I am interested in Bourdieu’s sociological concept of cultural capital which are the social assets of a person (education, life expectations, parenting practices, behavioral patterns, and dress, etc.) that promote social mobility in a stratified society. In my research I examine the effect of cultural capital across individuals’ educational life history. I have three current projects that examine the effects of cultural capital in three important periods (early childhood, adolescence, young adulthood) of students’ lives.
My first project is a qualitative piece that examines the process of parents selecting schools for their kindergarten age children within a school choice setting. In this project I interviewed 90 families from three different races (White, Polynesian, and Hispanic) that enrolled their children in high poverty, majority minority, failing schools. Here I examine how cultural capital impact this school selection process resulting I these low income parents segregating their children into low income failing schools within a school district where they are able to send their children to a high quality school that is within an 8 minute drive.
My second project is a quantitative piece that examines the cumulative effect of a number of parental practices, which increases students’ cultural capital (cumulative family experience), on adolescence psychological outcomes such as competence, locus of control, and self-concept. The overall focus of this paper is to see how cultural impacts students during their adolescent years.
My third project is also a quantitative piece that examines the effect of concerted cultivation, a middle class parenting style focused on increasing children’s cultural capital, on student’s educational attainment after higher school. The purpose of this is to find out whether students who were concertedly cultivated during the 10th grade were more likely to obtain a bachelor degree or higher eight years after they graduating high-school.
My teaching interests are introduction to sociology, sociological problems, race and ethnicity, and research methods. I have been a recitation instructor for introduction to sociology and I look forward to teaching my own class in race and ethnicity, sociology of education, and research methods. I hope to influence student’s world views and help them become informed citizens who can have civil discussion about controversial issues of the day.