Grad Students

Sam Lutzker

Contact Information

Office  Haines A56

Sam Lutzker is a graduate student in the department of sociology at UCLA and a volunteer with Street Watch LA. His research uses ethnographic and interview methods to examine the effects of homelessness policy in California. He is particularly interested in how informal roles emerge, become established and shift within unhoused communities. His research also follows participants through a variety of housing forms, from living in vehicles to hotel rooms like those contracted through state programs such as Project Roomkey.

In a slightly different vein, his MA project analyzes oral history data from Facing Whiteness to describe how white Americans develop racial awareness and engage in antiracist brokering with white peers. More broadly, his research interests include urban sociology, race & ethnicity, ethnography, mixed methods and public policy.

Prior to graduate school, Sam was a project coordinator at INCITE in New York City, and a teacher in China. He loves hiking, biking and eating. You can find his rants (and sometimes helpful threads) on twitter.

Fields of Study

Urban Sociology; Race and Ethnicity; Ethnography; Mixed Methods; Public Policy


Public Engagement:

Lutzker, Sam. 2021. “Op-Ed: Cancel parking fines for unhoused people who live in their cars.” Los Angeles
Times. (

Lutzker, Sam. 2021. “‘Project No Key’: How Punitive Policies Hamper California’s Efforts to House the
Un-Housed.” Knock LA. (

Grants and Awards

National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP) Honorable Mention, 2021

UCLA Graudate Summer Research Mentorship (GSRM) 2021

UCLA Graduate Research Mentorship (GRM) 2020-2021

UCLA Graudate Summer Research Mentorship (GSRM) 2020

UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracry Working Group Funding 2020 - Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid


MA Committee: Stefan Timmermans (advisor), Karida Brown


B.A., Columbia University, 2015

M.A., UCLA, 2021 (expected)