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Corina Graif

Corina Graif

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology

Research Associate, Population Research Institute

603 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-7712

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2013
  2. PhD, Harvard University 2011
  3. MA, Harvard University 2007

Research Areas:

Crime | Health Risk | Communities and Urban Sociology | Spatial Stratification and Mobility

Dr. Graif’s research work examines the causes and consequences of urban poverty and population diversity in relationship to crime and health, with a focus on the dynamics of personal and community social capital in multi-ethnic and multi-racial urban U.S. contexts. In her projects, Dr. Graif integrates sociological, criminological, and population health perspectives to investigate neighborhood effects and inequalities in spatial exposures and mobility and how they shape opportunities and affect crime, health, and risky behavior among urban children and youth.

Dr. Graif teaches graduate and undergraduate level courses on Communities and Crime. She co-organized a Conference on Mass Incarceration and Health, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and served as a grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation. Dr. Graif chaired the 2013 American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting’s Sessions on "Communities and Violence" and on "Prisons, Jails, and Mental Health". She was a member of the American Society of Criminology's Program Committee, serving as Sub-Area Chair for the sessions on "Neighborhood Effects", part of the 2016 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. She co-organizes the PRI's Changing American Neighborhoods and Communities (CANAC) Working Group.

Dr. Graif received the Roy Buck Award recognizing the best article accepted or published by a refereed scholarly journal in the social sciences within the last year. She also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Pennsylvania State University Chapter.


Graif, Corina, Alina Lungenu, and Alyssa Yetter. 2017. “Neighborhood isolation in a Rust Belt city: Violent crime effects on structural isolation and homophily in inter-neighborhood commuting networks" Social Networks (forthcoming)

Graif, Corina and Stephen Matthews. 2017. “The Long Arm of Poverty: The Extended and Relational Geography of Neighborhood Effects on Child Victimization” Justice Quarterly (forthcoming)

Alyssa Yetter (Howard-Tripp),Corina Graif, and Sarah Fry. 2017. “Public Housing”. Invited chapter in The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty edited by Robert Rycroft. Greenwood: Santa Barbara, CA. (in press)

Graif, Corina. 2016. "(Un)natural Disaster: Vulnerability, Long-Distance Displacement, and the Extended Geography of Neighborhood Distress and Attainment after Katrina" Population and Environment. 37(3): 288-318 (online Aug. 2015).

*Highlighted in the PSU PRI news, August 2015, *in a Bloomberg news article by Mark Whitehouse, *and in a New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell

Arcaya, Mariana*, Corina Graif*, Mary Waters, and S.V. Subramanian. 2016. “Health Selection into Neighborhoods among Moving to Opportunity Families.” American Journal of Epidemiology. 183(2):130-7 [*equal lead authors].

Wang, Hongjian, Zhenhui Li, Daniel Kifer, and Corina Graif. 2016. “Crime Rate Inference with Big Data.” 2016. Proceedings of the Knowledge Data Discovery ACM SIGKDD Forthcoming.

Graif, Corina. 2015 " Delinquency and Gender Moderation in the Moving to Opportunity Intervention: The Role of Extended Neighborhoods." Criminology. 53(3): 366–398.

Graif, Corina, Andrew S. Gladfelter, and Stephen A. Matthews. 2014. "Urban Poverty and Neighborhood Effects on Crime: Incorporating Spatial and Network Perspectives". Sociology Compass 8: 1140–1155.

*Highlighted in a Next City article by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, October 2014

Tran, Van C., Corina Graif, Alison D. Jones, Mario L. Small, and Christopher Winship. 2013. "Participation in Context: Neighborhood Diversity and Organizational Involvement in Boston." City and Community. 12(3): 187-210.

Graif, Corina. 2012. "Getting Ahead: Social Mobility, Public Housing, and Immigrant Networks (By Silvia Dominguez)" Invited Review. American Journal of Sociology. 117(4): 1253-1255.

Graif, Corina, and Robert J. Sampson. 2009. "Spatial Heterogeneity in the Effects of Immigration and Diversity on Neighborhood Homicide Rates." Homicide Studies. 13(3): 242-260.

*Featured in Contexts Discoveries: New and Noteworthy Social Research in  May 19, 2010, article “Safety in the Melting Pot” by Sarah Shannon.

Sampson, Robert J. and Corina Graif. 2009. "Neighborhood Social Capital as Differential Social Organization: Resident and Leadership Dimensions." American Behavioral Scientist. 52(11):1579-1605

*Reprinted in: Social, Ecological and Environmental Theories of Crime. 2011. Edited by Jeffery T. Walker. Ashgate.

*Reviewed by Chris Walker in the Journal of the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, December 2010.

Sampson, Robert J. and Corina Graif. 2009."Neighborhood Networks and Processes of  Trust." Pp. 182-216 in Whom Can We Trust? How Groups, Networks, and Institutions Make Trust Possible edited by Karen Cook, Russell Hardin, and Margaret Levi. New York: Russell Sage Foundation (peer reviewed).

Lucas, Jeffrey W., Corina Graif, and Michael J. Lovaglia. 2007. "Prosecutorial Misconduct in Serious Cases: Theory and Design of a Laboratory Experiment." Pp. 119-136 in Experiments in Criminology and Law. A Research Revolution, edited by Christine Horne and Michael J. Lovaglia. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Lucas, Jeffrey W., Corina Graif,and Michael J. Lovaglia. 2006. "Misconduct in the Prosecution of Severe Crimes: Theory and Experimental Test." Social Psychology Quarterly, 69(1):97-107.

*Reprinted in The Process of Social Research by Jeffrey C. Dixon, Royce Singleton, and Bruce Straits.  Oxford University Press

Tausig, Mark, Rudy Fenwick, Steven L. Sauter, Lawrence Murphy, and Corina Graif. 2004. "The Changing Nature of Job Stress: Risk and Resources." Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being 4:93-126.

Note: Names in bold represent lead authors.


Professional Awards, Grants, and Fellowships:

Roy Buck Award for the best article in the social sciences within the last year, Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts (2016)

National Science Foundation. Research Experience for Undergraduates, Co-PI (2016-2017)

National Science Foundation. Research Grant, Co-PI (2015-2017)

Faculty Fellow , Social Science Research Institute, Penn State University (2016-2017)

Excellence in Teaching Award, the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Pennsylvania State University Chapter (2016)

Population Research Institute, Penn State, Research Grant (2015)

Social Science Research Institute, Penn State, Research Grant (2014).

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program, Research Seed Grant (2012-2013)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  (2011-2013)

American Sociological Association's Children and Youth Section Graduate Student Paper Award. Runner-up. (2012)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant (2010-2011)

Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Urban Dissertation Fellowship (2010-2011)

American Sociological Association's Student Paper Award (honorable mention) from the Community and Urban Sociology Section (2010) for "Creative Class and Diversity: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics across Chicago Neighborhoods"

Center for American Political Studies Fellowship, Harvard University (2009-2010)

Project for Justice, Welfare, and Economics, Research Fellowship at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (2008-2009).

Harvard Real Estate Academic Initiative Research Grant (2008).

Urban Policy and Governance Summer Award at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government, J. F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2008)

Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Research Grant for "The Role of Nonprofits in the Lives of  Urban Dwellers: A Qualitative Exploration" (Co-PI with Van Tran),  J. F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2008).

Howard T. Fisher Prize for Excellence in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Harvard University (2007) for her Master's Degree Thesis on "Creative Class and Diversity: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics across Chicago Neighborhoods".

Certificate in GIS and Population Science and Travel Award, from the Population Research Institute and Center for Spatially Integrated Social Sciences, University of California Santa Barbara, CA (2005).


Research Interests:

Urban, Community, and Spatial Sociology:

Consequences of urban poverty and population diversity on crime and health and on the dynamics of personal and community social capital

Quantitative Methods:

Counterfactual methods; spatial analyses, GIS mapping; social network analyses


Communities and crime, spatial stratification of opportunities

Health and Life Course:
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