I am as an assistant professor of African American Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University-Newark. I received my PhD in Sociology from Columbia University in 2017. My research focuses on interrogating the role race plays in organizing American democratic institutions and the mechanisms that (re)produce inequality within them. In particular, I focus on the social experiences of African-American professionals in government as a way to see not only inequality, but also to explicate the relationship between race and power in state institutions.
I am currently working on my first book, The Last Plantation, which represents the first major study of racial inequality in the congressional workplace. The title draws on the fact that members of Congress and their staff have applied this telling nickname to the legislature to highlight how the institution is exempt from the very policies and principles it is tasked to create and implement, including federal workplace laws. In the context of this title, I extend its meaning to describe how race is a constitutive element of the Capitol’s workforce. To date, race has not an important consideration in research on how legislative employees get jobs or how the institution operates. However, through a mixed-methods study I establish that race is in fact an organizing factor in the congressional workplace and the institution at large. The Last Plantation demonstrates how the congressional workplace is a raced political organization by documenting how congressional labor is racially stratified, how physical space is segregated, and how identities and interactions are racialized.
My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Dirksen Congressional Center, and Columbia University and covered extensively in The Atlantic, Washington Post, Associated Press, Daily Beast, and numerous other local and national newspapers. I obtained my undergraduate degree at the George Washington University, where I majored in Political Science and minored in African American Studies and Sociology. I am a native of Philadelphia and a proud product of the city’s public schools.
2017 Robert K Merton Award for Best Dissertation, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
2016 Daniel Bell Award for Best Contribution to Sociological Research or Public Policy, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
2016 Sammy Younge Best Student Paper Award, National Conference of Black Political Scientists
2013 Congressional Research Award, Dirksen Congressional Center
2011-14 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
2011 Best Graduate Student Paper Award, 2nd place, Association of Black Sociologists
2010 Klingstein Fellowship, Columbia University
2009-15 Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellowship, Department of Sociology, Columbia University
2009 Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, George Washington University