As an ethnographer, I study poverty, (un)deservingness, and social and family policy through a cognitive sociological framework. My dissertation examines the experiences of parents involved in the U.S. child support system using courtroom observations, interviews, and analysis of cultural artifacts. My findings illuminate the ways that shame and stigma are pervasive in social interactions, how parents both resist and reinforce the system’s bureaucratic apparatus, and the collateral consequences of enforcement. Ultimately, I demonstrate that the child support system functions as a neoliberal construct at the intersection of the welfare and criminal justice systems, and reinforces cultural messages about deservingness, morality, responsibility, and the desirability of traditional family structures.
I earned an MA in Sociology from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and an MA in African American Studies from Temple University. I received my BA in Sociology (Law & Society concentration), Women's Studies, and Black American Studies from the University of Delaware.
My research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program, and Sociologists for Women in Society. I have published articles/chapters in Symbolic Interaction and The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Sociology.
My CV can be found here.