, you enroll in a designated section of Sociology 98BC or 198BC (one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis). Many students chose to enroll for more than one semester. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens.  Please see the Berkeley Connect sections listed above under “Schedule.”

**Read the schedule notes carefully—different sections are designated as primarily for lower-division (freshmen and sophomores), upper-division (juniors and seniors), or junior transfer students.

If you are interested in participating in Berkeley Connect, but course registration is not currently open, you can join the Berkeley Connect Mailing List, and you will be sent more details when the next semester’s information becomes available.

Contact Us

Please see our FAQs.  If you have additional questions about Berkeley Connect in Sociology, please contact: G. Cristina Mora, Faculty Director, cmora@berkeley.edu.

You can also contact the central Berkeley Connect office  at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu or (510)664-4182.

Links & Resources