About me

Beyond Research

I’m a lot of things, and simply stating my professional activities before anything else seems odd. So, before entering that arena, let me introduce a broader picture of me. First, I’m married to the love of my life. Second, I’m enthusiastic about the great outdoors and spend every minute I can hiking, trail running, climbing, mountaineering, and simply enjoying nature with my wonderful partner and our dogs. I’m trying my hand at gardening, and hope to learn how to grow more of the food that I eat (Kendra provides the meat with her expert hunting skills). Finally, I’m curious about a multitude of topics, including: culture and language, physics, computers (both hardware and software), philosophy, art, music, and board games. But, now in the years of graduate studies, I normally spend my time researching…. Luckily my research often coincides with at least a few of my other interests; or at least provides an excuse to indulge in them a little.

Research

Now the professional picture: I’m a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Behavioral Science and Institute of Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado Boulder. My research interests are social stratification, population health, inequality, education, advanced quantitative methodologies, and the integration of social science and omics research (mostly genomics at present, but I hope to expand to using other omics data in future projects).

Prior to coming to CU Boulder I received my Ph.D from the Sociology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I was also a pre-doctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center. Additionally, I worked as a statistical consultant at Brigham Young University  where I earned both Undergraduate (economics) and Master’s (Sociology) degrees.

My dissertation used a novel approach to measuring GxEs in educational attainment, in which heritability estimates are theorized as reflexive measures of the social/institutional values and structures. This work builds on traditional social stratification models  of “status attainment” to better understand the role of resource inequalities based on social origins (e.g., social class, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity) through the use of sociogenomic data and methods. Thus, implicitly accounting for the dual inheritance (social and genetic) passed from parents to children. As part of this process I developed a set of 30 polygenic scores (PGSs) for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health)… Release #2, which will add approximately 40 additional PGSs will go live at the end of the summer 2019.

In related work, a few colleagues and I have a series of papers (1 2) focused on the origins and consequences of social stratification in educational outcomes based on socially constructed resources such as social capital.

Finally, I have a few papers that have recently come out, or are under review, that explore differences in the risk of dying young. There is arguably no more definitive outcome to study social stratification than death. And despite the fact that we are all mortal, certain groups experience a higher risk of dying across the lifecourse than others; and these patterns need to be understood if we as a society are to construct policies that can help reduce the gaps between the most and the least advantaged among us.

For more updates and papers check out my CV, google scholar profile, or follow me on twitter.