Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I have a B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M.A. in Psychology from Georgia State University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Emory University. I am currently a Meigs Professor of Sociology and director of the Criminal Justice Studies Program. I also co-direct the Laboratory for the Study of Social Interaction.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I was hired as an assistant professor in 1998.
What are your favorite courses and why?
I enjoy all of the courses I teach, so I can’t really name a favorite. I guess my favorite course is whatever I am teaching at the time I’m asked. I currently teach courses in social psychology, criminology, and methods. Right now, I’m most excited about the Experimental Methods in Sociology course that I’ll be teaching in the fall. This is a course that gives undergraduates both classroom and hands-on training in laboratory methods in the social sciences.
What interests you about your field?
An easier question is what doesn’t interest me. As an experimental social psychologist I study emotional and behavioral responses to various forms of injustice; as a criminologist I study violence against women using secondary survey methods. I feel fortunate to have found an intellectual home in which I can pursue both of these topics.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
Receiving the Meigs Professorship was a great honor. I was also proud of the State of the Art Conference on “Social Structure and Emotion” that I organized with my colleague Dawn Robinson. The conference was exciting, and the book that we developed from the conference won the Outstanding Book Award given by the American Sociological Association’s Section on the Sociology of Emotion.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching?
My research and teaching are interwoven. Being an active researcher forces me to stay current in my fields of study, so I am able to discuss the latest research findings with my students. I also provide students with hands-on research whenever possible, since the best learning is through doing.
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal student is hard-working, thoughtful, and excited about learning.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
I enjoy being in the classroom, working with students on research projects, and doing administrative/committee work. I even enjoy analyzing data, so I’m usually pretty happy wherever I am on campus.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Spend time with my husband, Lee, and our two children, Jared and Avery. I also enjoy losing myself in a good book.
Community/civic involvement includes….
Most of my spare time is spent supporting my children in their activities at Clarke Middle School. I recently served as a parent ambassador for the Clarke County School District’s “Seeing Is Believing” tour, and I am a member of the district’s Parent Advisory Board.
My favorite book is anything written by Margaret Atwood. Right now I’m reading the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, and I’m also reading The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker.
Proudest moment at UGA?
Hooding my first doctoral student, Jennifer McMahon-Howard, who is now a faculty member at Kennesaw State University.