Current Graduate Student Bios

Jamie Covey

Hi, I am Jamie Covey. I am a sociology PhD student with a focus in social stratification, and gender. Specifically, I want to study how the culture of the military impacts a women who serves. As a female combat veteran myself, I am passionate about extending the conversation about equality in the military. As a civilian, I am a high school American Sign Language teacher. In the military, I am a Chief in the United States Navy Reserves. In my free time, I love camping and other outdoor activities with my family and friends. I am honored to be attending TWU again, this will be my third degree from this amazing institution!

J.P. DeMeritt

J. P. (John Paul) DeMeritt, a fifth year PhD student concentrating in globalization, is also interested in sociology of time, knowledge and religion. With an MS in Studies of the Future, he is also interested in how society shapes decisions we make regarding the future. Other interests include military sociology. He has assisted with courses in Introductory Sociology, Women and Crime, and Population Dynamics.

Erin Ellis Guffey

Erin Ellis Guffey is a doctoral student with areas of specialization in medical sociology, criminology, motherhood, sociological theory, and qualitative research methods. Her research interests are in medical sociology, social justice issues and human rights, motherhood and the family, deviant behavior and social control, and domestic violence. Courses taught at TWU include: Introduction to Sociological Theory, Deviant Behavior and Social Control, Correctional Systems and Practices, and Juvenile Delinquency. 

Heather Gerling

Heather Gerling is a doctoral student with areas of specialization in global conflict, religion and culture. Her research interests include cross-national relationships between religiosity, gender inequality, and levels of economic development. She has collaborated on research linking income and gender inequality to crime victimization, and is currently co-authoring a book on methods of community health research. Courses taught at TWU include Race and Ethnicity and Social Inequality. Heather holds memberships in the Alpha Kappa Delta International Society in Sociology, where she serves on the executive board, as well as the Graduate Student Council, where she serves as a senator.

Stacy Kelk

Stacy Kelk is a doctoral student with research interests in culture on the Internet, and computer-mediated communication. She recently co-authored on Doctor of Nursing Practice perceptions of activity trackers. She is a Graduate Research Assistant for a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant, awarded to the Texas Woman’s University College of Nursing in Dallas. Stacy is currently working on both qualitative and quantitative data collection to support the aims of the grant.

Mia Kirby

Mia M. Kirby is a doctoral student in sociology, majoring in social stratification/inequality and gender. Her research interests are in race, ethnicity, gender, higher education, and discrimination. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with an MSW from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Courses taught at another institution include Introduction to Social Work, Family Therapy, Direct Practice with Children and Families, Direct Practice in Healthcare, and Group Dynamics.

Erica Leone

Erica Leone is a master’s student with research interests in cultural sociology, demography, and religion’s effects on society, social psychology, and working mom’s effects on family structure. She is currently working on a co-authored study: “The Not-So-Golden Years: Analysis of Elder Happiness.” Erica was president of Alpha Sigma Lambda (2014-2016) and is a member of Alpha Kappa Delta. In addition to college experience she brings 15 years of professional experience in teaching, training and management.

Marco Mena

Marco Mena is nearing the completion of his PhD, and preparing to defend his quantitative dissertation on racial classification titled: The Basis of Racial Classification: Ancestry-Informative Marker Versus Social Context. For this dissertation, he is leaning on the emerging social-bio hybrid approach that includes variables related to genetic and social factors. Though racial classification may not be considered a social issue in monoracial countries in the U.S. it is imperative to approach it scientifically and professionally, due to the long history of racial frictions that this nation has gone through. Marco received a Masters of Arts Degree in Sociology (2005) as well as a Masters of Arts Degree in International Relations (1999) from The City University of New York.

Viktor Palacios

Viktor Solis-Palacios is a doctoral student whose focus is in Social Stratification, with a secondary areas in Environmental Crime. His research interests include Environmental Crime, Social Justice, Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Family, Criminology, and Qualitative Research Methods. Courses that he teaches at TWU include Juvenile Delinquency and Deviant Behavior & Social Control. He has also taught Intro to Sociology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (formerly the University of Texas - Pan American).

Allison Ray

Allison Ray is a master's candidate and received her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from the University of North Texas in Rehabilitation, Psychology and Project Management. Allison’s areas of interests include stratification, ethnic and cultural traditions/beliefs, family, environment, spatial inequalities, and health and illness. She believes that access to an adequate amount of healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food is a basic human right. She studies the causes and consequences of hunger and food insecurity in the United States. She wants to help develop specialized community-based interventions to improve food-access to vulnerable groups in Texas. Also, Allison is the criminal justice advisor and advises undergraduate students pursuing their bachelor's education at TWU.

Becky Rodriguez

Becky is a doctoral student with a major in stratification and minor in Educational Administration. Her research interests include race and ethnicity, mentoring, persistence and retention, issues in higher education, education, diversity, stratification, social inequality, first generation student outreach and immigration. Becky has also had the opportunity to lead the university on matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion, supports various programs that educate the campus community regarding the importance and advantages of a culture that values and supports each member of our community.

Prauttus Kay Samuel

Prauttus Kay Samuel is a doctoral student with specialization in clinical laboratory science and public health. Current specialty pursuits include social stratification/inequality, medical sociology and qualitative research methods. She has research interests in race/gender relations and health disparities. Courses taught at another institution include Human Development, Dynamic of Healthcare, The Culture of Healthcare, Introduction to Healthcare and Public Health, Professional Customer Service in Healthcare. Course taught at TWU include The Family. Current research pursuits are disabled women and domestic violence/abuse, obesity among African-American women and global trend of obesity.

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams is a PhD student with interests in Medical Sociology, Sexuality and Gender. She has a M.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Resolution. She is also certified to teach Speech grades 6-12 in the State of Texas. She hopes to complete her degree by May, 2016 and spend her days in the classroom stretching the minds of tomorrow's leaders. Course(s) taught in TWU include gender roles.

Michaela Wilson

Michaela Wilson is a second year doctoral student. Her major area is Social Stratification with an emphasis in Environmental Sociology with a minor area in Environmental Philosophy. During her first year, Michaela was a graduate fellow and is presenting her paper at the 2016 American Society of Criminology Conference in New Orleans. Courses taught: Culture, Inequality, and Self.

Page last updated 2:35 PM, August 29, 2018