No office hours

Graduate Theological Union, Ethics & Social Theory, PhD candidate, 2007 – Defense Date: Sept. 2, 2016.

Dissertation: “Scars that Matter: Breast Cancer, Religion, and Identity.”

Graduate Theological Union, Religion and Society, Masters Degree, 2006

               Thesis: “Modifying the Temple: The Religiosity of Body Modification”

San Jose State University, BA cum laude, 1997

               Major: Comparative Religious Studies              

Minor: English Literature

Academic Experience

Fall 2013 – Present: Adjunct Instructor, Sociology. Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA.  

* “Introduction to Sociology” (Soc 1): An exploration of society from the micro to macro levels. Class is organized around three core elements within sociology: theory, methods, and ethics.

* “Self and Society” (Soc 3): Focuses on symbolic interactionist theory. Organized class so that students apply symbolic interactionist concepts and theory learned in first half of semester in an extended case study of living with a disability in second half.

* “Close Relationships and Family Life” (Soc 10): Examines current trends related to forming and sustaining relationships, issues of family life, and their challenges over the lifespan. Emphasis placed on the influence of society and technology.

* “Social Problems” (Soc 2): Analysis of social problems that arise from globalization, environmental issues, poverty, work, health and mental health care, the educational system, criminal justice, the basis of inequalities, and the role of power in defining social problems.

Spring 2012 – Fall 2012: Research Assistant for Professor Lisa Fullam; research ethical, religious, and general cultural beliefs and attitudes contributing to public policy and an individual’s decision to end life through the withholding of artificial nutrition and hydration. Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, Berkeley, CA.   

Spring 2012:    Newhall Teaching Assistant, “Foundational Social Theory” (RSCE 5027). Professor Jerome Baggett. Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. 

Spring 2011:   Teaching Assistant, “Sacred Communities: Social Perspectives on Religion” (Religious Studies 90A). Professor Lynne Gerber. University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.   

Fall 2008 – Spring 2011: Research Assistant for Professor Jerome Baggett; research atheists and atheist/freethinker groups in American history and popular culture. Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, Berkeley, CA.

Fall 2009:        Teaching Assistant, “Church, Power, Justice” (RSCE 3048). Professor Jerome Baggett. Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.

Professional Areas of Interest
  • Sociology: body and embodiment, religion, culture, gender, race-ethnicity, cognition, breast cancer, health and illness.
  • Social Theory and Ethics: theories of ideology, power, and identity; foundational social theory; history of Western ethical and social thought; ethical methods; social justice. 
Presentations and Publications


Fall 2016: “‘Get me through this’: Therapeutic Conversations with God and the Absence of Appeals for Supernatural Intervention among Women with Breast Cancer,” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Atlanta, GA, (October 2016).

Fall 2016: “Medical Orthodoxy and Religion as a Complementary Medicine: The Personal Orientations of Women with Breast Cancer at Kaiser Permanente Northern California,” Association for the Sociology of Religion, Seattle, WA (August 2016).

Spring 2014: “The Church of Medicine and the Cult of Religion: Negotiating a Path for Health and Healing among Women with Breast Cancer,” Religion in California, Berkeley, CA (April 2014).

Spring 2014: “‘Giving it up to God’: Religion as a Resource for Strength and Stability During Breast Cancer,” American Academy of Religion/Western Region Conference, Los Angeles, CA (March 2014).

Spring 2014: “Critical Realism and Chronic Illness: What Breast Cancer Can Teach Christian Smith about the Body,” Eastern Sociological Society – Mini-Conference on the Body and Embodiment, Baltimore, MD (February 2014). 

Spring 2013: “Discussing Internal Context: How illness challenges implicit sociological assumptions about the body,” Pacific Sociological Association Conference, Reno, NV (March 2013).        

Fall 2009: “The Body Endogenous: Finding and Defining the Body in Sociology of Culture,” American Sociological Association Conference, San Francisco, CA (August 2009).

Fall 2008: “Modified Religiosity: How Facilitates Body Modification Religiosity through Culture,” American Academy of Religion Conference, Chicago, IL. (November 2008).

Spring 2008: “Believing the Body: Body Experience and Religious Reality,” Pacific Coast Theological Society 2008 Conference, Berkeley, CA. (March 2008)         

Fall 2006: “The Modification Loop between Skin and Self,” University of Texas at Austin American Studies Graduate Conference, Austin, TX. (September 2006).

Fall 2005: “Body Modification as Quasi-Religion,” Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association Conference, New Brunswick, NJ. (November 2005).

Spring 2005: “Body Modification as Ideology,” Body Modification: Mark II Conference, Macquarie University, Dept. of Cultural and Critical Studies, Sydney, Australia. (April 2005).


  • Book Review of Victoria Pitts-Taylor’s The Brain’s Body: Neuroscience and Corporeal Politics in Body & Society (forthcoming 2016).
  • “Implants,” “Piercing,” and “Scarification and Branding.” The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality (Wiley-Blackwell), 2015.
  • Contributing author in Candyce H. Kroenke, et al.’s “Social networks, social support mechanisms, and quality of life after breast cancer diagnosis.” Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal. Volume 139, Issue 2, June 2013: 515–27.
  • Book Review of Eileen Luhr’s Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture in Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review Volume 71 Issue 4, Winter 2010: 493-494. 
  • “Body Piercing” (p. 446), “Ear Piercing” (p. 93-99), “Earlobe Stretching” (p. 100-101), “Genital Piercing” (p. 231-234), “Nose Piercing” (p. 366-369), “Scarification” (p. 466-472). The Cultural Encyclopedia of the Body, (Greenwood Press, 2008). 
Honors and Awards

Fall 2007 – Spring 2008: Newhall Award. Grant for research in Area of Ethics and Social Theory at the Graduate Theological Union.