I received my B.A. in Honors and Sociology from Villanova University and my M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. I joined the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Lafayette College in 2004. Prior to coming to Lafayette, I conducted research in Baltimore as part of the Moving To Opportunity Qualitative Study, during which time I was affiliated with Princeton University’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing as a post-doctoral fellow.
I am a sociologist who researches social inequality in the United States, particularly in terms of class, gender, and race and ethnicity. I primarily use qualitative methods to advance these fields by offering in-depth accounts of the views and experiences of those most central to the sphere of study.
One aspect of this research has centered on examining the well-being, views, and experiences of women in poverty as they navigate a post-welfare reform safety net, low-wage employment, and differing neighborhood contexts. I have recently published work 1) explaining poor women’s understanding and use of local nonprofit social service organizations and 2) comparing and contrasting the views and experiences of a group of poor women who moved through the Moving to Opportunity housing mobility demonstration in the 1990s with a group who did not.
Another line of my research on social inequality is housed in the sociology of sports. This research pursues how primarily gender but also class and racial privilege are deeply institutionalized and embedded in interactions within fantasy sports and how power is reproduced yet also contested in and through this hobby.
My current research project focuses on how individuals, particularly low-income women and their families, use and think about their leisure time; the constraints and opportunities they encounter in their everyday lives; and their overall well-being. This research also involves exploring what role neighborhood organizations play in providing families with tangible and intangible resources as well as spaces in which they can interact with others.
I am currently Editor-in-Chief (with Julie Kmec, Washington State University) of the journal Sociology Compass.
Research Interests: Race, Class, and Gender; Women in Poverty; Sociology of Sport; The Welfare State; Social Policy; Nonprofit Organizations; Urban Sociology
Teaching Interests: Social Inequality; Sociology of Poverty; Sociology of Sex and Gender; The Family; Sociology of Sport; The Welfare State; Introduction to Sociology; Sociological Theory; Qualitative Research Methods