What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Sciences
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I joined UCF as an Assistant Professor in 2011 after graduating from Florida State University (Summer 2011).
What is your academic background?
PhD, Sociology, Florida State University
MS, Sociology, Florida State University
BA, Sociology, Appalachian State University
What is your favorite UCF memory?
One weekday, on a walk across campus to a meeting, I passed a student dressed up in costume and then passed Knightro, who gave me a high-five. I then had a great interdisciplinary meeting with colleagues and thought, “This is why my job is great.” How many other people get a high-five from a mascot and then can have a stimulating academic conversation with their colleagues in the course of a random work day?
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
Although we already have the pieces in place, I would say encouraging even more collaboration across disciplines. With the resources we have coming from such diverse colleges and schools, we have the opportunity for innovative synthesis across faculty and students, along with highlighting and bolstering all of the creative activities already occurring on campus. I believe this could lead to unique paths for addressing ongoing social issues.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Following up with my last comment, I would say my advice would be to reach out to your other colleagues for support—both when you are the one needing support and in the event that you can offer support. I have already experienced such collegiality, whether more formally through CSWF and FCTL, and informally through a quick coffee or lunch; I know that this has made a big difference in my time at UCF up to this point.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
It is hard for me to pinpoint one thing, but I very much care about issues of diversity and gender equality. I would be honored if there was a scholarship or perhaps a mentoring award, related to this issues, which would be named after me.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
I have always loved the arts, so I would enjoy having lunch with faculty from the Visual Arts to learn more about all of their work and events happening around the community. I would like to have lunch with the Provost and those in the Office of the Provost, to learn more about their vision for UCF, and I would love to have lunch with Martha Hitt to hear her stories from her time here.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I feel as though this could turn into that moment at an awards show where the music starts ushering you off the stage, but Melody Bowdon, Liz Grauerholz (who probably started mentoring before I even formally arrived), Jana Jasinski, Libby Mustaine, Linda Walters, Cynthia Young, and those I’ve connected with through the Faculty Learning Communities and Writing Club.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
My mentors from undergraduate, Dr. Beth Davison, and graduate school, Dr. Douglas Schrock. Both of them always treated me like a future colleague rather than a “student”, pushed me to be my best while pursuing what I am most passionate about, and likely dedicated far too much time to chatting about anything and everything with me—which makes a surprising difference as a student working their way through academia and career plans. Although from the “past” in relation to when I met them, they remain my mentors.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
I was fortunate enough to participate in a competitive research capstone as part of the Public Service Research Grant at Appalachian State. We were a small group (perhaps five of us), so we received very close instruction and mentoring on research, working with the community, and research funding. I was able to complete surveys and interviews in the community with local folk artists and it was such a rewarding experience to hear their stories and spend time with them. In graduate school, I would say being invited to be a graduate TA for the new qualitative research course was highly rewarding, as I got early experience offering feedback to students and gaining feedback on teaching qualitative methods.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Although hard to narrow it down, I would currently say Hawkers and Santiago’s Bodega. Both have wonderful plates that you can share with others and very relaxed atmospheres.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
I love music and at this point listen to almost all types of music, so I would say my favorite music right now is live music, especially alternative and jazz. If I take a break from reading theory books (a delightful job hazard), then I am content with most mystery fictions.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
For a road trip or weekend getaway, my favorite vacation destination is Treasure Island, FL. It feels as though it’s a smaller beach town trapped in time. I also enjoy Savannah, GA for a weekend getaway. There are so many places I have yet to visit that I hope to have new favorite destinations, but from past trips I very much enjoyed visiting New York, Paris, and San Francisco.