The Department of Demography’s Associate Professor and Chair Johnelle Sparks is the new president of the Southern Demographic Association (SDA) effective January 2019. The SDA is a scientific and educational organization comprised of individuals with interests in demography and population studies. The SDA is a platform for people to present academic and applied demographic research. The organization places significant value on diversity, with Sparks being one of seven leaders who is female.
Sparks will serve a three-year term, leading the organization’s efforts to promote interdisciplinary scholarship of demography very broadly. As president, she will organize annual meetings and key panel discussions focusing on policy driven research. She will facilitate efforts to produce scholarly work through SDA’s official journal, Population Research and Policy Review that provides up-to-date and data driven information on the policy implications relevant to the causes of changing population size and composition on a diverse set of outcomes. The Department of Demography’s Associate Professor Corey Sparks is the journal’s Editor-in-Chief.
Sparks’ involvement brings much value to UTSA. The SDA meetings represent an excellent venue for graduate and undergraduate student participation. Students are encouraged to submit proposals for papers to the annual meeting. When they attend meetings, they receive feedback on their research and gain access to a large network of top faculty in the field of demography. The SDA also promotes programs for undergraduate students by offering opportunities for them to work with leading demographers in the nation to prepare their research on related topics in economics, sociology, political science, psychology and other areas. UTSA represents one of the largest groups participating in the Southern Demographic Association meetings.
“I am excited to be able to contribute back toward strengthening policy driven research,” said Sparks. “I love that I can serve as a mentor to graduate students and young professionals who want to contribute toward advancing a wide range of significant practice and policy issues through evidence based demographic research.”