I am a former lawyer and current PhD candidate in the school of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin bringing expertise in civil rights and criminal defense litigation to questions at the intersection of law and society. My dissertation, The Rarity of Police Prosecution: Prosecutors, the Law, and Police Misconduct, seeks to understand prosecutorial decision-making in context of the investigation and prosecution of police officers. Drawing on qualitative ethnography and interview methods, I consider how prosecutors manage and make sense of their positioning as legal practitioners, elected politicians, and employees working in complex hierarchical organizations. My research is supported by generous grants from the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Law and Society Association. Insights from my research inform scholarship and practice on the law, organizations, and politics, as well as their intersection in prosecutorial decision-making.
At UT-Austin, I am a co-coordinator of the Crime, Law, and Deviance working group and a fellow of the Urban Ethnography Lab. I am also a former lawyer, receiving my JD from Saint Louis University School of Law and my MA (awarded with distinction) from Saint Louis University. I focused my education at SLU Law/SLU on constitutional and criminal law and racial demographics of the American criminal legal system. A section of my MA thesis entitled, The Cradle to Grave Approach to Incarceration: Disparate Impact and the American Criminal Justice System, was published in the Saint Louis University Law Journal.
I have professional legal experience as a staff associate at the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights where I worked primarily on the Police Accountability Project, and at the law firm of Schwartz, Herman, and Davidson, specializing in federal criminal defense and civil rights litigation.
I am a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison (BA-History) where I was a member of the Varsity Division I Women's Hockey team.