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I am a researcher and teacher with training in sociology and social work. I also have experience working in human service, non-profit organizations, and policy settings. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where I am also a Research Associate at the Population Studies Center and a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Africana Studies. I received a Ph.D. ('15) and Masters ('12) in Sociology from Duke University, and a Masters Social Work ('09) with a concentration in Community Empowerment and Program Development from the University of Georgia. I am a former Ford Fellow and American Sociological Association Minority Fellow, and was previously a Visiting Research Scholar in the Inequality and Social Policy Unit at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
My research is fundamentally concerned with how individual, structural, and institutional factors create, maintain, and reproduce poverty and inequalities. While my work recognizes the role of individual characteristics, it underscores how structures can constrain and influence individual agency, and thus contribute to broader patterns of inequality. My research interests broadly encompass the areas of poverty and inequality, family and children, race, gender, place, and policy. My current work focuses on regional disparities, child poverty, and low-income families. My research has been supported by the American Sociological Association, the Ford Foundation, and the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University.
I was born and raised in Savannah, GA, and slowly made my way up North after living in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. I currently reside in Philly (though I am a Southern girl at heart), with my wonderful partner and our happy toddler!