ABOUT ME

I am a Social Psychological Criminologist. Most often, I study and teach about the social psychological aspects of deviant behavior.


There are many areas to this website covering all of my academic interests and activities. This e-Portfolio is also a part of the RobVox.com Webring.

Education

Magna Cum Laude Double Major Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Sociology
2004
Masters of Science in Sociology
2008
Graduate Certificate in Survey Research + 2 Teaching Certificates (Regular & Advanced)
2010
Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychological Criminology
2014

BIO

I am an Assistant Professor of
Sociology at Weber State University.

EDUCATION

I earned my PhD in the Department of Sociology at Purdue University. I also did graduate coursework at Indiana University, Bloomington.

I study Sociological Social Psychology and the implications of Social Psych on crime and deviance. My PhD examined the efficacy of social intervention for children impacted by parental incarceration, LINK 1 & LINK 2. I also completed my M.S. at Purdue University, my thesis integrated emotion within Identity Theory. My B.S. was taken from Weber State University, Ogden UT. My undergraduate studies consisted of a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice. I graduated Magna Cum Laude, receiving high departmental honors and distinction from both the Sociology and Criminal Justice departments. My undergraduate honors thesis looked at the use of humor to preserve gender (particularly female) stereotypes.

Find out more

RESEARCH

My substantive interests are strongly shaped by the epistemology of social psychology. Criminologically, my work examines how self processes shape deviant behavior.

My research is developmental in nature, considering life-course trajectories of delinquent behaviors. Typically, I conduct longitudinal quantitative analyses of the social psychological factors influencing crime and criminality. I also incorporate mixed methods into my work by including in-depth interviews of those being tracked across panel waves.

My work on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning also incorporates social psychological variables. For example, one of my ongoing projects looks at the role self-efficacy and identity plays as a predictor of college students' behaviors. For more on this please visit the 'Research' area of this site.

Find out more

TEACHING

My theoretical interests are in the social aspects of self & identity and the social psychological aspects of deviant behavior.

As a Sociologist I approach Social Psychology from a Symbolic Interaction (SI) tradition beginning with Weber's notion of verstehen. Following Weber, I trace my focus through the nineteenth century pragmatist movement, and specifically the Chicago school contributions to George Herbert Mead. SI views of deviance focus on socialization, meanings (including labels), roles, and identities.

There is a great deal more work needed for the Social Psychology of deviant, delinquent, and criminal behavior to have an equal setting at the table with learning theories or self- social control theories of behavior. I hope to be a part of this contribution (see Heimer and Matsueda for examples).

Find out more

“...when different experiments give you the same result, it is no longer subject to your opinion. That’s the good thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s why it works.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking to Stephen Colbert

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Three most recent peer-reviewed articles
Ethnoracial Concordance in the Association between Academic Self-Efficacy and Achievement During Elementary and Middle School
Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, 20(1)

Social psychological perspectives on educational stratification offer explanations that bridge the macro and micro social worlds. However, while ethnoracial disparities in academic achievement are evident during the earliest grade levels, most social psychological research in this area has used high school or college student samples. We extend this line of work by examining links between self-perceptions and school performance among a national sample of third-through-eighth grade students. Contrary to hypotheses derived from the student identity literature, we find no evidence of academic disidentification (i.e., selective discounting of evaluative feedback in students’ academic self-efficacy construction) or disrupted links between academic self-efficacy and subsequent academic performance among non-Latino black, Latino, or Asian elementary and middle school students.

Keywords: Academic self-efficacy, academic achievement, race/ethnicity

The Inequality of Self-Efficacy between Junior College and Traditional University Students
Current Issues in Education, Volume 19(1)

Higher education research highlights the difficulties students face when transitioning from a junior college to a traditional university. This study explored a gap between junior vs. traditional university students’ academic self-efficacy beliefs. This study also controlled for the effects of the student role-identity and academic performance on academic self-efficacy.
Results found that junior college students experienced lower academic self-efficacy beliefs despite having higher overall grade point averages. Additionally, junior college students reported that their student role-identity was less important to them compared to students at the large public university. Findings suggest that structural disadvantage at the institutional level of higher education reproduces inequalities found in society at large.

Keywords: Higher Education; Inequality; Self-Efficacy; Junior College; Traditional University

Mentoring & Child Self-concept: Longitudinal Effects of Social Intervention on Identity and Negative Outcomes
Current Research in Social Psychology, In Press

Using panel data gathered from 173 children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program the major developmental assumptions of Identity Theory were tested. A child’s self-reported categorization of their mentee identity was used to predict involvement in delinquent behavior, feelings of sadness, and low self-efficacy.
Across three waves of panel data, this study found that social intervention improves a child’s self-concept. However, results also find that improvements in self-concept are not simply positive for all groups of children receiving mentoring services. Exogenous variables such as age, race, and sex impact the amount of influence mentoring has on a child’s self-concept; varied influence impacts the efficacy of social intervention to mitigate the outcomes measured.

Keywords: Self, identity, social intervention, mentoring

% of students reporting that:

"I respect this instructor as a source of information in the field."
100%
"The instructor's explanations and/or demonstrations were clear."
90%
"The instructor provided helpful feedback on graded assignments."
93%