Mellon Mays Fellow
Abraham Arriaga is a student at City College of New York who is majoring in Sociology. His research interests are poverty and homelessness with a research focus on “homeless” pet owners, a subgroup of the homeless population. He is exploring their companionship and how people who are homeless strategically balance caring for themselves and their animal companions. His attention has been on how animal companions diminish the homeless individuals’ feeling of otherness, how they act as barriers, and how they provide a sense of home and family outside of our socially constructed understandings. His research interests derive from his parents’ childhood and their heartfelt stories about life in Mexico, and through his employment on a longitudinal poverty study at Columbia University’s Population Research Center.
Abraham recently completed research on the “homeless” with their companion animals in areas of Los Angeles as part of a summer research program at University of California Los Angeles. He intends to continue his research in New York City, recording the voices and stories of people who are “homeless” through ethnography so as to alter public perceptions of this marginalized group.