I recently received a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Beginning in August 2013, I will be a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan studying the mental health of college students. Following that appointment, I will be an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Pennsylvania State University. My research and teaching interests include the sociology of education, education policy, higher education, race and ethnicity, inequality, and quantitative methods. I was a 2012-13 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellow and was named a 2012 Impact Award winner for outstanding research of benefit to North Carolina.
My dissertation, “The Effects of College Selectivity on Labor Market Success: Race, Gender, Class, and Horizontal Stratification in Higher Education,” uses an experimental research design known as an audit study to examine the effect of educational credentials on labor market success. I created matched candidate pairs and applied for 1,008 jobs over three geographic regions using a national job search website. The results show that credentials from an elite university result in more call-backs for interviews for all candidates, but black candidates from elite universities only do as well as white candidates from less selective universities. Moreover, race results in a double penalty: when employers respond to black candidates it is for jobs with lower starting salaries than those of white peers. Results by class and gender show additional differences. My dissertation has won three graduate student paper awards and the Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award for social sciences from UNC's Graduate School.
Beyond my dissertation, I have published work on race and class-based educational inequality in relation to social capital (Social Forces) and cultural capital (Social Science Research). Dr. Doug Lauen and I frequently collaborate on projects that examine student achievement in North Carolina. This research investigates the causal effects of classroom poverty on student test scores (American Journal of Sociology), the impact of the No Child Left Behind policy on individual test scores (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis) and the black-white test score gap (article under review), and the effects of academic standards changes on educational triage (article under review). Click on the Research link to the left for more information.
I have written an op-ed piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled "Rethinking Accountability Models in U.S. Public Education," as well as two blog posts for the Everyday Sociology Blog titled "The Educational Equality Debate in Wake County" and "Affirmative Action in College Admissions." I am also the creator of and contributor to the Educational Problems blog and a contributor to The Century Foundation's Blog of the Century.
Some of my non-academic interests include music, hiking, running, photography, and cooking.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department of Sociology
272 Hamilton Hall