Grad Students

Jorge D. Mancillas

Contact Information

Office  Not Available

I am interested in culture, meaning-making, social norms and, in general, how societies are organized according to their social and material conditions. In particular, I'm currently interested in street gang theory and research. Specifically, what gangs--or "street organizations"--represent in relation to larger society as groups operating within conditions of socioeconomic poverty, aggressive policing, and chronic death/homicides, violence, trauma and bereavement. Qualitative methods and ethnography are my methodological tools of choice for exploring these questions.

In addition to my research endeavors, I work closely with the Underground Scholars Initiative, a UC-wide student organization for formerly incarcerated and criminal [in]justice system-impacted students. Through recruitment, retention, and advocacy, our mission is to directly challenge the stigmatization of formerly incarcerated and sytem-impacted individuals and to reverse the proverbial "School-to-Prison Pipeline" by helping build a "Prison-to-School Pipeline". Visit:

Fields of Study

Urban/Suburban Ethnography; Poverty; Cultural Sociology; Death, Dying, and Bereavement; Social Violence; Theory


  • “ISIS and Gang Activity: The emerging international model of gang violence and global terrorism"

The Journal of the Bay Honors Consortium  (2015)

  • "'Live Life, Get Life, Or Die Trying': The Cosmology of Death and Dying Amongst L.A. Gangs”

Berkeley McNair Journal (2017)

Ronald E. McNair Symposium Journal (2017)

Grants and Awards

Ronald E. McNair Scholar (2015-2016)

Haas Scholar (2016-2017)

Office of the President, UC Undergraduate Research Ambassador (2017)

Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship (2017-2022)

Conference Presentations

  • Bay Honors Consortium Honors Research Symposium, Palo Alto, CA, April, 2015

ISIS and Gang Activity: The Emerging International Model of Gang Violence and Global Terrorism

  • 24th Annual National Ronald E. McNair Scholars Symposium, Berkeley, CA, July, 2016

Spiritual Components of The Strength Based Approach: How religious/spiritual intervention transforms former gang-members’ perception of themselves and society in relation to death

  • 25th Annual National Ronald E. McNair Research Conference and Graduate Fair, Delevan, WI, October, 2016

Death Around the Corner: How LA Gangs Conceptualize Life and Death

  • Haas Scholars Undergraduate Research Conference, Berkeley, CA, January, 2017

Dying to Survive: Negotiating With Early Death and The Social Reproduction of Gang Violence

  • UC Undergraduate Research Ambassadors Showcase, Los Angeles, CA, April, 2017

 The Cosmology of Death Among Gang-Affiliated Youth


Stefan Timmermans


B.A. (High Distinction) University of California, Berkeley, Sociology, 2017