Biography

I am an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Kentucky and a research affiliate at the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research. I hold a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University and a Master of Public Affairs from the La Follette School at the University of Wisconsin- Madison . My research focuses on housing, families, and poverty and inequality. My primary line of research uses multiple methods to study the experiences of families with children who live doubled-up in shared households. Other projects examine residential decision-making and family complexity. My work has been published in several journals, including Social ForcesDemographySocial ProblemsCity & Community, and The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

My primary line of research uses multiple methods to study families with children who live doubled-up in shared households. Scholars are increasingly attentive to family complexity introduced by parents’ romantic partnering. However, focusing solely on the nuclear family fails to capture the full household experience of many children, particularly in non-white and lower-income families, who often live in more complex households. Over 14 million children live with extended family or non-kin in doubled-up households, defined as those that include any adult(s) besides the householder and householder’s romantic partner. Compared to well-studied forms of family complexity, doubling up is common: more children live doubled-up than in either cohabiting families or stepfamilies. Yet, our understanding of complex doubled-up households lags far behind scholarship on complex families. My research extends the literature on family/household complexity by examining the causes, consequences, and intra-household dynamics of doubled-up households. I show that inequality in children’s home environments is driven not only by parents and their romantic partners, but also by extended family and non-kin, and that studying doubled-up households can enrich theories of the family and of social support.

My research on doubling up has received support from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Penn Social Science & Policy Forum, Harvard Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy, and the MacArthur Foundation. I have received awards from the Society for the Study of Social Problems Poverty, Class, and Inequality Division and Family Division and was a finalist for an American Sociological Association Family Section award. 

I am originally from southern Indiana.  I was a first-generation college student and received a BA magna cum laude with a sociology and anthropology major from Carleton College.  After college, I spent a year in AmeriCorps working at Caritas of Austin as a case manager for people facing homelessness.