I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University and a first-generation college student. As a first-gen student and PhD, I’m particularly interested in helping first-generation and other underserved student populations achieve academic success. I recently started a blog to help undergraduates improve their academic writing: check out undergraduateswrite.com for new posts each week.
My approach to teaching is an active one – sociology is an incredibly broad discipline that is relevant to student’s everyday lives, and they learn best when the classroom and the everyday can be brought together. Sociology is in the doing.
My research interests focus on identity and belonging, particularly within groups that somehow “go against the grain” of the dominant society. My current research project involves a qualitative inquiry into the cosplay subculture–a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion in both principle and in practice. A key component of cosplay centers around a paradox: the sublimation of identity through communal practice in an activity that the dominant culture denigrates as strange. It is this tension between personal and social identity, boundary-work, and belonging/social cohesion that motivates my interest in this subculture.