Graduate Students

Quinton Alexander

Quin graduated with his B.A. in Sociology from Alma College in 2016 and is currently pursuing his Master's degree at Portland State University. During his time in undergrad, he volunteered with AmeriCorps at a local middle school with at-risk youth in an after-school program for three years. Seeing the discrepancies faced by these youth and their families sparks his current research interests in deviance, social change, and gender. You can contact Quin at

Sasha Bassett

Sasha received a double B.A. in Sociology and Behavioral Science with a Minor in Human Rights from San Jose State University in 2014, and her Master's in Sociology from Portland State in 2016. Currently, Sasha is working on earning her PhD in sociology. Her research interests include gender, work, and pop culture; her dissertation work focuses on workplace inequality among comic book creators. Additionally, she is an active member of the PSU sociology club, the sociolgoy graduate studnet organization (SGSO) and Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) sociological honor society. 


Lubitow, Amy, Jennifer Reiner and Sasha Bassett (Master's Student). 2017. "Social Vulnerability and Transit-Dependent Riders in Portland Oregon." Mobilities.

Bassett, Sasha. 2014. "Riot Grrrl and Third-Wave Feminism: Creating Space, Challenging Norms and Shaping a Generation." San Jose State University McNair Scholars Research Journal X: 37-56.

David "Doc" Billings

Doc received his B.S. in Sociology from Portland State in 2015. While working on this degree, he was a board member of the PSU Sociology Club and worked with the Learning Gardens Laboratory. New to the field of Sociology, Doc’s undergraduate studies led him to his current research interests, which include Environmental Sociology and Racial Justice. After spending a year away from the university, he is back at PSU pursuing his Master’s degree. His thesis aims to explore the racial formation of the alternative food movement in Portland, focusing specifically on community gardens. Doc can be reached at

Andrew Butz

Andrew Butz, and Oregonian since the time Nike's were handmade by Oregon workers, embraces a dual challenge as a sociologist: 1) Being a "dispassionate' scholar, while also 2) making planetary progress by sparking learners' sociological imaginations. Andrew has taught at various colleges & universities since the dawn of the social media age (; and the PSU community has been an enduring partner in his 'activist-scholar' career. Andrew's BS is in Technical Journalism from Oregon State University, and his Sociology MS is from Portland State University - where he is now completing Doctoral research on "Selling Protest in the News" (begun at University of British Columbia). While he has published nationally in The Social Science Journal (on the Portland phenomenon), Andrew finds more joy exploring music & the natural world with family & friends. You can reach Andrew at

JaDee Carathers

JaDee Y. Carathers, M.A. is a feminist sociologist and doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology. Her research interests focus on reproductive justice-where gender, sexuality, race, class, and health intersect in embodies experience and reproduce patters of inequality. Her disseration is a qualitative inquiry into the birth work of radical doulas who disrupt essentialist notions of pregnancy and parenting as the sole terrain of cisgender women. JaDee's thesis (forthcoming, Women's Studies International Forum) explores the embodied experience of maternal sexuality and breastfeeding utilizing Judith Butler's notion of gender trouble. She has also worked with interdisciplinary PSU faculty on research examining discrimination faced by transgender-nonconforming people using Portland's public transit system (forthcoming, Gender, Place & Culture). She teaches Gender & Sexualities and Introduction to Sociology. You can reach JaDee at


MacKenzie Christensen

MacKenzie graduated with her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Psychology and Women’s Studies in June, 2015 from Washington State University Vancouver. During her time as an undergraduate she conducted research on the gendered effects of neo-liberal economic policies and the poverty gap between black and white women throughout the United States. Her research eventually resulted in her receipt of the 2015 award for Outstanding Achievement in the Women’s Studies Department. Currently, her general research interests include gender, sexuality, and qualitative methods. You can contact MacKenzie at

Sara Golden

Sara graduated with her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Santa Clara University, and received her Master’s in Public Health from Benedictine University, emphasizing health policy. She is currently working as a Health Services Research Associate at the VA Portland Health Care System on studies mostly centered around patient-centered outcomes in patients with lung cancer. Through these studies Sara clarified her interest in health disparities and access to care. She is now pursuing her PhD in Sociology to further her research skills and become an independent researcher. You may contact Sara at

Whitney Head-Burgess

Whitney received her B.S. from Eastern Oregon University in 2010, majoring in Geography and Anthropology/Sociology. She went on to earn a B.A. in Sociology with a certificate in Regional Studies and Applied Research from Southern Oregon University in 2013. Hailing from Missoula, MT, Whitney has lived in various places around Oregon since moving here in 1999. Currently, she is working on completing her Master's degree in Sociology, focusing on sexual assault reporting and disclosure within university settings. Her overall academic interests lie in a Critical Feminist Theory and Criminology, particularly violence against women and the muting effects of dominant culture on reporting and disclosure of violence. Whitney was a 2013-2014 Blount Scholar through the Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society and is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta Honors Society. She can be reached at

Carol Hernandez Rodriguez

Carol received her B.A. in International Studies and her M.A. in Sociology from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM, Mexico City).  From 2004-2011 she worked as a research assistant for the Center of Interdiscipliary Studies in Sciences and Humanities and as a teacher assistant for the Department of Policial  and Social Sciences in the UNAM.  Carol is interested in Geopolitical and Latin American Studies, particularly in exploring the relationship between nation-state and strategic natural resources.  Now she is focused on studying contemporary Latin American indigenous movements.  She is an enthusiast follower of the Mexican indigenous movement Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional EZLN). Carol can be contacted at

Elizabeth Hulen

Elizabeth is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. She received a dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Family and Human Development from Arizona State University, and a Master of Arts in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. She currently works in the Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care at the VA Portland Health Care System an in the Department of Sociology at Portland State University as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. 

Elizabeth's research interest include medical sociology, primary health care, and service delivery for people with complex medical needs.

Tristen Kade

Tristen Kade graduated with his B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Psychology and Women's Studies in May 2014 from the University of New Orleans, and his Master's in Sociology from the University of New Orleans 2016. His Master's Thesis was centered on the lived experiences of when, how, why, and to whom self-identified trans men elected to disclose of their identity. Tristen's research interest includes transgender, masculinities, and feminist studies. Tristen has served as a graduate teaching assistant for the PSU's Department of Sociology since fall 2016. Tristen is working on earning his Doctoral Degree in sociology. 

Nakeshia Knight-Coyle

Research Interests: Health and social policy, race, gender, inequality and social justice, the life course, academic achievement, and socio-cultural attitudes, beliefs and practices concerning complementary and alternative therapies.

Nakeshia Knight-Coyle is the Director of Early Learning Programs and Cross Systems Integration at the Oregon Department of Education's Early Learning Division. In this capacity, she oversees myriad state and federally funded grants and programs targeting the zero to five population. She has an academic and professional background in social work and public health and is excited to contribute to the field of sociology through research that explores the intersection of these disciplines. Her current research interests include an exploration of the health and socio-economic factors that influence birth outcomes and the extent to which birth outcomes are predictive of academic achievement at two critical points in a child's developmental trajectory: kindergarten and third grade. 

Ms. Knight-Coyle has volunteered extensively throughout her life and views her life's mission as one in service to populations disenfranchised by biased systems and antiquated structures that exacerbate rather than mitigate institutional racism and oppression and perpetuate poverty and disparate health and educational outcomes. 

Through her research, Ms. Knight-Coyle aspires to elucidate the challenges and opportunities inherent to existing structures and systems in an effort to create greater accountability to populations served. 

Joy Mutare

Joy Mutare a.k.a. Joy Mutare Fashu Kanu emigrated from Zimbabwe in 1997 after graduating from the University of Zimbabwe with a Honors degree in Business Studies. While she went futher to graduate with an MBA from Syracuse University, the proximity to Maxwell School of Public Administration opened the door for pursing her true passion combining activism with scholarship. Having been heavily impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, she sought to study the ways societies shape patterns of disease.

Joy studies the mechanisms through which capitalism and racism impact the way "third-world women" experience health and illness. Her Ph.D. dissertation work uses the transnational feminist frameworks and institutional ethnography to focus on how HIV/AIDS funding institutions have responded to HIV/AIDS and how these institutions create and implement HIV/AIDS prevention programs targeted at African American women. 

As issues of HIV/AIDS hit very close to heart, Joy cofounded Project It Takes A Village, Inc., and organization dedicated to mitigate social inequalities, "one child at a time" by offering scholarships to primary and highschool children who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS.

She is partner to Sam and mother to 4...

Joy can be contacted at

Andreea Nica

Andreea Nica, M.S., is a sociology doctoral candidate. Her dissertation, entitled "Exiters of Religious Fundamentalism: Reconstruction of Identity, Meaning, and Social Support in Relation to Well-Being", examines how individuals who leave fundamentalist religions reconstruct their lives in relation to life satisfaction. She has published in Secularism & Nonreligion Journal; collaborated on a research project exploring pathways to leaving religion; and is co-authoring an article with renowned methodologist, Dr. David Morgan, on a new qualitative methodology (Iterative Thematic Inquiry) using her dissertation work as an example. Andreea has received travel awards to present at the Association for the Sociology of Religion and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Meetings, as well as doctoral funding from the Religious Research Association. Prior to her doctoral studies, Andreea's work as a journalist/public sociologist appreared in top-profile outles, such as Huffington Post, Fox News Radio, Salon, and Ms. Magazine. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northern Arizona University, and M.S. in Media & Gender from the London School of Economics. Andreea's teaching experience includes an Adjunct Faculty appointment in PSU's Department of Communication, and had taught at the University of Portland in the Department of Sociology. 

For CV requests/inquiries:


David Osborn

David is a long time and ongoing participant in social movements. He has been involved in various social and environmental justice movements for the past decade. He is currently involved in the climate justice movement as a collective member with Rising Tide North America. Given this background David's academic engagement is focused on social movements and social change. He is oriented to generating value-based, movement-relevant scholarship through active involvement in social movements and the utilization of participatory methodologies. He is currently researching issues related to identity and cosmology within climate movements. His writing on the Occupy Movement appears in several books and he regularly publishes work on social movements and climate change. David has been a faculty member at Portland State University since 2010 where he teaches in the interdisciplinary general education program - University Studies. He received a B.A. in psychology, sociology and political science from the University of Oregon and M.S. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in international political economy. He can be reached at

Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith is a social epidemiologist in the Safety & Health Research for Prevention (SHARP) program at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Caroline received her Bachelor's degree in Sociology/Antropology from Lewis and Clark College, her Master's in Public Health from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Portland State University. Caroline's research interests are primarily in medical sociology and work and occupations. Specifically her research interests include occupational health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities, contingent workers and other special populations such as older workers and immigrant populations, as well as various types of labor market inequalities (wage inequalities, gender segregation, etc.). Caroline is a member of the Pacific Sociological Association, American Sociological Association, American Statistical Association and the American Public Health Association. You can reach Caroline at

Selected publications:

Fan, Z. J., Smith, C. K., & Silverstein, B. A. (2011). Responsiveness of the QuickDASH and SF-12 in workers with neck or upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders: One-year follow-up. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 21(2), 234-243. URL:

Bonauto, D. K., Smith, C. K., Adams, D. A., Fan, Z. J., Silverstein, B. A., & Foley, M. P. (2010). Language preference and non-traumatic low back disorders in Washington state workers' compensation. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 53(2), 204-215. URL:

Smith, C. K., Bonauto, D. K., Silverstein, B. A., & Wilcox, D. (2010). Inter-rater reliability of physical examinations in a prospective study of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(10), 1014-1018. URL:

Smith, C. K., Silverstein, B. A., Bonauto, D. K., Adams, D., & Joyce Fan, Z. (2010). Temporary workers in Washington State. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 53(2), 135-145. URL:

Silverstein, B. , Fan, Z. J. , Smith, C. K. , Bao, S. , Howard, N. , Spielholz, P. , . . . Viikari-Juntura, E. (2009). Gender adjustment or stratification in discerning upper extremity musculoskeletal disorder risk? Scand J Work Environ Health, 35(2), 113-126. URL:

Smith, C. K., Silverstein, B. A., Fan, Z. J., Bao, S., & Johnson, P. W. (2009). Psychosocial factors and shoulder symptom development among workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 52(1), 57-68. URL:

Fan, Z. J., Smith, C. K., & Silverstein, B. A. (2008). Assessing Validity of the QuickDASH and SF-12 as Surveillance Tools among Workers with Neck or Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Disorders. Journal of Hand Therapy, 21(4), 354-365. URL:

Spielholz, P., Cullen, J., Smith, C., Howard, N., Silverstein, B., & Bonauto, D. (2008). Assessment of perceived injury risks and priorities among truck drivers and trucking companies in Washington State. Journal of Safety Research, 39(6), 569-576. URL:

Sonja Taylor

Sonja received her Bachelor's degree in Biology, with an emphasis on zoology and physiology, from Portland State University in 2000. She continued at PSU, earning a Master's in Conflict Resolution in 2006. Upon completion of her MS, Sonja began teaching as an adjunct for PSU during Winter Term 2007. She is currently pursuing a second Master's in Sociology at Portland State University while continuing to work as an adjunct, primarily teaching the course Family & Society. Her primary research interest is the construction of identity though dyadic relationships, in addition to inequalities in parental experiences based on differences in socioeconomic status. She is currently working on her thesis project about elementary school parent perceptions of their role in the parent/teacher relationship. You can contact Sonja at

Kimberli Ulmer Langston

Kimberli Ulmer graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor's in Human Development and Family Studies, a Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Human Development and Sociology, and a Master's in Sociology. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Portland State University and working as an instructor to fulfill her graduate assistantship. Her area of interest is primarily medical sociology from a global perspective with an emphasis on inequality and health disparities within and across nations using quantitative methodology. You can contact Kim Ulmer at

Elizabeth Withers

Elizabeth is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department. She received her bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oregon and her master's degree in Sociology from Portland State University. Her research interests are medical sociology and racial and class-based disparities with a focus on differences in the effects of education and digital access. She is currently working on her disseration reseach, "Access in the Digital Field and Health Outcomes."

Elizabeth is Managing Editor for Sociological Perspectives, the official journal of the Pacific Sociological Association. She also works as an adjunct instructor at the University of Portland. 

You can reach Elizabeth at