Board of Visitors

The Board of Visitors is a group of alumni and friends who support, advise, and advocate for the Sociology Department. The Board is dedicated to promoting the long-term development of relationships with alumni and friends, and to building the resource base necessary to sustain the Department as a world leader in the social sciences. The Board may advise and assist with development and outreach efforts, help the Department expand career opportunities for students, keep the Department informed of best business practices, and serve as goodwill ambassadors for the Department.

Members of the Board of Visitors

Martin Preizler (Board Chair)
Beth Garrow
Kingsley Gobourne
Janet Hankin
Alison Horn
Jesus Martinez
Andrew Richter
Laura Sanchez
Wesley Sparkman
Tom Weirath
Lisa Youngers

Ex officio members

Abby Funseth
Pamela Oliver
James Raymo

Abby Funseth
Associate Director of Development, UW Foundation and Alumni Association since 2017
Ex-Officio Member of the Board
BS, 2010, Liberal Arts, UW-Stevens Point
MS, 2015, Community & Organizational Leadership, UW-Stevens Point

Abby works on behalf of the Department of Sociology as an Associate Director of Development with the University of Wisconsin Foundation. In her role, she works with the department and the Board of Visitors to build relationships with Sociology alumni and friends.

Abby and her husband Aaron live in New Glarus, WI along with their pet cats and chickens. They are expecting their first baby in May of 2019.

Abby can be reached at 608-405-0433 or via e-mail.

Beth Garrow
Board Vice Chair
BA, 1977, Sociology, Correctional Administration, UW-Madison
MA, 1985, Public Administration, USC
Board member since 2014

Beth began her career in public administration for the City of Hawthorne, California with a focus in community redevelopment.

Since 1994, Beth has worked for non-profit organizations in K-12, higher education, and health care. Currently, she is the Major Gifts Officer for The Rotary Foundation serving California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. She has a well-established track record of building development programs and raising major gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations both as an administrator and as a professional fundraiser.

Beth has held senior leadership roles in fund development for the College of DuPage, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center, and MIND Research Institute.

In addition to her passion for fundraising, Beth has a successful track record in developing community partnerships and enjoys being an active volunteer in the communities she serves.

Beth and her husband Tom live in Carlsbad, CA.

Beth says that her Sociology education has allowed her to develop the critical thinking and analytical skills required in her diverse and rewarding careers in government, social service and non-profit management.

She can be reached at

Kingsley Gobourn
BA, 2009. Sociology, UW-Madison
Board member since 2018

Kingsley is a Community Outreach Officer AVP with Old National Bank. Kingsley has worked in the financial industry for 10 years in areas of retail banking management, investments and community development. As a Community Outreach Officer, he manages community outreach efforts in the Wisconsin market which include Madison and Milwaukee. He focuses on assessing community needs, and developing collaborative partnerships to promote community development lending, housing initiatives, economic development and programs that serve the low- to moderate- income communities.

Kingsley also serves on the Family Selection Committee and Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity, Board Member on the Old National Bank Foundation as well as chair of special projects committee for the Business Volunteer Network with United Way. Kingsley states “My mission is to improve the overall health and stability of the communities we serve. We engage with organizations and leaders throughout our footprint to assess community needs and determine how to best utilize our resources to meet those needs. Our team is truly passionate about consistently striving to build programs and partnerships that help individuals and families reach their goals!”

Kingsley lives in the Mt. Horeb community with his wife and two boys.

Kingsley says that his Sociology education has allowed him to pursue careers and passions that focus on creating better opportunities for others.

He can be reached via e-mail Kinglsey Gobourne.

Janet Hankin
Board Board member since 2016
BA,1969 Sociology, Case Western Reserve University
MA,1969 Sociology, Case Western Reserve University
PhD,1974, Sociology, Medical Sociology, UW-Madison

Dr. Hankin is professor of sociology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where she served as the Department Chair four times. She was an Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne State University.

After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Hankin was a Research Scientist at The Johns Hopkins University and moved to Detroit in 1986. As chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Hankin was the co-editor of an Extra Issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior celebrating 50 years of medical sociology. Her research has focused on primary care and mental disorder, and the prevention of drinking during pregnancy.
Janet and her husband, Allen Goodman, live in Detroit.

Janet says that her Sociology education has allowed her to teach pre-medical students how social factors matter in health and health care and to design interventions to help pregnant women reduce their alcohol consumption and have healthier babies.

She can be reached at

Alison Horn
BS, 2008, Sociology, UW-Madison
Board member since 2018

Alison is the Investigative Supervisor at Civil Rights Corps (CRC), a non-profit legal organization that specializes in innovative civil rights litigation to reform the American criminal system. CRC has brought successful legal challenges to the criminalization of poverty in states across the US, through lawsuits challenging private probation systems, debtors’ prisons, and money bail. In her role, Alison spends much of her time interviewing and telling the stories of people directly impacted by injustice in the criminal legal system, and trains and mentors new investigators to work with CRC's litigators.

Prior to her work at Civil Rights Corps, Alison was a criminal defense investigator at the Federal Public Defender for the District of the Virgin Islands and at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and did development and reentry work at Free Minds Book Club, a DC-based non-profit providing literacy and reentry programming for incarcerated teenagers.

While at Wisconsin, Alison had the opportunity to assist Professor Pamela Oliver with her research analyzing data on racial disparities in prosecution and incarceration and completed a senior honors thesis focusing on voting rights for people with felony convictions.

Alison was captain-coach of the UW Women's Club Lacrosse team. She enjoys scuba diving, spending time with family, and watching the Packers and Badgers.

A native of Ithaca, New York, Alison resides in Washington, DC.

Alison says that her Sociology education at Wisconsin, particularly the study of social movements theory, has equipped her with the tools and knowledge necessary engage with the grassroots organizing and coalition building that is absolutely essential to her civil rights case work.

She can be reached at

Jesús Martínez
Board Secretary
BS, 1984, Sociology, Policy and Administration, UW-Madison
Masters and Executive courses in International Management, UW-Madison
Board member since 2012

Jesús is Global Director of Business Development for ABS Global, Inc. He has been with the company since 1987. He is responsible for key technology projects for ABS and most recently has assisted the company in building the ABS China business. He spends over 50% of his time traveling to Beijing, Shanghai and Inner Mongolia, China. In addition, Jesús works with senior managers on key special projects and assists global operating units with key growth market opportunities. Jesús has over 25 years of experience in animal agriculture management and developing selling organizations and profit centers around the globe including technology start-ups at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At ABS Global he has held positions as Managing Director for North America and Latin America. He has also held executive positions for the parent company Genus plc in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Latin America. In the mid-1990's he held positions of Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Infigen and Vice President of Caribbean Fertilizer Group.

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he has travelled to over 40 countries and speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese.

Jesús and his family live in Madison.

He can be reached at

Pamela Oliver
Professor of Sociology, Ex-Officio Member of the Board
BA, 1971, Sociology, Stanford
MA, 1972, Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
PhD, 1977, Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Pamela Oliver is a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin who has published many articles and a book on collective action and social movements, including her influential work on the "critical mass" with Gerald Marwell, studies of news coverage of protests, and theoretical work on the coevolution of movements, protest and news coverage.

Since 1999, she has devoted much of her time to analyzing and speaking about statistical patterns of racial disparity in criminal justice in Wisconsin and the nation. She has made over 100 public presentations on these issues and served on the Governor's Commission to Reduce Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice in 2007-8 and the Dane County Task on Racial Disparities 2008-9.

She is working on a project about the politics of incarceration and analyzing differences among US states and metro areas in their racial disparity patterns and is developing an integration of theories of ethnic conflict, social movements, social control, and repression. She teaches "Ethnic Movements in the US" which compares American Indian, African American, Mexican American, and Asian American movements and politics.

She has served as the chair of the Department of Sociology twice and has also been a member of the Asian American Studies Faculty Advisory Committee for many years. She now has an active “public sociology” presence through her academic blog Race, Politics, Justice.

Pam can be reached at

Marty Preizler
Board Chair
BS, 1966, Sociology, UW – Madison
MSW, 1970, Public Welfare Administration, U of Michigan – Ann Arbor
MA, 1986, Health Policy and Administration, La Follette School of Public Affairs, UW - Madison

Board member since 2014 (previously 2008-2010)

Now retired, Marty has served for over forty years in executive positions in Wisconsin state government, managed care organizations, and higher education.

He served as President and CEO of three health insurance companies in Madison, Portland and Minneapolis, including ten years leading Physicians Plus Insurance Corp. In his early career he directed the WI Medicaid program. From 2009-2014 he served as the Dean of the School of Business at Edgewood College.

At Edgewood he developed, coordinated and taught in the MBA in Health Systems Leadership Program, including courses in Organizational Effectiveness and Improvement. Health Systems Strategic Management, Principles of Health Insurance, and the MBA-HSL Capstone course.

Marty’s expertise is in leadership, strategy, process management and quality improvement. He served as a National Baldrige examiner and Wisconsin Forward Award judge. He has served on many community boards.

Marty and his wife, Lynn, live in Madison.

Marty says that his Sociology education has allowed him to better understand, appreciate and value people from diverse backgrounds and histories. He says that this enriched his professional experiences and contributed to his success.

Marty can be reached via e-mail and by phone 608.515.9095.

Jim Raymo
Department of Sociology Chair, Ex-Officio Member of the Board
BA, 1987, Colgate University
MA, 1995, Osaka City University
PhD, 2000, Sociology, University of Michigan

Dr. Raymo’s research focuses on the demography of family change and aging in Japan and the U.S. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including the American Sociological Review, Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, and Social Science Research. He is Director of the Concentration in Analysis and Research (CARS) at UW Madison — an elective concentration program within the Sociology undergraduate curriculum, preparing students interested in statistics and research methods for careers in applied social research.

Jim and his wife, Maki, live in Madison.

Jim can be reached at His phone number is 608.262.2783

Andrew Richter
Board member since 2012
BA, 1972, Sociology, UW – Madison
MA, 1974, Yale University
PhD, 1979, Yale University

Andrew is the founder and president of Richter Associates, Inc., a New York-based consulting firm specializing in compensation, benefits, and human resources strategies. His professional experience includes both management consulting and corporate executive roles as well as opportunities to contribute to these fields through publications, addresses to professional conferences, and service on the World at Work (American Compensation Association) Board of Directors.

From 1995 to 2011, Andrew held a variety of corporate HR executive positions, first with IBM (1995-2002) and then as the SVP of Compensation and Benefits at NBC Universal (2002-2011). Currently, he serves as the Treasurer and Foundation Chair for HRHCare, which provides primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services to nearly 250,000 medically underserved patients at 30+ sites in New York State. He is also on the Board of the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association as well as its former Chair.

At Yale, Andrew was awarded fellowships by the National Science Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. His inter-disciplinary doctoral dissertation (incorporating sociology, economics, and political science) was on the impact of multi-national corporations in developing countries.

At UW, Andrew was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and played on the Varsity Soccer Club. Andrew lives in Armonk, NY.

Andrew says that his Sociology education has given him both qualitative and quantitative skills to understand and respond to complex business and organizational problems, especially as they pertain to employee, management, and investor behavior.

He can be reached at

Laura Sanchez
Board member since 2019
BS, 1986, Sociology, UW-Madison
MS, 1988, Sociology, UW-Madison
PhD, 1992, Sociology and Demography, UW-Madison

Laura has been a professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University since 2001. She is a family sociology researcher who uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Her research has focused on women’s and men’s gendered division of labor, though she has recently explored parent-child relationships and human-animal interaction. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate students. Her undergraduate repertoire includes methods and introductory sociology. At the graduate level, she teaches seminars on teaching, sociological theory, and population and society.

She began her career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earned tenure at Tulane University before moving to Bowling Green, Ohio to take up opportunities as a BGSU sociology department faculty member and an affiliate of the Center for Family and Demographic Research. During her career, she has served as Director of the Bureau of Sociological Research at UNL and Director of the Center for Family and Demographic Research at BGSU.

Laura lives in Bowling Green, Ohio and is an avid equestrienne with a thoroughbred mare and sport pony.

Laura says that her UW-Madison sociology education has inspired her to pay attention to intersectionalities and how communities and societies stratify themselves by class, race, and gender. She uses her education every day in her research and in the hopes of inspiring her students’ sociological imagination.

Laura can be reached at

Wesley Sparkman
Board member since 2019
BA, 1996, Sociology, UW-Madison
MPA, 2000, LaFollette School of Public Affairs, UW-Madison

Wesley is the Director of The Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion. Wesley has worked in local government administration for over 20 years. As Director of the Office for Equity and Inclusion, he implements Dane County’s Equal Employment, Civil Rights, and racial equity and social justice initiatives. He works with Dane County leadership to promote policy and organizational change to establish equity in public service.

Wesley served on the City of Madison Police and Fire Commission for ten years, he currently serves on the Board of Directors for SSM Health WI, Vice President of the Madison Rotary Foundation, and Secretary of the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Dane County.

Wesley and his family live in Madison.

Wesley says that his Sociology education at Wisconsin developed a framework of understanding to elevate local government awareness of county-wide disparities, provide practical solutions to address structural inequity, and bring long-term organization change.

He can be reached at

Thomas Weirath
Board member since 2009, Past Board of Visitors Chair
BS, 1964 Sociology, University of Akron
MA, 1967, Sociology, UW - Madison
PhD, 1975, Sociology, Organizational Behavior, UW – Madison

Dr. Weirath is retired from a twenty-year career with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. His responsibilities included consulting with Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans around the country on issues of performance measurement such as operations, managed care and cost containment. His work included working with health plans to prepare them for accreditation by national organizations. Prior to that he worked in health planning with the state of Wisconsin where he was staff to a medical education review committee, a legislative oversight committee. He served also as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee- Knoxville where he taught courses on organizational behavior, sociology of health care and political sociology.

He now spends his time volunteering, reading, and writing. He has been active over the years working in an advisory capacity on several committees with the Wisconsin Alumni Association. He has also served on a committee at the Archdiocese of Chicago to develop an educational partnership with a school system in Nigeria. He currently is a member of a committee that focuses on issues of domestic violence.

Tom says that his Sociology education has allowed him to move from an academic setting to public policy. If he had doubts about sociology’s relevance to analyzing real world problems, they quickly disappeared. What he found was that conceptual and theoretical concepts had practical value for organizing projects and planning. Likewise, content knowledge, data analysis and its interpretation serves as a particular value to organizations.

Tom and his wife, Mary, spend time in both Chicago and Madison.

He can be reached at

Lisa R. Youngers
Board member since 2018
BA, 1989, Sociology and Communication Arts, UW – Madison
JD, 1995, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, MN

Lisa currently leads the Fiber Broadband Association as its President and CEO - the largest trade association in the Americas dedicated to all-fiber-optic broadband networks. She brings more than two decades of communications experience to the Association including wireline/wireless telecommunications, spectrum policy, satellite, broadcast, infrastructure, litigation and enforcement.

Prior to her current position, Youngers was CEO of Nextlink Wireless, where she drove the operational, technical and financial aspects of the business as well as M&A activity. Prior to leading Nextlink, Lisa was VP and Assistant General Counsel of Federal Advocacy and Strategy at XO Communications where she advocated for and led the company’s initiatives involving federal policy, operations and technology. Before that, she served as Federal Regulatory Counsel for General Communication, Inc. and MCI advocating on competition issues.

Lisa served as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Minnesota as counsel to the Public Utilities Commission and the Rail/Trucking Safety Board. She is a member of the Minnesota and District of Columbia Bars.

Lisa says that her Sociology education has allowed her to fully appreciate how every member of any group brings something unique to the table – critically impacting how that entity functions.

Lisa can be reached at