My current research centers on understanding why antidiscrimination law is used and interpreted differently in organizations over time, despite the fact that the letter of the law remains the same. My dissertation project and book manuscript examine this question using the case of Title IX, the 1972 U.S. civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. For decades, Title IX was known as the law that encouraged women’s participation in athletics. Today, it is increasingly used to combat sexual harassment, including assault, on college campuses. Drawing on new data and multiple methods, I explain this striking change. I take a comprehensive approach that traces how the law has been used across the organizational settings responsible for enforcement: the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, the courts, and colleges and universities. Prevailing explanations of how law takes shape in organizations emphasize either external pressures or endogenous processes whereby the regulated give meaning to the regulation. My argument also highlights how cooperative and contentious interactions between two stakeholder groups—those protected by the law and professionals capable of enforcing it—transformed Title IX and, in turn, the concept of gender inequality itself.
I am a 2018-2019 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow. In summer 2018, I participated in the Summer Institute on Organizations and Their Effectiveness at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. My research is also supported by the National Science Foundation and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy and recently won the ASA Sex and Gender Section Sally Hacker Graduate Student Paper Award. I have published in Social Problems, Organization, Qualitative Sociology, and Socius.
Prior to joining Yale Sociology, I worked in philanthropic management consulting and, before that, as a wilderness guide in New Mexico. I received my B.A. in Sociology from Wellesley College and M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.