My interests in social relationships led me to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of New Hampshire. In the process of becoming a social scientist, I developed a passion for teaching students not only about social processes, but also the skills needed to apply sociological perspectives to their lives and communities.
At Ithaca College, I teach a variety of courses, including introduction to sociology, family, work, and inequality. Students in my classes research their home towns using data from the U.S. Census, they study family dynamics and the life course with in-depth interviews of their own family members, and they research their future careers using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By making sociological research relevant to student lives, I try to reveal how culture and social structures influence life chances and choices, as well as the power individuals have to humanize social relations.
Much of my past research focuses on the tensions individuals experience as they manage job and family responsibilities, examining how families adapt to these challenges throughout the life course. My current research focuses on the factors that influence organizations to adopt flexible work arrangements, as well as the ways alternate work arrangements affect workplace performance. In my most recent books, Changing Contours of Work: Jobs and Opportunities in the New Economy (Pine Forge Press with Peter Meiksins), and The Work Family Interface (Sage), I reveal chasms that separate workers from meaningful, stable, and economically rewarding careers. Included in my publications are the ways that individuals, grassroots organizations, employers, unions, governments, and the international community can contribute to refashioning an economy that better serves the interests of working families.