I am the child of a single mother who worked two jobs but never seemed to be able to make ends meet. I was a very precocious child, much to the chagrin of my family; but I was also viewed as “not the brightest spark” by my K-12 teachers. When I graduated high school I went to a for-profit college in Long Beach, CA, where I learned the fine art of fashion merchandising (I am sure that is a big surprise to my students, given my usual attire). I worked as a secretary for a record company in Los Angeles for four years, but was made to understand I would never be considered for any kind of advancement because I lacked a college degree. I moved back to Ontario, Oregon (where I was raised) and lived with my wonderful mom while attending Treasure Valley Community College.
My community college experience was magnificent! I was nurtured – my teachers took interest in me, they encouraged me to think critically, creatively, and broadly. My community college teachers told me that I could, in fact, do “it.” They convinced me to continue on and get a bachelor’s degree in sociology at University of Oregon. Upon my arrival to a university with 22,000 students I felt alone, alienated, and (as a non-traditional student) that really didn’t belong. At the end of the first week I packed up my stuff and stood in the dis-enrollment line, where a person from the Returning Students Association approached me and, in the middle of that line argued with me that I needed to stay, and that he and his organization could help me navigate this big scary place – they did, and I am forever grateful to that fantastic campus organization. As an undergraduate I was provided much guidance and support from the Educational Opportunities Program; I used every penny of Federal Work Study I was given; I ate because I qualified for (and received) food stamps; and I was healthy because I was able to be on the Oregon Health Plan (similar to MediCal).
My mentors and teachers encouraged me to venture on into graduate school. A Ph.D. in sociology later, I clearly survived and flourished (not without many missteps, mind you). My dissertation, “Prestige Press Reporting of War and Occupation: Enemy Combatants or a Coalition of the Willing?” focused on media framing of complex information, particularly portrayals of the U.S.-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003. I examined the interplay between politics, monopolization and economic constraints, and journalistic norms. My findings suggest that journalists in the modern, monopolized, for-profit prestige press quite literally act as stenographers to their powerful sources.
My primary areas of specialty are theory, social inequality/stratification, political economy, political sociology, mass media, race and ethnicity, and environmental sociology.
- Ph.D. Sociology, University of Oregon, 2007
- M.S. Sociology, University of Oregon, 1999
- B.S. Sociology, University of Oregon, 1997
- A.A. Treasure Valley Community College, 1995
Research and Teaching Interest:
- Environmental Sociology
- Mass Media
- Online Social Networking
- Political Economy
- Political Sociology
- Race and Ethnic Relations
- Social Inequality
- Classical Theory
- Contemporary Theory
- The Family
- Introduction to Sociology
- Social Change
- Social Inequalities
- Sociology of Education
- Pacific Sociological Association
- American Sociological Association
- California Faculty Association