Personal profile


Originally from rural Appalachian Virginia, I am a first-generation college graduate and TRIO alum. When I was in high school, I took part in a movement to keep my school from being closed. We were unsuccessful, but while I was in college, my job at my school's Service-Learning Center took me to other communities where residents had fought--and failed in--similar efforts.

This experience sparked my interest in studying grassroots social movements, and today I study how activists create strategies to win their demands, as well as how they collaborate with other social movement organizations. I have studied movements against rural school closures, pro and anti same-sex marriage movements, the 2009-2010 Tea Party movement, and the 2011 wave of K-12 teacher mobilization. Based on my research, I teach courses in social movements, labor unions, and gender.

I am also trained in teaching writing, and I enjoy teaching both first-year writing and upper-division writing courses. I serve as faculty advisor and editor of Culture, Society, and Praxis, our undergraduate open access journal of social scientific writing.

Related documents

Education/Academic qualification

Sociology, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine


Sociology, M.A., University of California, Irvine


Sociology, M.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


biology, B.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Interdisciplinary Studies, B.A., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University



  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Sociology