Faculty Profile: Stephanie DiPietro

Stephanie joined our department as an Associate Professor from the University of Missouri, St. Louis (PhD from University of Maryland, College Park).  We spoke with her about her research on the relationship between immigration and crime, which delves into the human relationships that are the heart of sociology.

DiPietro PhotoStephanie: “My dissertation was on immigration and crime. How people assimilate. It was quantitative, numbers, and statistics. That didn’t help me understand people’s experiences. I wanted to interview people in relatively new immigrant communities, studying assimilation as it happens. Working in St. Louis, I found a large Bosnian immigrant community. My research started with numbers, but I became fascinated by the stories.

My research studied the long-term consequences of war over people’s lives. I interviewed violent offenders and those who were more resilient and thrived. The way people make sense of their lives turned out to be more important than their objective experiences. I started out thinking that war was objectively traumatic. But it wasn’t entirely. Many people thought that their experience empowered them, and they were grateful. I found them inspiring and humbling.”

Steph is now working on a new project interviewing Muslim refugees in Philadelphia, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City. Philadelphia is a traditional destination recently have Muslim refugees been coming to Iowa.

According to her, “This is the greatest job there is.” We couldn’t agree more.

Stephanie DiPietro's faculty page

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