Associate Professor
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Heritage Hall 460P
(205) 996-2301

Research and Teaching Interests: Aging, Family, Gender, Health, Sexuality

Office Hours: By appointment


  • BA, University of Virginia, Sociology
  • MA, University of Texas at Austin, Sociology
  • PhD, University of Texas at Austin, Sociology

I was first drawn to sociology because of an undergraduate class. I learned how sociology makes "the strange familiar and the familiar strange." I learned basic principles of sociology in the classroom and then observed these same principles all around me — at the gym, at my job at a nursing home, in my family relationships. In these environments, I became most interested in questions about relationships, gender, sexuality, and health at older ages. My research explores these topics, with a particular emphasis on caregiving around chronic conditions in same-gender and different-gender marriage. For example, some of my past studies consider how one person’s depression impacts his/her spouse’s mental health, what intimacy looks like in gay, lesbian, and straight relationships, how nursing home admission rates differ across racial/ethnic groups, and how parenthood changes health habits. I address these research questions through statistically analyzing large datasets and through in-depth interviews, asking questions about their health and personal experiences across the life course.

I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on aging, family, the body, and health, as well as general sociology. Through classroom discussion and assignments, I challenge students to connect what they learn through lectures, readings, and other media to broader social structures and realities and to critically examine their own lives and experiences and see them as embedded in broader social systems.

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  • Introduction to Aging
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Introduction to Sociology (Honors)
  • Intimate Relationships and the Family
  • Sociology of Sex and Gender
  • Body and Health (graduate)
  • Qualitative Methods (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Dentistry & Culture (School of Dentistry) 
  • Sociology of Health and Illness (graduate)
  • Medical Sociology Theory

  • National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Motherhood Biographies and Midlife Women's Health, R01 AG069251, 2021-2025, MPIs: Mieke Beth Thomeer and Rin Reczek. (Related Diversity Supplement: R01 AG069251-S1, 2021-2023)
  • Faculty Development Grant, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Marital and Caregiving Dynamics among Disabled Caregivers, 2017-2018. (PI: Mieke Beth Thomeer)

  • Deputy Editor, Journal of Marriage and Family
  • Best Mental Health Paper Award, Sociology of Mental Health Section, American Sociological Association, 2014
  • Louise Johnson Scholar Award: Academic Merit and Outstanding Scholarship, Medical Sociology Section, American Sociological Association, 2013
  • Editorial Board for the following journals: Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Psychology Quarterly, Sociology Compass
  • Secretary/Treasurer for Section on Aging and the Life Course, American Sociological Association