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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?Before coming to LSU, I was at the University of Massachusetts Amherst pursuing my Ph.D. and working as an instructor and as the assistant director of the university’s Criminal Justice Program.
What brought you to LSU?I took the job at LSU because the faculty and students here made it clear to me that I would be walking into a vibrant and intellectually stimulating departmental and university atmosphere. The compelling nature of research and activism addressing poverty and inequalities in the South were a big factor in my decision as well. Finally, the idea of not having to endure a Midwestern or Northeastern winter again anytime soon pleased — and continues to please — me endlessly.
What are your research interests?I am a sociologist who studies crime. My current research focus is the ethnographic study of community dynamics relevant to crime and disorder, broadly speaking.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?While at LSU, I want to do research that allows me to simultaneously: 1) Contribute to existing scholarship on communities, crime and inequality; 2) Engage directly in community practices and programs in order to support ongoing endeavors aimed at combating poverty and inequality; and 3) Provide my students plentiful opportunities to hone their writing, speaking and research skills.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?The people — though I realize that it sounds rather cliché to say that, but, hey … it’s the truth.
What are your major accomplishments?Over the past two years, I have established an ethnographic study of community gardens in the greater metropolitan area. This project involves collaboration between multiple researchers, working alongside community activists whose spirit and sense of humor is inspiring, learning from local children who know more about life and gardening than I do, and getting my LSU students out of the classroom and into parts of Baton Rouge they may not otherwise ever become familiar with. This seamless integration of research, teaching, activism and an enriching personal life is the major accomplishment I’m most grateful for and proud of in the past five years of my life.