Social Scientist. I became a budding social scientist when I had the opportunity to take Dr. Tracy Scott’s Introduction to Sociology at Emory University. I have always been curious about what informs people’s choices, interests, and orientations, and sociology gave me the language and grounding with which to conduct these inquiries more formally. After earning highest honors for my sociology honors thesis on socioeconomic inequality in undergraduates’ pathways to higher education, I taught high school English, then came to Stanford to continue to study how socioeconomic status and education relate to opportunity provision. I have earned an MA in sociology and will have earned a PhD in sociology of education and education policy at the conclusion of my doctoral studies.
Writer. Writing has been central to my identity since elementary school, though I honed my craft substantially thanks to writing copious amounts of fanfiction in middle and high school. In college, I studied creative writing and published short stories in local anthologies. Most of my writing is now academic, but I still occasionally write fiction and memoir.
First-Generation High School Graduate. I am from the relatively low-income community of Spalding County, which has the worst socioeconomic mobility outcomes for poor children in Georgia and 17th worst in the nation [link]. Despite qualifying for free lunch and the full amount of the Pell Grant, I am set to earn a PhD from Stanford University. None of my parents graduated from high school, but they taught me a lot about living the life that you choose, overcoming setbacks, and carving your own path in the world. My mom fulfilled her dream of becoming a nail technician (and started her own business when I was in college), my stepdad started at Waffle House as a dishwasher at 13 and retired as a division manager (and helped my mom start her business), and my dad leads a hydroseeding crew and still plays bass in his band. They have taught me so much about resourcefulness, hard work, and resilience.
Community Member. I constantly seek ways to give back to my community. This is perhaps best exemplified by my returning to my hometown to teach. However, in college, I also co-founded an organization to support young people’s transitions into postsecondary pathways, and I both worked for and volunteered for my scholarship program. At Stanford, I have served as Academic Chair and, later, co-President of the GSE Guild, the co-Director of the Sociology and Education Network, and the sociology MA representative in the Association for Sociology Graduate Students. My advocacy is aimed at demystifying the hidden curriculum of academia, brokering relationships between students and faculty, and making academia more inclusive.
Reader. I enjoy science fiction/fantasy, realistic fiction with character-driven narratives, memoir, and young adult fiction. Some favorites in each of these genres are The Stormlight Archive, The Kite Runner, The Black Notebooks, and Turtles All the Way Down, respectively.
Family Member. I am a cat mom to Zoey, pictured below, and have been married to my high school sweetheart since 2015.