PhD Sociology, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas
MA Sociology, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas
BA Sociology and Women's Studies, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas
I grew up in South Texas, ten miles from Reynosa, Mexico, and seventy miles from the gulf. When I was young, my family and I would cross the border into Mexico for shopping or to go to restaurants, and we would witness profound poverty. Of course the U.S. side had a great deal of inequality too, and it didn't take a sociology degree to see that race and social class were deeply tied.
As I grew older, I became aware of how other boundaries—around gender and sexuality—are also tied to power. As an undergraduate, at a college much like Northland, I encountered sociology courses taught by engaged, dynamic, and passionate professors. I began to develop a language for understanding our social world, and started to see that race, class, and gender are intertwined concepts that are profoundly influential in our lives. I soon knew what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing: trying to understand our world as a sociologist and teaching sociology to college students.
I recently completed a book that examines how race, class, and gender shape people's desire to obtain permits to carry concealed firearms in public places (UNC Press, Fall 2016).
I’m now working on a project that examines the mainstreaming of disaster preparedness in the United States culture. In my research and my teaching, I am centrally concerned with illuminating how inequality and privilege emerge at the intersections of race, class, and gender.
I absolutely love being a professor at Northland! We are committed to addressing the most important questions of our day, and our size allows us for a very close connection between faculty and students, which is evident not only in the classroom, but in the hands on learning that happens in collaborative research and community engagement. This is a very special place, and I feel lucky to have found Northland.
The courses I teach include Sociology of Gender and Sexuality, Undoing Racism, Sociology of Community, Human Rights and Social Justice, and Introduction to Sociology. What makes all of my courses special is that I get to light a spark for students and show them how amazing it is to develop a sociological imagination. Few things make me happier than to hear a chemistry major report that years after taking a course with me, he still regularly thinks about what he learned in Sociology of Gender.