Chase M. Billingham
My research examines urban education policy, the school choice movement, and parents’ decisions regarding where to send their children to school. In my dissertation, I use PUMS data from the U.S. Census Bureau to trace recent trends in in-migration and out-migration in 28 American cities, investigating how migration patterns have differed between households with school-age children and those without children. I combine these data with city-level data on public school district characteristics, school assignment patterns, and school choice options to look at the circumstances under which school choice policies influence households’ residential decisions.
Along with this quantitative research, I have worked closely with Shelley Kimelberg to examine middle-class school choice decisions at the micro level. Drawing on a series of in-depth interviews that we have conducted with middle-class parents in Boston, we have explored the criteria that middle-class families take into account when deciding where to enroll their children and whether to remain in the city or move to the suburbs. We have also shown how these micro-level decisions can have important implications for cities and school districts, leading potentially to higher levels of racial segregation in urban schools and complicating the process of gentrification. Out of this research, Kimelberg and I have written articles that are forthcoming in Sociological Forum and Urban Education.
I am also a research associate at the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. At the Dukakis Center, I conduct research on housing policy, regional transportation, and urban economic development. You can learn more about my research in the Dukakis Center here: http://www.northeastern.edu/dukakiscenter/about/dukakis-center-staff/staff/#chase | Curriculum Vitae
Andrea Hill is a PhD candidate and instructor in Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. My broad areas of interest include stratification and inequality, political sociology, work, labor, and organizations, sociological theory, and research methodology. My dissertation, “The Lived Realities of Economic Crisis: Neoliberal Ideology, Governmentality, and Resistance in Elkhart, Indiana,” is an examination of the lived realities of hegemonic neoliberal economics, politics, and cultural practices in Elkhart, Indiana—the “RV Capital of the World” and a community which experienced the highest, fastest growth in unemployment in the wake of the financial meltdown and subsequent recession. Using participant observation and in-depth interviews with Elkhart’s unemployed RV workers, my research illuminates the experiences of workers struggling to stay afloat in a transformed world. My findings demonstrate the complex, incomplete nature of the neoliberal project: Workers in Elkhart embrace anti-union, small government, and individualistic discourses and use these tenets to inform their strategic responses to a bleak labor market. At the same time, they express anger and disillusionment with growing inequality, shrinking government assistance, and the alignment of state and corporate power. Workers walk a tightrope of tension as they act according to cherished values of individualism, responsibility, and enterprise, while simultaneously objecting to and resisting the realities that these values produce. This work is particularly useful for understanding labor market failure and the ways that individuals and communities address the lived, daily challenges presented by unemployment and growing employment insecurity.
In addition, I have extensive teaching experience and have designed and instructed several courses, including Introduction to Sociology, Research Methods in Sociology, American Society, and Social Theory. Teaching core courses multiple times has given me the opportunity to develop effective ways to help students activate and the apply critical perspective and sound research skills in their lives outside the classroom. I am committed to using my passion for sociology to teach students that our discipline is one that is both vitally important and consistently compelling. | Curriculum Vitae
Leandra Smollin’s primary research focus is social inequality, particularly in the areas of health, intimate relationships, and at the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and class. My dissertation, “Relationship Conflict, Violence and Abuse among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Adolescents,” speaks to the social and health effects of inequality, examining the relationships between systemic oppression and partner violence. This enduring social and public health problem is critically understudied in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth populations, despite prevalence rates approximating heterosexual youth. Data from interviews, focus groups, and one year of participant observation explain how youth conceptualize and negotiate dating relationships and violence in a changing socio-political context. Asserting their relationships are essentially “the same… but different” from heterosexual/non-transgender peers, youth narratives consistently focused more to the latter, evidencing the myriad of ways discrimination, bias, stigma, and stress influence dating relationships and subsequently prove to inform responses to dating violence. The findings of this study extend beyond addressing gaps in academic literature, they will contribute to anti-violence and health policy and educational programming.
My scholarship in the area of inequalities both motivates and informs my public policy work. In 2011, I was appointed to the Massachusetts’ Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, and asked to co-chair of the policy recommendation committee. This committee is tasked with drafting policy recommendations issued to the state legislature and executive agencies addressing social and health disparities and gaps in service provision. My public policy experience, in addition to my community-based work coordinating a health education program at a youth-serving organization, have added depth and perspective to my scholarship and teaching.
I value teaching and learning, and received an award for teaching excellence from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern in 2009. I have taught a variety of courses in both Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies at diverse institutions including Northeastern, Newbury College, Tufts, and Boston University. In addition to introductory course offerings in each field, I have taught courses on feminist theory, health, gender, family, family violence, and popular culture. I look forward to continuing to work with students in the classroom and through research-based partnerships. | Curriculum Vitae
Tammi Arford is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. My broad areas of scholarly interest are deviance and social control, criminology, penology, social theory, and qualitative methods. My dissertation, “Captive Knowledge: Censorship and Control in Prison Libraries,” focuses on the processes and practices of censorship in state prison libraries. This research elucidates the relationships between organizational goals, penal philosophies, and prisoners’ access to reading materials. In addition, this research examines the ways in which knowledge and power are inextricably bound up with one another and, more specifically, how this relationship affects incarcerated individuals and those who work in prisons. The project utilizes a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, drawing from 27 in-depth interviews and 160 surveys of prison librarians throughout the country.
I am also a research assistant to Dr. Alisa Lincoln at the Institute on Urban Health Research. We are currently exploring the ways that limited literacy affects access to and success within the mental health system. The project, “The Meaning and Impact of Limited Literacy in the Lives of People with Serious Mental Illness,” is a three-year multidisciplinary study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. I plan to follow this line of research by examining the relationship between literacy and criminal justice involvement, as well as to look more closely at the ways in which mental health issues affect the experiences of currently and formerly incarcerated people.
Additionally, I have extensive teaching experience in my areas of interest as well as within the general sociology curriculum. I have designed and instructed several courses, including Deviant Behavior and Social Control, Drugs and Society, Introduction to Sociology, and American Society. I am committed to teaching and was honored to be the recipient of Northeastern University’s Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award in Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2010. | Curriculum Vitae