Professor, Department of Sociology
What year did you start working at NIU?
Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
I was born in Chicago and now live in Woodstock, Illinois.
Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
I earned my bachelor's and master's degrees at NIU and my Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany. I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Madison before coming to NIU as a professor.
In which department(s) do you teach?
Department of Sociology
Were you a first-generation college student?
Yes. Neither of my parents had a college degree, but they always placed value on learning, the arts and being politically aware.
Do you have a college age or college-bound student?
Yes! My son is now a college freshman.
What do you like about working at NIU?
I am very fortunate to have such great colleagues. They are not only extraordinarily dedicated, but they are a fun group! I also enjoy getting to know so many of my students who come from diverse backgrounds and are working hard to make the most of the opportunities that NIU provides.
What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
Don't be just another face in the crowd—get to know your professors and ask questions. Teaching and learning is always better when there is a personal connection. Don't be afraid to ask for help and don't miss class!
Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
I have worked with students on a number of research projects, including studies of college students' attitudes toward persons with mental illness, how people perceive homeless persons and how police officers respond to domestic violence situations.
What do you hope students take away from your class?
I hope that students value the importance of objective scientific evidence, the challenges in understanding the causes of behavior and social problems, and that they become critical consumers of information. I also hope the knowledge and skills they acquire at NIU will help them become engaged citizens.
What is your favorite campus event?
My favorite campus events are faculty meetings (just kidding). Actually, it's the end-of-year award ceremony our department holds, where we recognize our outstanding students who are embarking on their futures.
What is your favorite memory of NIU?
My favorite memories of NIU are of the many great colleagues I have had and of the lifelong friends I have made. The people make the institution!
Who has influenced your professional path?
In addition to my parents' unwavering support when I was younger, I've had many great professors who inspired, enlightened and encouraged me.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I wasn't quite sure, but once I got to college, I knew it was the life for me! Taking classes in the social sciences put me on the path to becoming a sociologist.
Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
I am a member of the American Sociological Association and the American Society of Criminology. I serve on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals. These positions not only help me in my own research, but they're a good way to help enhance NIU's reputation.
What community organizations are you involved in?
My family has hosted several foreign exchange students through our local Rotary Club.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I enjoy music, cooking, a good book (biography or history), cycling and, best of all, hanging with close friends.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I was recently awarded a Fulbright Core Scholar grant. I will be a visiting researcher at the University of Helsinki Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy for the fall 2021 semester.