Jennifer Karas Montez 2020“Beyond my wildest dreams.” That’s how sociology professor Jennifer Karas Montez describes her reaction to being named University Professor. The appointment is a prestigious distinction granted to faculty who excel in their fields and who have made extraordinary scholarly contributions as judged by their peers nationally and internationally. Montez’s appointment was recently approved by the Syracuse University Board of Trustees following recommendations from the sociology department, Maxwell School and University leadership.

“I absolutely love what I do,” says Montez, professor of sociology, Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar in Aging Studies, director of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies (CAPS) and co-director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Montez has built a career around asking “big questions” in the search for solutions to some of life’s most pressing public health problems: Why do people in one state live longer than those in other states? Why is the United States losing ground in its international ranking in life expectancy? Why is life expectancy worse for lesser-educated adults than most other groups? What can be done to reverse these disturbing trends and change life trajectories?

Excerpted from, “Newly Appointed University Professor Asks the ‘Big Questions’.”