Major Projects

The Rise of “Choice” Programs: 100 Years of Social Sorting in Social Welfare Services

The question of governments' role in providing social services is longstanding. The dominant school of thought is that government programs counter-act the concentration of resources from market forces by provisioning standardized services to those who qualify. A contemporary school of thought is more multifaceted: Governments directly manage and provide social services, but governments also affect social service provision through market regulations and even the creation of new marketplaces. The emergence of “choice programs” is a quintessential example of this multifaceted approach. “Choice” programs are a form of social welfare provision characterized by individuals who receive services in the form of “products” through participation in a market. Taking an institutional perspective, my dissertation documents the historical rise of choice programs in retirement, healthcare, education, and housing. Particular attention is given to explaining how modern social sorting mechanisms became second nature, altering who benefits, who is left out, and the overall effectiveness of the public welfare system. 

This dissertation is supervised by Dr. Jeremy Pais. Other committee members include Drs. Mary J Fischer, Simon Cheng, Christin L Munsch, and Andrew Deener.

You'll see on the right a video of me presenting my research to UConn's 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition. The presentation was selected as a 2022 finalist. 

Emily Post and the Mythical Norm

“The Mythical Norm Then and Now” is a single, longitudinal embedded case study examining the American mythical norm over time through an analysis of Emily Post’s Etiquette. The embedded units of analysis, separate editions of Etiquette, provide a fine-grained understanding of historical changes in the cultural construction of inequality. The project uses data from Etiquette to make insights into long-standing sociological issues and natural language computational social science methods. 

Dr. Andrea Voyer is the primary investigator of this project, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, Award No. 1851304. You can find more information about her research on her Google Scholar page.

Inclusive Quantitative Logic

At The College of New Jersey, I'm collaborating across social science departments to develop a student-centered, active learning Introduction to Statistics for Social Scientists course.  I use insights from research on inclusive teaching pedagogies, undergraduate interviews, and course evaluations to develop and share concrete practices and programs that empower students from all backgrounds to develop important and valuable quantitative skills.  

The Institute for Racial Justice created the video on the right presenting an initiative aimed at Teaching Culturally-Informed Mathematics. Dr. Nathan Alexander facilitated this project and works at the forefront of research and practice in Equity-Minded Data Science. Note: I share the video as a supporter, not an institute or project affiliate.