MPhil Student Spotlight: Maria Gargiulo

MPhil Student Spotlight: Maria Gargiulo

Maria joined the Department in 2021, after working as a statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. She is a recipient of a Clarendon Scholarship and a Rotary Global Grant. Previously, Maria studied Statistics & Data Science and Spanish at Yale University.
Image of Maria Gargiulo

Photo by David Fisher (Fisher Studios)

Why do you study Sociology and Demography?

I’m an interdisciplinary scholar with a strong interest in quantitative methods, so demography was a natural fit for me and my work.

I had very little exposure to sociology as an academic discipline prior to coming to Oxford, but I’ve found sociological frameworks useful for theoretically orienting my research and helping me determine the right questions to ask in my research.

What first attracted you to the course at Oxford?

My supervisor, Dr José Manuel Aburto, was a big draw for me.

When I was first looking into demography programmes, he was one of the few scholars I came across that was working on issues aligned with my research interests in health and human rights.

At this point I still wasn’t sure whether demography was the “right” discipline for me but talking to José Manuel helped me see how my work would be of interest to demographers and how I could benefit from demographic thinking, so I decided to apply.  

What piece of advice would you give to prospective students?

Make time to do things you enjoy outside of your coursework and research (this can be hard, but it’s important!)

What have you enjoyed most about studying within Oxford's Sociology department?

I loved the Sociology of Latin America course I took with Professor Leigh Payne in my first year.

The course readings and discussions were incredibly engaging and expanded my horizons on contemporary sociological issues in Latin America, ranging from state formation and development to migration and social movements.

I loved the course’s praxis of challenging universalist notions in sociology often developed by scholars in the Global North by amplifying the voices of scholarship from Latin America.

Has any of your research been published? 

Yes, in the Journal of Peace Research, the Peace Review and the Harvard Data Science Review.

What do you hope to do when you finish your course?

I hope to complete a PhD to further develop my research skills and then take these skills back to the public sector to continue my human rights research.

Favourite Book?

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

You can get in touch with Maria via email.