William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street Cambridge, MA 02138
While I'm broadly interested in social inequality, the sociology of education and American education policy, my work at Harvard has focused on links between education and the labor market for students not immediately bound for four-year college.
In my dissertation, I seek to better understand the postsecondary educational experiences of young women balancing the demands of family, work and school in search of a college credential. I use longitudinal data from The Resilience in Survivors of Katrina (RISK) Project, which began as a randomized experiment with performance-based scholarships for low-income parents in two New Orleans community colleges. The RISK Project's longitudinal mixed-methods design facilitates a rich analysis of these young women's educational trajectories over a five-year period. I integrate data from respondents’ longitudinal survey responses with narratives from in-depth interviews, highlighting important limitations to what we know about—and how students navigate—the increasingly complex landscape of 2-year colleges, for-profit institutions and technical certification programs. This project capitalizes on my interest in mixed-methods data analysis and methods of sociological inquiry more generally. My dissertation is advised by Mary Waters, Mary Brinton and Kathryn Edin.