Melanie J. Gast, PhD

Associate Professor


Dr. Melanie Jones Gast is an associate professor of sociology and was previously an assistant professor of sociology at DePaul University. In 2023, she was named the University of Louisville College of Arts & Sciences Diversity Champion for her commitments to dismantling unjust structures. Her research uncovers intersectional dimensions of power and inequality and how schools and community programs structure inclusion and support opportunities for racialized minority youth and families. Dr. Gast has four main research areas on: (1) intersections of race, class, and gender in college transitions, counseling, and support relations; (2) racial and class disparities in support for college preparations and integration; (3) faculty of color and women faculty experiences in higher education; (4) racialization, language, class, and gender processes in the inclusion of immigrant youth and parents in community organizations and school programs. She has published in journals such as Du Bois ReviewEthnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Adolescent Research, Journal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesRace, Ethnicity, and EducationSocial Science Research, Sociology of Education, Sociology of Race and EthnicityTeachers College Record, and Urban Education. 

Dr. Gast serves as a Faculty Affiliate for the Anne Braden Institute of Social Justice Research and is community-engaged faculty researcher with the Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research (CCTSJR). With other ABI faculty and students, she coauthored the “Uncovering Racial Logics: Louisville's History of Racial Oppression and Activism” UofL Library Guide and a recent policy report on “Unprecedented Times: Young People of Color Responding to the “Twin” Pandemics of COVID-19 and Racism in Louisville.” 

Research Areas

Sociology of education
Sociology of race, ethnicity, & racism
Racial, class, & gender inequality
Immigrant students & families
Community & school programs
Qualitative methods 

Teaching Areas

SOC 210 Race in the U.S.
SOC 450 Immigrants & Identity
SOC 454 Social Inequality & Stratification
SOC 472 Sociology of Education 
SOC 675 Social Inequality & Stratification