I am a life course sociologist who studies the relationships between higher education, work life, and activist/civic participation. I investigate how these relationships differ across cohorts and life course transitions to show how context affects individual behavior. In addition, I conduct research on the psychological underpinnings of activist involvement. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods, although lately I have been using more quantitative approaches.
My dissertation asks: What explains activist participation in a life course transition? To answer this question, I conducted a mixed-method, longitudinal, multi-campus study that tracks life changes and activist participation in recent college graduates. I find that declines in activist participation after college graduation are primarily due to changes in face-to-face interaction, and that there are different pathways into paid and volunteer activism after college graduation. Finally, I challenge prior assumptions that there are social norms against activism in young adulthood, and propose a new framework for analyzing social influence in the transition to adulthood.
My research has appeared in Social Forces, Sociology of Education, and Sociological Forum. I have also been honored with Best Graduate Student Paper Awards from the Collective Behavior and Social Movements and the Age and Life Course sections of the American Sociological Association. Additionally, I received the Everett K. Wilson Award, honoring the most outstanding graduate instructor at UNC’s sociology department.
Prior to my time at UNC, I earned a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, worked as a community/union organizer, and coordinated a violence prevention program based at a rape crisis center. I also completed research on sexual violence prevention programming in higher education, focusing specifically on fraternity/sorority systems.