B.A., Anthropology & Sociology

University of Florida


M.S., Sociology

North Carolina State University


Ph.D., Sociology

North Carolina State University


Assistant Professor of Sociology

University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Associate Professor of Sociology

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

I’ve always been interested in understanding diversity, inequality, culture, health, resources, policy, and population-level risks in societies.

As an undergraduate anthropology major, I started working as an archaeologist in the Florida swamps, excavating and preserving shell midden mounds of historic Timucuan societies. I worked for 3 years in archaeology labs and museums, sorting and labeling pottery shards, bone, shell, and charcoal. Alongside this work, I was a classics minor and took every course I could find on ancient societies, including the Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

At the same time, I was also doing volunteer work with older adults who were socially isolated and without permanent housing in Northeast Florida. The social and economic need of this aging population was so compelling to me that I shifted career paths from archaeology to sociology and officially added sociology as my second undergraduate major. My first sociological project was interviewing older isolated men without housing who avoided local shelters to better understand their resistance and concerns.

After my experience working in shelters, I was interested in returning to a more macro-level societal scale by studying social isolation among older populations across cultures and societies. My graduate training in North Carolina focused on family sociology, socio-cultural gerontology, global trends and cross-country comparisons, and quantitative analysis of secondary data. I started working extensively with publicly available secondary datasets on aging populations, including the Health and Retirement Study (HRS, United States) and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE, European Union). I also worked with other large cross-national data sources such as the World Values Survey (WVS), World Bank (WB), and the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). My master’s thesis and dissertation explored contextual variation in associations between social ties and health along race, ethnicity, culture, and economic resources and identified groups at risk of isolation and poor health.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve continued to leverage publicly available secondary data to examine a range of topics focused on social environments, inequality, isolation, support expectations, and health promotion among aging populations. These projects include an examination of neighborhood social environments and cardiovascular racial health disparities in Baltimore City using data from the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity Across the Life Span (HANDLS) and the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA), and social support networks and health outcomes across cultures and policy systems drawing from the Gateway to Global Aging database. A major priority of my research is traveling to countries in the datasets I analyze to meet scholars doing similar work in each country, form collaborations, and gain additional cultural insights. In spring of 2019, I was fortunate enough to use my sabbatical to travel to 10 countries in South America, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and East Asia to present work and network with other scholars analyzing these topics with the goal of brainstorming data needs and emerging global trends. One of the primary focuses of my current work is conceptualizing and analyzing stereotypes as well as social and health needs of the expanding global population of older adults who will be unpartnered and childless in the coming century. After a hiatus in the pandemic, I’ll be returning to East Asia in 2023 to continue this work.

In addition to aging societies, I also adore teaching, traveling, hiking (the Appalachian Trail, C&O Canal Trail, Hadrian’s Wall Trail), camping, half marathons, music (especially loud and live or on vinyl), drumming, animals, babies, craft gin, coffee, my family and friends, and okra in any form. 😉