Anthony Urena

Anthony Urena
PhD Candidate in Sociology
Columbia University



Anthony Urena is a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Columbia University. Anthony’s research expertise is situated between the Sociology of Health & Illness and Science, Knowledge, & Technology Studies. His substantive areas of research interest are intersectional and encompass race & ethnicity, gender & sexuality, class, and risk. Anthony is experienced in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, with particular specialization in semi-structured interviews, participant-observation and ethnography, as well as survey administration and analysis. 

Anthony's research has been generously supported by fellowships, scholarships, and grants from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Social Science Research Council, The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Anthony was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by parents from the Dominican Republic. He holds a B.A. in both Sociology and Human Biology from Brown University. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, he volunteered at several HIV/AIDS NGOs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to produce a comparative ethnography detailing the persistence of the epidemic in the city’s metropolitan and slum neighborhoods. At Columbia, Anthony has complimented his scholarship with a deep commitment to teaching and mentorship through his service as a Graduate Student Mentor and Instructor for the Columbia Summer Research Program, Preceptor at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, as well as Teaching Fellow for various introductory and advanced courses in Sociology. He most recently served as a Kluge Fellowship Summer Fellow and Graduate Student Mentor with the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program.

Anthony is currently a Woodrow Wilson MMUF Dissertation Fellow and will receive his Ph.D. in May 2020.

Curriculum Vitae

Access the latest version of Anthony’s CV by clicking the link below.



Anthony’s dissertation research, From Risk to Reality: Race, Class, and HIV in an Age of Uncertainty, explores how people deemed to be the most "at-risk" come to understand, for themselves, their own relation to a given illness or disease. Through semi-structured interviews and participant-observation at a health advocacy group, his research specifically examines how HIV-negative Black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) are making sense of their place in the contemporary HIV/AIDS epidemic. In this work, he argues that individuals with demographic backgrounds associated with heightened disease risk reflexively engage with their own race, class, and sexuality in determining whether or not an illness is actually a “risk” within the sociocultural context of their lives. This reflexive process gives way to diverse framings of risk individuals employ to understand the threats HIV/AIDS may or may not pose to their bodily health and/or social lives. Individuals can also come to view HIV/AIDS as personally irrelevant or a non-issue, comprising a framing that escapes a definitive rhetoric of "risk" altogether.

From Risk to Reality contends that these multiple framings constitute a variance of perceptions about HIV/AIDS that can influence an individual’s health-relevant behaviors, such as their use of prevention tools and their romantic/sexual partner selection strategies. Throughout this dissertation, Anthony develops and makes the case for what he defines as the “Ecological Social Risk Framework,” a novel comprehensive framework of analysis that elucidates how a person’s perceptions of personal illness & disease risk are produced through interactions that occur at the individual, relational, institutional, and cultural levels of society.


Anthony has extensive teaching experience, having individually and co-instructed several courses in the social sciences that reflect his methodological expertise and substantive areas of research interest. His teaching philosophy is founded upon a commitment to comprehensively analyze sociological phenomena through critical discussions, interactive learning activities, and experiential exercises that situate the value of subject material within the lives, histories, and aspirations of students.

A full list of courses for which Anthony has served in a teaching capacity is provided below.

  • The Social World - Introduction to Sociology (Teaching Fellow, Columbia Sociology, with Prof. Shamus Khan)

  • Organizing Innovation (Teaching Fellow, Columbia Sociology, with Prof. David Stark)

  • Immigration and the Transformation of American Society (Teaching Fellow, Columbia Sociology, with Prof. Van Tran)

  • Global Urbanism (Teaching Fellow, Columbia Sociology. with Prof. Saskia Sassen)

  • Sociology of Work & Gender (Teaching Fellow, Columbia Sociology, with Prof. Teresa Sharpe)

  • Research Seminar for the Social Sciences: Classical Theory & Contemporary Methodology (Instructor, Columbia Summer Research Program, with Francisco Lara-Garcia)

  • Power and Influence in Organizations (Teaching Assistant, Columbia Business School)

  • Columbia Journey Seminar (Instructor, Columbia University Scholars Program)

  • Senior Project Seminar (Instructor, Columbia Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race)

  • Modes of Inquiry (Instructor, Columbia Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, with Dr. Sayantani DasGupta)


Anthony has regularly been an invited speaker for a variety of conferences, roundtable discussions, panels, and other events. A selection of prior speaking engagements is provided here, where Anthony has shared insights from his research, critical perspectives on the work of prominent scholars from diverse fields, as well as guidance for aspiring researchers and educators.

 Testimonials from Student Reviews

Anthony is a GEM. He is so kind and considerate and helpful. He goes above and beyond as a TA, is so caring and available for the students and truly such a refreshing person to be around considering how stressful this school is.
— Columbia University student, "Sociology of Work and Gender"
Anthony is one of my favorite TAs I have had at Columbia so far. He was very helpful in clarifying everyones questions and pulling out key topics from each of the readings. What I most appreciated about the way he led discussion was his desire to link topics in the course to modern day society. For example, he had us develop business plans for apps using concepts we had learned in the readings.
— Columbia University student, "Organizing Innovation"
Anthony was helpful and supportive at all points. He helped keep me on track of my work and made substantive suggestions for improvement. Above all, his understanding and support were essential to helping me complete my thesis on time.
— Columbia University student, "Modes of Inquiry / Senior Project Seminar"


Anthony is accessible via Twitter @AnthoUrena. For other inquiries and requests, please use this form.

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