I was drawn to sociology to study how our social contexts shape the resources and opportunities we have access to, our ways of thinking about the world, how we live our lives, and what this ultimately means for our wellbeing. For example, how do our racialized and gendered experiences relate to our attitudes about “criminal” punishment? How do the places we have lived in the past, and our experiences there, correspond to where we live in the future? More recently, how do schooling experiences shape our educational trajectories?

I have worked on several related projects. In one paper, I researched whether and how attitudes about criminal punishment among four groups–Black men, Black women, White men, and White women–vary according to U.S. county arrest rates. Social Science Research published the findings. In another, I worked on a team to analyze the residential mobility and neighborhood outcomes of paternal incarceration (published in Social Science Research)

As I suggest above, socially relevant research is a priority for me. Before becoming a program evaluator/ researcher focused on STEM equity, I worked on this through collaborations not only with other academic researchers, but with community-based researchers and practitioners as well.

In my dissertation, I studied residential mobility processes for housing voucher users living with children in King County, WA. Specifically, I conducted semi-structured interviews to better understand how past and current residential experiences (the homes and neighborhoods lived in, moving residences, etc.) relate to the ways that individuals find and obtain housing, what it means to be satisfied with a home, and how they liked current and past homes. A National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award (#190404) provided the funding to incorporate interviews in Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese, which allowed me to consider a broader range of voices in this work. In order to complete this portion of the project, I had the pleasure of working with a team of undergraduate and graduate students with essential language and research skills.

My dissertation was possible because of my participation in an ongoing collaboration among the King County Housing Authority, the Seattle Housing Authority, and the UW Department of Sociology’s Professor Kyle Crowder. I have also worked on other community-oriented projects. In 2017-2018, I took the lead on focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and survey development for the Seattle Rental Housing Study. This was an independent study conducted by the UW Department of Sociology and commissioned by the City of Seattle to better understand how renters and property owners/managers navigate the private rental market. I also supported UW-Tacoma faculty on the project, Mathematical Modeling with Cultural and Community Contexts, a multi-site NSF-supported study that partnered with elementary schools to investigate the integration of community-oriented math modeling into 3rd-5th grade curricula.