I am a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a specialization in Women’s and Gender Studies. I received my Master’s degree from the University of New Orleans in 2013 where I completed my thesis that is now published in Social Sciences in a special issue on LGBTQ Lives in Context: The Role of Place, entitled “Reconciling LGB and Christian Identities in the Rural South.” My research interests include sexuality, gender, social psychology, and sexual minority health disparities.
My research has explored several aspects to understanding the lives of sexual minorities. Specifically, I’ve studied identity negotiations among LGB Christians in the rural South, family support and well-being among LGBQ people of color, how LGBQ individuals navigate the legal landscape of the U.S. when exploring pathways to parenthood, and both physical and mental health disparities of sexual minorities compared to heterosexuals. My work illustrates the importance of taking an intersectional approach to the sociological study of health and sexualities.
My dissertation project employs a mixed-method approach to studying sexual minority health disparities. Through quantitative analysis and qualitative in-depth interviews, this study seeks to understand the health and well-being of individuals by locating them within their specific cultural and geographic contexts. By focusing on how individuals understand their own health in relation to others, I aim to provide more nuance to inequalities in health, especially as it relates to sexual identity, gender, and geographic location.
My teaching philosophy is a reflection of my commitment to social justice and change through education. By connecting classroom learning to the lived experiences of both my students and the broader community, I create an atmosphere of critical thinking that takes into consideration human diversity when engaging social issues. Much of my teaching focuses on helping students learn to both recognize and address social inequalities. One way this is achieved is through encouraging students to consider whether or not a universal application is appropriate, or if factors such as gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc., impact the lives of individuals. By understanding issues through an intersectional lens, students not only learn of social inequalities but also begin to understand the relevance of these inequalities.
At UNL, I have taught several courses for both Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. These include Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, Introduction to LGBTQ Studies, Gender in Contemporary Society, and Social Problems.
Kazyak, Emily and Brandi Woodell. 2016. “Law and GLBQ-Parent Families.” Accepted at Sexuality & Culture.
Woodell, Brandi, Emily Kazyak, and D’Lane Compton. 2015. “Reconciling LGB and Christian Identities in the Rural South.” Social Sciences 4:859-878 (Special Issue on LGBTQ Lives in Context: The Role of Place).
Woodell, Brandi. 2014. “Negotiating Gay Male Christian Identities in Rural Places.” Pp. 29-42 in Illuminating How Identities, Stereotypes and Inequalities Matter through Gender Studies, edited by D. N. Farris, M. Davis, and D. R. Compton. New York, NY: Springer Press.
M.A.: University of New Orleans