Judith Auerbach (1979)

Vice-President for Research and Evaluation at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation

I decided to do my graduate sociology work at UC Berkeley because Michael Burawoy told me I'd never get in! I got my undergraduate degree in sociology at Cal, and was much inspired by Michael, notwithstanding his assessment of me. I thought I'd be focusing on social theory and culture studies, but instead, got caught up in early feminist scholarship and found it more compelling. My dissertation work landed me in the realm of social policy, and at the time, it was difficult to find anyone on the faculty specializing in this area, so I didn't have a real mentor. Also, being totally self-supporting, I spent much of my time working at multiple jobs each semester (I used to joke that I didn't work 'with' any faculty members, but I worked 'for' plenty of them). Indeed, one of my proudest moments came when, fighting to unionize the graduate student employees at Cal, I was called to testify before the board that was adjudicating the unionization drive, and discovered I had the unique distinction of having held nearly every graduate student job category at the university! Anyway, my policy interests led me away from academia after teaching for a couple of years. Through a circuitous path, I entered the realm of federal science policy, and now work at the NIH in social and behavioral research on HIV/AIDS. On this pathway, I had a stint at the White House science office, which, for a while, made me the ASA's poster child for non-academic careers! The critical sociology training I had at Berkeley (chiefly acquired from my classmates) has allowed me to be more of a public intellectual than a mere bureaucrat. I get to help shape a science agenda, defend sociology to the biomedical crowd, and direct lots of money to where it belongs!

Dissertation Title: 
Working Parents and Child Care Responsibility in the United States: The New Role of the Employer
Dissertation Book Title: 
In the business of child care : employer initiatives and working women