What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Currently I am Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology, which in the College of Sciences
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I joined the Sociology Department in 1994 as “fresh out of graduate school” Assistant Professor. I was promoted to Associate Professor in 1999, then Professor in 2012. During that time I have served on the Faculty Senate, been the Sociology and Social Sciences Undergraduate Coordinator, conducted the departmental assessment, and tons of committees.
What is your academic background?
1987 BA in Sociology from The University of Wisconsin, Madison.
1989 MA in Sociology from The Ohio State University
1994 PhD in Sociology with Criminology emphasis from The Ohio State University
What is your favorite UCF memory?
This memory relates to a time that I was teaching the Sociology of Murder course. I created and developed this course at UCF, and at the time I was the only one teaching it. I really enjoy teaching this course! Anyway, about the 10th or so time I taught it, it was toward the end of the course and I had begun making announcements about the final exam. For a couple of weeks, I had 2-3 students come up after class each day to tell me how much they had learned in the course and that they had really enjoyed it. On the last day of class, I finished going over the material and asked if there were any final questions. They all stood up and game me a standing ovation. It was pretty exhilarating.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
I would build the Sociology building. In it, there would be several very high tech interactive conference rooms with lots of comfortable chairs. There would also be several high tech computer labs and interactive research collaboration rooms with comfortable chairs. There would also be a coffee shop on the main floor. Faculty offices would be peppered throughout the space. Finally, there would be a garden outside the building but connected to it (similarly to BHC meditation garden).
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Sweat the details and make sure you have Plan B.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
A scholarship that would give a full-ride to a female doctoral student in Sociology. The scholarship would basically be what my dream come true would have been when I was a graduate student: it would pay for tuition, books, room, board, any additional fees or materials and a meal plan. It would also pay for participation in conferences and workshops per year. These workshops could be anything from learning how to use a new large dataset to various professional development seminars to a discussion/symposium on a topic of interest.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
Per A Danielsson, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music. He is a jazz pianist, who has played with a lot of jazz greats. I would love to hear him play, then pick his brain about the life of a jazz musician, the lives of some of the people with whom he’s played, the history of the jazz songs he plays on the piano.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Dr. David Gay. He always had faith in me and was always optimistic that I would get tenure.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why?
My mentor, Dr. Ruth Peterson really inspired me to write well. She would make me go through seemingly endless revisions of my dissertation and other papers, till I wanted to scream. But, it made me to realize that the editing process is actually quite enjoyable and writing well is worth the effort.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
I took a class called, Contemporary Society as an undergraduate. The Professor basically talked about the patterns and sources of some of the strongest or most important social relationships. I found it to be completely fascinating and that course/professor are the reason that I majored in Sociology–which changed my career aspirations entirely, sent me off to graduate school, and is the reason I am here today.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
The Italian Buffet at the Gaylord Palms Hotel.
My favorite is pepperoni pizza
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
Music: Fall Out Boy, The Band Perry, Cracker, Pearl Jam
Authors: Anne Perry, James Paterson, Jodi Picoult, Mary Higgins Clark
Movie: The Thomas Crowne Affair, Pretty Woman, Star Wars, Star Trek
What is your favorite vacation destination?