Newsroom Archive


John Jay Students Maria Livanou and Webster Innocent Win Big at Eastern Sociological Society Undergraduate Poster Competition

Junior Maria Livanou and senior Webster Innocent, both Forensic Psychology majors came in first and second place, respectively, at the Undergraduate Poster Session held during the Eastern Sociological Society's (ESS) annual conference in Boston in March. In their session, Livanou and Innocent were judged alongside 35 other students from 15 colleges. Both students credited Professor of Sociology Anthony (Jay) Pastrana, who also attended the conference, for their success.

ESS judges reviewed over 100 student presentations and selected five Undergraduate Poster winners.

Livanou 's presentation titled "LGBT Youth of Color and Mental Health: An Examination of Family and Health Care Provider Support" examines the relationship of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) youth of color and mental health using data from a larger national survey, the Social Justice Sexuality Project. She is interested in ways the intersection of race, gender, age, and sexual orientation affect individuals’ emotional well-being. LGBT youth of color who do not receive adequate familial support or do not have a health care provider report tend to be less satisfied with their life overall.

“Participating in Eastern Sociological Society (ESS) Annual Meeting-Regional Conference, in Boston, 2013, and taking the first place was beyond my expectations but it was a reward of my efforts and dedication to this project. This academic achievement will contribute positively to my future aspirations as I plan to apply to Graduate School the upcoming semester for a Ph.D. in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. I would have never achieved anything without the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Antonio J. Pastrana from John Jay’s Sociology Department,” said Livanou.

Innocent's presentation titled "Supporting Parents to Support LGBT Youth" illustrates possible approaches towards building stronger communities and support systems for LGBT minority youth that can help prevent social and cyber victimization. It is believed that positive sources of social support are quickly disappearing as a result of recent cyber-bullying incidents involving LGBT youth.

“Experiencing so much success from this project has been nothing more than a blessing. I say blessing because I took part in this project independently over the course of a full year while managing classes and working part time. I

Innocent said that none of this would have been possible without his mentor and instructor Professor Antonio J. Pastrana of the Sociology Department. “He gave me the opportunity as a research assistant a year ago and since then he provided instructions and guidance that led to my success,” said Innocent.