Inside USD

Getting to Know Your Professors: Adina Batnitzky

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Adina Batnitzky, PhD, is assistant professor of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research has revolved around the intersection of gender, health and labor in a global/transnational context. She talks to Inside USD about her research on dockside fishing and her beloved family.

Q: For students who are interested in sociology, what “real world” experience do you most recommend?

Get out into the community and immerse yourself in something outside your comfort zone. There are wonderful opportunities at USD and its environs, such as community service learning, study abroad programs or just taking a walk up the street to experience the diverse community in Linda Vista.

Q: Your husband, Political Science Assistant Professor Avi Spiegel, teaches on campus and your daughter is in daycare on campus. What’s it like to be able to go to work as a family?

Up until last year, our family traveled to work together each day. But our daughter now is at school just a bit further up on Linda Vista. I feel so lucky to know that we’re all working and studying in the same neighborhood. Next year, Avi and I will be teaching an honors course together on international human rights. I’m hoping that students will benefit from our diverse perspectives.

Q: One of your most recent projects has involved dockside fishing. How did your interest in this topic come about?

I have always been interested in understanding barriers to healthy eating for diverse communities. I began working on a project with the East African immigrant community and learned about their dietary changes as a result of their migration. In their countries of origin, seafood was a staple of their diet. However, they do not have the same access or the connection to the ocean in San Diego. My friend and colleague Theresa Sinicrope Talley was working on a feasibility of a dockside market in San Diego and it seemed like a great way to merge our common interests in the health of local communities and the ocean.

Q: Was there a piece of advice you were given as an undergrad that has stayed with you?

Explore! Take classes in a wide variety of disciplines. There’s no better time to try something new and perhaps even fail. The stakes are low and the potential rewards are high.

Q: What led you to sociology? Was there a particular person or issue that initially peaked your interest?

My experience in the Peace Corps was probably the most transformative experience that led me to sociology and my commitment to understanding and teaching issues related to social justice.

– Melissa Wagoner

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