Professor, Sociology Program Director, Undergraduate Program Co-Director
Peggy Petrzelka, Professor, joined Utah State University in 2001. She received her M.S. in Rural Sociology and PhD in Sociology from Iowa State University. Her BA is in Political Science from College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN.
My research interests focus on the interrelationships between the physical and social environment in a number of settings—from rural Utah communities to rural migrant communities in Spain and Morocco.
I am currently immersed in two areas of this research. Working with American Farmland Trust, we are conducting focus groups with women landowners of agricultural land—a growing group of landowners, yet a group whose voice has been invisible to both researchers and natural resource agencies. At present we are concentrating our efforts in the Great Lakes Region of the U.S., focusing on what incentives and barriers exist for these women landowners, and their tenant operators, to adopting sustainable agricultural leases, with the goal of developing and implementing a project in the region that results in improved conservation practices on the land and empowerment of women landowners. A second dominant area of my research at the moment focuses on the social impacts of hydraulic fracturing that has occurred in the Eagle Ford Shale region of Texas, with plans to extend this work to Vernal, Utah, an area also experiencing increased hydraulic fracturing activity.
I teach Sociology of the Environment and Natural Resources and Methods of Social Research at the undergraduate level. At the graduate level, I teach Public Sociology: Ecological Justice and Community Action.
I have spent several years in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco as a Peace Corps Volunteer and Fulbright Scholar, and speak Moroccan Arabic (with a bit of Imazighen thrown in). And I am the very proud parent of Wonder Dog Beezer and 6 chickens, and the proud aunt of 9 nieces and nephews. I enjoy odd numbers, hiking, gardening and traveling.