About Me


I am a sociologists, through and through. After receiving my Master’s and Ph.D. from Georgia State University, I have been a faculty member at Appalachian State University going on ten years now. While teaching three or more courses per semester and during the summers, I have provided several learning experiences and  courses that have been personally rewarding and hopefully engaging for  my students . At App State, I have served as a specialist in teaching social inequality, being the lead professor on developing and teaching courses concerning race and ethnic relations, gender, and social stratification. I have prepared and taught 14 different courses, including several “core” sociology courses that focus on research methods, data analysis, and our senior capstone course that requires seniors to produce an original research project. I have used an array of effective teaching materials to make sociology engaging including lectures, class debates, in-class activities/games, service learning projects, and community-engaged research. I also believe in writing assignments and have used them in almost all of my classes to encourage an analytical writing culture in my department from introductory applications of key concepts to complex research papers for publication.

Beyond the classroom, I have been successful in developing several study abroad programs to Central Europe (France and Germany) for undergraduate students to examine race and ethnic relations, as well as the consequences of war. I’ve also co-led a program to Costa Rica to study the coffee industry and migrant labor. Finally, I have served on over 20 different undergraduate and graduate thesis committees, helping students hone their craft in researching society and human behavior.

Based on teaching and peer evaluations, I have effectively demonstrated that I am a dedicated and passionate teacher. I have consistently scored higher than average on my overall instructor and course evaluations in comparison to department mean scores. I have also received positive qualitative comments from students, suggesting that I am “passionate,” “knowledgeable,” “makes me think outside the box and want to find solutions,” and an “approachable professor who encourages success.” In my peer evaluations, my colleagues have suggested that I am an exceptional teacher, who “is one of the best in the department in engaging and encouraging academic growth.” I believe one of the better indicators of my effectiveness was that in 2009 I was inducted into the College of Arts and Science’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers at ASU. I was also recognized for my teaching in 2010 when I received the Outstanding Teacher Award for the College based on peer and student recommendations. In 2013, I was also giving the honor to receive the college level Board of Governors Teaching Excellence Award. As suggested by my CV, these evaluations and awards continue to attest to my continued dedication to teaching since my graduate work at Georgia State University.

As for scholarship, I have made significant progress toward establishing an active research and writing program. When entering ASU, I planned to do research that covered a variety of topics of social inequality, as well as concentrate on examining the social integration of Latinos into the American South. My research has used several different methodologies including in-depth interviewing, surveys, focus groups, and existing data sources. My research has also moved toward a community-engaged research agenda that has provided opportunities for student involvement in the research process and allowed me to develop rapport with Latino immigrant communities across the South.

Since the Fall of 2007, I have produced 16 publications: 11 peer-reviewed journal articles, one monograph, two edited volumes, one book chapter in the edited volume, an edited four-volume encyclopedia and several book reviews and applied research reports. My research articles have focused on race relations and immigration, particularly the struggle of Mexican immigrants with social integration in the U.S. within local and national contexts. The various books and encyclopedias have also followed this same trajectory.

However, since 2013, I have begun to focus on topics that fall into the sociology of culture. For example, a co-edited volume, Untapped: The Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer, focuses the cultural phenomenon of craft beer and critically examines its rise within various American subcultures. I have also recently published an article that examined the pedagogical endeavors of fermentation sciences to teach college students how to brew beer and so much more. I also have began book projects on the resurrection of moonshine in America, a textbook on the sociology of war, and two research monographs; one focusing on the racialized discourse around affirmative action in college admissions and the other examining the social movement of “ethically sourced” coffee from Costa Rica.

My service to department, college, university, and the profession has consistently gone beyond the required service requirements at App State. At the departmental level, I have served on at least two committees each academic year. Particularly, I have served on the department’s personnel committee seven years, which makes decisions concerning hiring, promotion, and tenure. Since 2013, I have served as my department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies and its Internship Supervisor. At the college level, I have served on various assessment and strategic planning committees. At the university level, I have served as a consultant or committee member for Writing across the Curriculum, Multicultural Student Development, Women’s Studies, Graduate Faculty, and General Education. I have also served on the General Education Council, Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures, and various task forces to address issues of diversity and better undergraduate education.

My service to the profession has also been proficient. I have faithly served on the North Carolina Sociological Association’s Executive Council and was the President fro 2013-2014. I have served on a number of committees for the Southern Sociological Society including as Chair of the Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities, Committee on Committees, Programs Committee, and the Executive Committee. I have also volunteered to review several manuscripts from top journals including Social Forces, Social Problems, Sociological Spectrum, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Latino Studies. I have served as a blind reviewer for the National Science Foundation. Finally, I have served as a consultant for government agencies and non-profits to conduct anti-racism workshops, and have been a guest lecturer and presenter for various universities across the South discussing my research on Latino immigrants and the symbolism of the Confederate Battle Flag.

In all, I have been busy but I only see more to do in the future. I hope that I can continue to offer a quality education to my students. I also hope to continue to venture into new territories of research and interactions around the world with students and colleagues. Finally, I aspire to stay relevant in an ever-changing world.


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