Curriculum Vita

Degree and Year in Program

PhD Candidate


Kelsy Burke

Areas of Specialization

Cultural Sociology, Qualitative Methods, Sociology of Art

Comprehensive Exam Area: Inequalities (Passed-Fall 2020)

About Me

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. I am also pursuing a graduate specialization in Ethnic Studies. I graduated from UNL in 2017 with my BA in Anthropology (minors in English, Ethnic Studies, Music, and Native American Studies) and received my MA in Sociology from UNL in 2019. My MA thesis was a qualitative project that involved primary data collection of the lived experiences of recovered and nonrecovered alcoholics to empirically examine Gregory Bateson’s Theory of Alcoholism. Analyses of the results of the “Drinking Behaviors, Relationships, and Recovery Study” reveal that individuals seeking substance use recovery, in fact, experience shifts in their epistemological framework, enabling and encouraging changes in their drinking behaviors. I am currently working on revising a manuscript for publication using the data from my study.

Broadly, my dissertation explores Indigenous women’s art and themes of decolonization and sovereignty through a lens of Indigenous Feminist Theory and settler colonialism. I am currently conducting interviews with Indigenous women artists across the United States. The goal of my dissertation is to better understand and reveal the power of Indigenous women’s art in challenging contemporary colonial narratives.

I also have experience working as a Graduate Research Assistant. I previously served as a research assistant on the Bii-Zin-Da-De-Dah (Listening to One Another) Analytic team, examining a culturally adapted family-centered substance use prevention program designed for American Indian families and youth between the ages of 8 and 11. I am currently a graduate research assistant for Drs. Emily Kazyak and Kelsy Burke on their NSF funded project examining religious exemption and freedom laws and minority rights.

I have served as an Instructor of Record for Drugs and Society (SOCI 309-online). The goals of this course are to help students understand the cultural and sociological factors and impacts of substance use as well as highlight U.S. policies related to substance use. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, I have taught in-person recitations for SOCI 101 and have also been a grader for SOCI 101.

I previously served as the Vice President of Representation for the Graduate Student Assembly at UNL, and I have also served as the external graduate representative for the Department of Sociology for the Graduate Student Assembly.

During my time at UNL, I have found that the Department of Sociology is extremely supportive of both its undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students have funded opportunities to teach and conduct research with faculty. Graduate students also receive generous support for traveling to conferences. Faculty members also show genuine support and interest for their students.

Courses Taught 

Sociology 101: Introduction to Sociology, Recitation Instructor

Sociology 309: Drugs and Society, Instructor of Record

Select Publications:

Bleed P., Douglass, M., Sumner, A., Behrendt, M., McKay, Alex. (2017). “Photogrammetrical Assessment of Procedural Patterns and Sequential Structure in “Handaxe” Manufacture: A Case Study along the Doring River of South Africa.” Lithic Technology (1).