I am a data scientist for Yammer at Microsoft and a research affiliate with the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to starting my current job, I held postdoctoral positions with the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) at Notre Dame, the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE) at Yale University and Nuffield College, University of Oxford. I received my Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA in 2009, supervised by Robert Mare.
My academic research interests are in education, social stratification, social demography, and social networks. My past research focused on friends and the role they play in the stratification process of adolescents. Why friends? In contrast to their families, schools, or neighborhoods, adolescents choose their friends. An adolescent who lacks support or resources at home can, in principle, seek out a group of friends to compensate. Friend choice, however, is subject to many constraints, including where one attends school and lives. These constraints limit opportunities. This interplay between opportunities for friendship and preferences for friends motivated much of my past research.
I am still involved with the Indianapolis Peers and School Transitions Study (IPAST Study) with Megan Andrew, collecting new data to study the friendship dynamics and academic decision-making of youth as they transition from 6th to 7th grade and into new schooling environments. This data collection project, funded by the WT Grant Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, focuses on the saturated school peer networks of students in traditional public, charter, and private schools throughout Indianapolis. We observe these networks before, during, and after school transitions, paying particular attention to the changes in the friendship networks of youth who transition across school types.