What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Sciences
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I began at UCF as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2007, and moved into a tenure-track position in 2010. Before that I was Assistant Professor at the University of West Georgia.
What is your academic background?
PhD, Sociology, University of Florida
BA, Sociology, University of Michigan
What is your favorite UCF memory?
My favorite UCF memory is when I opened the letter that informed me I had been awarded tenure and promotion. I had purposely not paid attention to the dates when I would receive feedback from each level of the process, so when the sealed envelope appeared in my box I opened it just like any other mail. I was standing in the Sociology main office and once I realized what it was I yelled, “I got tenure!” Everyone who heard me came and celebrated with me.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
If money and time were no object I would create a resource center for faculty parents. The resource center would be designed to provide a space for faculty who are parents to connect and receive support they need to succeed in their careers. The center would also include a high-quality day care center to meet needs not covered by regular child care arrangements, providing faculty with young children greater flexibility in scheduling meetings and ability to attend campus events. I would also create a similar resource center for student parents.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
I think the best part of being a scholar is that we have the freedom to select projects that we find interesting and exciting. The advice I would give to my colleagues is to make the most of this unique aspect of our jobs. My work on projects I am genuinely passionate about tends to reap the greatest rewards.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
If UCF was going to name something in my honor, I would like it to be the campus lactation rooms because my research and outreach work focus on supporting breastfeeding. I believe that supporting mothers to have the ability to make real parenting choices is fundamental to women’s empowerment.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
If I could have lunch with anyone at UCF I would select Cynthia Young, Jana Jasinski and Linda Walters. These are women in the College of Sciences who inspire me.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I would like to thank my husband, Scott Carter, who is also Associate Professor of Sociology at UCF. He has been incredibly supportive of my career. I would also like to thank Jay Corzine who hired me three times in his position as Department Chair, and Jana Jasinski who has served as an amazing mentor and role model.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
A professor who truly inspired me is my dissertation advisor, Dr. Constance Shehan. Connie was the only woman full professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Florida when I was a student there. She had an exceptional research and publication record, edited a prestigious journal, directed the Center for Excellence in Teaching, mentored many graduate students, and was an outstanding teacher. She is a perfect example of a teacher-scholar who I greatly admire.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan I was permitted to take a three-semester graduate research sequence where we prepared, pre-tested and conducted the Detroit Area Study. I was fascinated by the research process and loved the first-hand experience I gained in the program. We participated in all stages of the research process, from identifying the number of housing units in an area, to going door-to-door in Detroit to pre-test the instrument, to calling participants to conduct the survey. It was a wonderful experience and inspired me to continue research in sociology.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite food because there are so many excellent options. I most often go out for sushi or Mexican food, but I also love Greek and Thai.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
Meet the Parents.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
I love travelling to explore new places so aside from visiting family or attending conferences I rarely travel to the same place more than once. My favorite U.S. destination so far has been Sedona, Arizona. My favorite destinations abroad have been Tikal Guatemala, Machu Picchu, and Cinque Terre Italy.