As an undergraduate, I declared as a Sociology major with the intent to work in the non-profit sector - more specifically to work with "at-risk" youth. However, in taking my first Research Methods class, I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed learning about the scientific processes that informed Sociological insight. I was pleasently surprised by the intellectual challenges that arose from using relatively basic information available from surveys to try and understand complex human behaviors. In addition, I came to appreciate the necessity of good research in making programs, policies, and non-profit organizations more effective when tackling contemporary social problems. I then realized that I might be better suited for a career in academia than the non-profit sector.
In terms of research, I identify as a family demographer with special interests in family formation, individual well-being, gender, and survey measurement. One line of work considers multiple masculinities that manifest in fatherhood and how they are associated with structural inequalities and father involvement. Another line of work examines family complexity and instability with a particular emphasis on data quality and adjusting survey measurement to accurately identify diversity in contemporary US families. The final vein of my research considers non-marital and unintended childbearing and the associations with relationship formation and stability, parental investment, and parent/child well-being.
As a researcher and teacher, I make a special effort to enhance classroom experiences by incorporating insights from current research. Accordingly, I am primarily interested in teaching methods and statistics courses, as well as substantive courses concerning family and demography, the study of populations.