I’m Dr Zuleyka Zevallos; a Peruvian-Australian applied sociologist, living on Gadigal land (Sydney). I hold a PhD in Sociology and have 20 years’ experience in research, policy and consultancy. I currently work as a senior policy researcher.
I began my career as an academic before joining the public service leading interdisciplinary research teams. Later I managed the research team for an environmental health and safety investigation commissioned by the state government, and then worked as a research and social media consultant. I later developed and implemented a national program to increase gender equity and diversity across higher education and science organisations. I then worked as a contractor and research consultant on gender violence, inclusion, and social movements.
Since 2017, I’ve been working in social policy. I lead large randomised control studies and other research on recidivism, vocational training, education, disability employment, cyber security, COVID-19, and increasing recruitment and retention of women and girls in non-traditional sectors.
I specialise in analysing issues of gender and sexuality, race and culture, discrimination and diversity in the workplace, social media, health and safety, and interdisciplinary research.
I support the careers of sociology graduates via my not-for-profit Sociology at Work, which I founded in 2009.
Read my extended biography below or visit my research blog The Other Sociologist.
Here’s how to pronounce my name in English y tambien en Español:
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I began my sociology career in 2001, teaching sociology and working as a research assistant while I was also writing my PhD dissertation. I completed my PhD at the end of 2004.
Throughout this time, I worked as a lecturer, convenor, teaching assistant and researcher at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, from 2001-2005, as well as a lecturer at Monash University in 2005. Over the years, I taught courses on introductory sociology; ethnicity, race and multiculturalism; families and diversity; gender and sexuality; and the social impact of technology. I also worked on research projects related to public perceptions of social good; setting up a biotechnology database and producing materials for a related academic website; I assisted on a project on “Rich List” businesses; and I worked on a study on social marketing for vulnerable consumers. I left this work to pursue other opportunities beyond academia. Thus began my career as an applied sociologist.
In 2006, I moved from Melbourne to Adelaide, where I joined the Australian Public Service. I worked with an interdisciplinary team of scientists from both the social and natural sciences. Our team specialised in research for strategic policy, social modelling and developing databases and analysis tools for government clients. I was also a Science Team Leader on two large, long-term projects; one was dedicated to the analysis of media information campaigns, and the other explored intercultural communication. I also conducted research on a broad range of topics, addressing issues such as political violence; the social inclusion of minority groups; leadership and behaviour; power in social networks; as well as media and website analysis.
I left almost six years later to return to Melbourne.
In 2012, I worked as the Senior Analyst for an environmental health and safety investigation. I led a team of 23 analysts evaluating thousands of reports and hundreds of interviews. I reviewed the training practices and managerial procedures regarding hazardous chemicals and their connection to cancer and other illnesses found amongst emergency response workers and volunteers.
In the same year, I also worked on independent research and social media as I established my consultancy, Social Science Insights. I supported clients who wished to improve their services and communities through quality social research as well as educational and inspirational social media. I provided research and training on workplace diversity, health, public education, and corporate responsibility. I worked with a range of businesses and not-for-profit organisations; from community groups delivering education; to businesses in the catering and food industry; to fitness and wellbeing entrepreneurs; to fashion and beauty professionals; to technology providers; and more.
In 2015, I moved to Canberra to join the Australian Academy of Science, as Program Manager of Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE). I designed and implemented a pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia. This is an equity and diversity accreditation and evaluation program for universities, research and medical centres. The objective is to improve the hiring, promotion, retention, recognition and participation of all women, including Indigenous and transgender women, as well as other under-represented minorities in science. I was tasked with recruiting six organisations for the pilot. Within the first year, 40 institutions had joined from across higher education, science institutions and government agencies. I created a training program using a framework of intersectionality (examining the interconnections between gender, racial and other inequalities). We also established a national symposium addressing intersectionality and policy changes in science, technology, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
After the successful launch of this program, I left the Academy to work in consultancy and research projects in the not-for-profit and social policy sectors.
I moved to Sydney in late 2016. I established an applied research program to address domestic and family violence. I later provided analysis of social movements; delivered strategic advice on corporate gender equity and inclusion measures; and other exciting projects.
In 2017, I began work as a Senior Behavioural Advisor in social policy. I’ve led multiple projects to improve outcomes for marginalised and vulnerable populations. This includes:
- improving up-take and access of programs by people at risk of recidivism;
- managing three projects on vocational training; this includes randomised control trials to boost class attendance, and increase apprenticeship completion;
- scaling a trial to boost self-help behaviour by first-year learners across New South Wales;
- scaling a program to attract pre-service teachers to rural and remote schools;
- designing a trial to improve career outcomes for people with disability;
- producing and testing an online cyber security training game;
- scaling a trial to increase self-isolation after a COVID-19 test; and
- managing a program to increase recruitment and retention of women and girls in non-traditional sectors.
Publications and Social Media
I have published over 200 government reports, academic articles, client reports, conference papers and other articles, as well as many other blog and social media posts. My research covers topics such as multiculturalism and immigration; intercultural education; gender equality; community development; environmentalism; political conflict; business and entrepreneurship; and interdisciplinary social modelling.
I have been blogging and writing on social media since 2009. My main research blog is The Other Sociologist, where I discuss issues of social inclusion (including race, gender and sexuality), as well as how to improve public science education and applied sociology.
I write about how social science can help businesses, community development and social policy on Social Science Insights.
This website, ZuleykaZevallos.com, reproduces my academic publications and media interviews.
My work has been featured in The Conversation, the London School of Economics and Politics, DiverseScholar, Latino Rebels, The Humanist, and Women’s Policy Action Tank. See my full list of academic publications and other selected writing.
In 2007, I founded the Applied Sociology Thematic Group, within The Australian Sociological Association, serving researchers working outside universities.
In 2009, I established Sociology at Work (S@W). S@W is an international network of applied sociology practitioners, activists and students. We have a current membership of almost 34,500 people across our website and social media platforms. I maintain our blog, website and social media.
My Research Interests
- Communities: social identities, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, religion, class, nationality, disability, youth sub-cultures
- Culture: migrants, multiculturalism, discrimination, social cohesion, socio-economic mobility, resettlement of refugees
- Media analysis: target audiences, media literacy, website analysis, social marketing, discourse analysis
- Social Media: blogging, online social movements, public science on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok
- Education and training: vocational training, apprentices and trainees, pre-service teachers, intercultural communication, community development
- Health: accessibility, environmental health and safety, COVID-19, public health policy
- Business: online practices of small businesses, diversity and inclusion policies and practices, training and development
- Political issues: politically motivated violence, national security, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, cyber security
- Social theory: social constructionism, ethnomethodology, feminism, postcolonialism, intersectionality
- Qualitative methods: in-depth interviewing, behavioural analysis, cultural assessments, ethnography, data management, ethics
- Quantitative methods: use of social theory to interpret Census data and social surveys, sociology in interdisciplinary social modelling.
In my Other Life, I am…
- An Avid Fashionista, especially of vintage and retro threads;
- A Movie Aficionado, especially of indie, international and horror films;
- Book Worm;
- Tireless Dancer;
- Art Fanatic;
- Pop Culture Tragic and Connoisseur of out-dated cultural references.
- Occasional Children’s Clown.
Connect with me
If you’d like to reach me via email, fill out the form on my Contact Me page. Otherwise you can find me on:
To read more about the purpose of my website and a super riveting disclaimer, click here.