I am a David E. Bell Fellow in the Center for Population and Development Studies at Harvard University. Â I recently completed my Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where I completed a Dissertation Year Fellowship, pre-doctoral traineeships from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development through the California Center for Population Research, and a pre-doctoral fellowship in the Institute for Educational Sciences’ Advanced Quantitative Methods program at UCLA. I study social stratification and mobility, and I am particularly interested in the roles that education and income inequality play. Â My dissertation focused on howÂ disruptions in parents’ lives (e.g., job loss, divorce, residential move) impactÂ their children’s educational attainment. I recentlyÂ completedÂ a project that examines how life course disruptions affect health in later life, and I am working on another project to look at the effects of disruptive events on health throughout the life course. I am also working on a cross-national comparative project to see how mothers’ job lossesÂ affect children’s education differently in the U.S. versus Germany.
I primarily use nationally representative longitudinal data sets for my work. I have used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), and the German Socio-Economic Panel (G-SOEP). I am also trained to use the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and will beÂ starting a project that usesÂ this data soon.
Methodologically, I am fascinated by causality, especially how causalityÂ relates to life course theory.Â The fundamental problem of causal inference states that we cannot possibly see a person go through two courses in life simultaneously, whether that be two different tracks in school, two different occupational choices at a specific time, or choosing to get married versus not getting married. Yet, at the same time, each choice or event in a person’s life affects future choices and events. The idea that the other option becomes virtually extinct (at least for it to happen at that particular time) drives my quantitative research. I am also interested in the relationship between individual level observations and aggregate level data or generalizations.