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Willa Cather Professor Sociology jmcquillan2@unl.edu 706 Oldfather Hall

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Curriculum Vitae

Current Research

My research focuses on social inequality, with special emphasis on changing structures and practices to increase equity and wellbeing. I was fortunate to work with the team (including Lynn White, David Johnson, Arthur L. Greil, Mary Casey Jacobs, Naomi Lacy, and Laurie Schauble) who created the two-wave, public use dataset called the National Survey of Fertility Barriers. With team members (particularly Arthur L. Greil) and several student collaborators, I’ve been fortunate to help answer questions about psychosocial dimensions of fertility and infertility – including health disparities – using this dataset. My new fertility-related research is using the German longitudinal Pairfam dataset.

 I combine my interests in social inequality and health to work on informal science education as a vehicle for engaging youth with science and meaningful careers. I led the learning science research for the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) with Dr. Judy Diamond and Charles Woods on the “Biology of Human.” This project emerged from prior collaboration on the “World of Viruses” project. Also with team members Patricia Wonch Hill and Amy Spiegel, we conducted a four-wave Science Identity Study on middle-school youth. In addition to publications from this project, I was honored that the TEDxYouthLincoln team invited me to give a talk (“How do we find science kinds of people?”) at the 2017 youth event.

 I am leading a new SEPA project, Worlds of Connections that will engage youth with network science for health research for bio-behavioral and biomedical careers. www.worldsofconnections.com

 I enjoy collaborations that bring sociological perspectives to a variety of questions and fields, focusing on social structures at individual, interactional, and institutional levels of analyses using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.

Student Opportunities

I am seeking graduate students who are interested in 1) increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math; 2) psychosocial consequences of fertility and infertility processes and outcomes.  I enjoy collaborating with students and supporting careers in practice settings and in academic settings.

 I am seeking undergraduate students for three kinds of opportunities that can include grant funded or UCARE projects: 1) leading middle-school aged youth in afterschool programs engaging with network science; 2) studying ways to increase youth science identities; 3) interventions to increase gender equity. 

Current Teaching

Currently, my teaching focuses on Sociology 101 Introduction to Sociology. I enjoy teaching courses on Social Psychology, Gender, Health, and Research Methods.

Selected Publications

Hill, P. W., McQuillan, J., Spiegel, A.N., & Diamond, J. (2018). Discovery orientation, cognitive schemas, and disparities in science identity in early adolescence. Sociological Perspectives 61(1), 99-125. doi:10.1177/0731121417724774

Hill, P. W., McQuillan, J., Talbert, E. J., Spiegel, A. N., Gauthier, G. R., & Diamond, J. 2017. Science Possible Selves and Desire to be a Scientist: Mindsets, Gender Bias, and Confidence during Early Adolescence, Social Sciences, 6(2), 55.

Gauthier, G.Robin., Patricia Wonch Hill, Julia McQuillan, Spiegel, Amy. N., and Diamond, Judy. 2017 “The Potential Scientist’s Dilemma: How the Masculinization of Science Shapes Friendships and Science Job AspirationsSocial Sciences 6 (1), 14.

McQuillan, Julia, Arthur L. Greil, Karina M. Shreffler, and Andrew V. Bedrous. 2015. “The Importance of Motherhood and Fertility Intentions among U.S. Women.” Sociological Perspectives. 58 (1) 20-35. 

Recent Grant Activity

2018   “Worlds of Connections: Engaging Youth with Health Research through Network Science and Stories in Augmented Reality” (PI). $1.2 Million. SEPA NIGMS National Institutes of Health.

 2018   “Planning Grant: Engineering Research Center for Additive Manufacturing Technologies in Distributed, Localized Food Manufacturing (AMFM).” Jeyamkondan Subbiah (PI), Julia McQuillan (Co-I), David Britton (Co-I), Mark Riley (Co-I), Ali Tamayol (Co-I). $100,000. National Science Foundation.

Other information

I was previously chair of the department and, before that, director of the Bureau of Sociological Research. I have enjoyed several service roles with Sociologists for Women in Society and the American Sociological Association.


Ph.D. University of Connecticut

Areas of Specialization:

  • Health
  • Gender
  • Social Inequality
  • Family
  • Quantitative Methods