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CRA Graduate Placements

Current positions of graduates of the Ph.D. program in Community Research and Action are listed below. The program provides training in applied and community-engaged research that is applicable across a range of organizational settings. For their initial placements after graduate school, approximately one-fifth of program graduates have gone on to post-doctoral fellowships; approximately two-fifths have taken tenure-track positions at research universities and liberal arts colleges; approximately one-fifth have taken research positions in centers and institutes based at universities; and approximately one-fifth of graduates have taken research-related positions in nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies.


 Graduate Placements 

Byrd, Kimberley (PhD 2022) is Senior Impact Advisor at ResultsLab ( Dissertation title: "Free and Full Lives: Social and Economic Opportunity Among Formerly Incarcerated Individuals" (

Eccleston, Sara (PhD 2022) is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Social, Behavioral, and Human Sciences in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at University of Washington, Tacoma. Dissertation title: "Sanctifying Antiracism in a Southern Episcopal Diocese" ( )

Gardella, Joseph (PhD 2022) is a Postdoctoral Associate with the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Family, and Schools at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln ( Dissertation title: "The Relations Between School Climate and Teacher Leadership: Does the School Environment Influence the Type or Amount of Leadership Activity Among Teachers?"  

Glendening, Zach (PhD 2022) is a Statistician in the South Carolina Attorney General's Office. Dissertation title: "(Con)testing stigma against wheelchair users in built environments" ( )

Rodriguez, Jason (PhD 2022) is a Senior Data Analyst with the US Government Accountability Office. Dissertation title: "Local Institutional Work in an Organizational Field: A Case Study of Open Table Nashville"

Lyew, Dominique (PhD 2021) is a Senior Researcher at Frameworks Institute ( Dissertation title: "Epistemic Promise and Political Participation in Jamaica"

Eidelman, Tessa (PhD 2021) is a Research Associate with COMM|VEDA Consulting in New York, NY ( Dissertation title: "Reclaiming Cape Town: Spatial Justice and the (Post)apartheid City"

Hollingsworth, Charrise (PhD 2021) is a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Office of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Dissertation title: "Defining Social Justice through Service: Implementing Social Justice Curricula in a Human Services Context"

Inniss-Thompson, Misha (PhD 2021) is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY ( Dissertation title: "(Re)membering Black Girls: A Theoretical and Multimethod Examination of Mental Health and Wellness"

Bethune, Magaela (PhD 2020) is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts in Los Angeles, CA (  Dissertation title: "Exploring the Relationship Between Adolescent Media Use, Sexual Socialization and Sexual Behavior"

Mohyuddin, Hasina (PhD 2020) is an HOD Lecturer at Vanderbilt University, Peabody College in Nashville, TN (  Dissertation title: "Understanding the Religious Identity Development of Muslim American Youths"

Gupta, Jyoti (PhD 2019) is a is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: "Toward Political Community: Navigating Civic Conditions and Civic Positions in the Creative Economy"

Marx, Robert (PhD 2019) is an Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Development at San Jose State University in San Jose, CA ( Dissertation title: "Queer During and After School: Understanding LGBTQ+ Youth's School Belonging and After-School Participation"

Mihaylov, Nikolay (PhD 2018) is an  Assistant Professor of Healthcare Administration and Management in the Department of Healthcare Economics and Management and Healthcare Policy, Faculty of Public Health, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria ( Dissertation title: "Releasing the Waters: A Sociological Study of the Anti-fracking Movement in Bulgaria"

Thurber, Amie (PhD 2018) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University in Portland, OR ( Dissertation title: "The Neighborhood Story Project: Keeping More than Our Homes."

Doykos, Bernadette (PhD 2017) is a team member of the Partner, Measurement, Learning, and Evaluation at Catalyst:Ed, Portland, ME ( Dissertation title: "Everybody Say They'll Go to College, but Until You Grow Up, You Don't Really Understand": Examining the Contextual, Relational, and Networked Experiences of College Bound Students from Traditionally Underserved College-Going Populations"

Hennessy, Emily (PhD 2017) is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Associate Director of Biostatistics at the Recovery Research Institute ( Dissertation title: "Adolescent Recovery Capital and Application of Exploratory Methods"

Mann, Abbey (PhD 2016) is an Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, Lafayette College in Easton, PA (  Dissertation title: "Stigma, Access to Care, and Sexual Minority Women's Health"

Mokos, Jennifer (PhD 2016) is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Science in the Honors College at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC (  Dissertation title: "Restoring the Human in the Search for Nature: Homelessness, Ecology, and the Struggle for Change"

Fisher, Benjamin (PhD 2016) is an Associate Professor of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison ( Dissertation title: "School Resource Officers, Exclusionary Discipline, and the Role of Context"

Lample, Emily (PhD 2015) is a Senior Research Analyst at the Learning Desk of the Baha'i National Center, Evanston, IL. Dissertation title: "Watering the Tree of Science: Science Education, Local Knowledge, and Agency in Zambia's PSA Program"

McCormack, Mark  (PhD 2015) is Director of Research & Evaluation, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education & Ministry, Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: “A Christian, a Jew, and a Woman Walk into a Bar: Exploring the Nonreligious Elements of Interfaith Work”

Karakos, Holly (PhD 2015) is a Research Analyst at Equal Opportunity Schools, an education non-profit working to make student participation in AP/IB courses more equitable, Seattle, WA ( Dissertation title: “Understanding Civic Engagement among Youth in Diverse Contexts”

Geller, Joanna (PhD 2015) is the Director of Policy, Research, and Evaluation at the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development ( Dissertation title: “Re-imagining School Communities: An Exploration of the Factors Influencing Teachers’ Trust in Parents”

Brinkley-Rubinstein, Lauren (PhD 2015) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences, Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity, Duke University (  Dissertation title: “Repeated Police Contact, Profiling and Incarceration as Catalysts for Worsened Health”

Craven, Krista (PhD 2014) is an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Learning Specialist, Carleton University, Ottowa, Canada. Dissertation title: ““No Papers, No Fear”: The Boundary Politics of Undocumented Immigrant Youth Activists in Tennessee”

Greer, Andrew (PhD 2014) is a Presidential Management Fellow with USAID, Washington, DC  ( Dissertation title: “Preventing Homelessness in Alameda County, CA and New York City, NY: Investigating Effectiveness and Efficiency”

Jones, Karl (PhD 2014) is Prinicipal Research Statistician with Washington State Department of Corrections and has taught at La Sierra University as an adjunct professor with the Department of Social Work.  Dissertation title:  “Local Inequality in the Geography of Class-Differentiated Migration”

Vick, John (PhD 2014) is a Evaluation and Assessment Director, Office of Primary Prevention, Tennessee Department of Health ( Dissertation title: ““The Best Laid Plans:” An Ecological Analysis of Community Participation, Power, and Urban Neighborhood Planning in Practice”

Lunn, Laurel (PhD 2014) is a Program Evaluation Advisor at the Center for Victims of Torture, St. Paul, MN ( Dissertation title: “The Social Determinants of Refugee Health: An Integrated Perspective”

Robinson, Jill (PhD 2013) is an Independent Research Consultant, working in New Orleans in the areas of community development, juvenile justice, and human trafficking. Consultant with organizations on data needs and applications of data, New Orleans, LA ( Dissertation title: “Immigrants from Former Soviet Republics in the United States: Deconstructing and Decolonizing an Immigrant Population

Palmer, Neal (PhD 2013)  is a Research Project Director at CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance. Dissertation title: “LGBT Youth Online and In Person: Identify Development, Social Support, and Extracurricular and Civic Participation in a Positive Youth Development Framework”

Tesdahl, Eric (PhD 2013) is a Senior Biostatistician and Data Science Program Manager at SpecialtyCare, Nashville, TN, ( Dissertation title: “Out of Many, One: Participation and Collaboration in Congregation-based Community Organizing”

Thaden, Emily (PhD 2013) is the Director of Research & National Policy, Grounded Solutions Network, Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: “Shared Equity Homeownership: Local Perceptions, National Performance, and Considerations for Growth”

Collins, Leslie (PhD 2012) is an Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Fisk University, Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: “Revealing Privilege: Examining Manifestations of Race, Class, and Gender in Health and Human Service Organizations”

Cooper, Daniel (PhD 2012) is the Director of Research for the Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago, IL ( Dissertation title: “Beyond Dollars and Cents: Non-financial Impacts and Implications of the Foreclosure Crisis for Low-income Minority Communities”

Mayberry, Lindsay S. (PhD 2012) is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, Director of the Center for Health Behavior and Health Education, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: “Family Processes in the Context of Housing Instability and Intensive Service Use: Implications for Parenting and Caregiver Well-Being”

Nelson, Michael (PhD 2012) is Founder, Kookaburra Development + Strategy, Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: “What causes racially segregated residential communities? Testing agent-based and institutional explanations for the locational decisions of homebuyers”

Siankam, Ben (PhD 2012) is an International Health and Development Research Consultant, Washington, DC. Dissertation title: “Doctors Beyond Borders: Ecological and Psychopolitical Validity of the Medical Brain Drain from Sub-Saharan Africa”

Voight, Adam (PhD 2012) is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Foundations and Director of the Center for Urban Education, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH ( Dissertation title: “Youth Civic Engagement in Urban Middle Schools: Agency and Wellness across Ecological Levels”

VanVoorhees, Courte (PhD 2012) Founder and President, Praxis Axis, LLC, Program Evaluation, Organizational Consulting, and Contracting. Dissertation title: “Promoting Environmental Empowerment: Environmental Justice Policy, Participatory Planning, and Empowerment in Response to Environmental Threats”

Redvers-Lee, Peter (PhD 2011) is an Editor at Communications Development, Inc, Washington, DC ( Dissertation title: “The Serpent without Shame: Economic Development and Change in the Afro-Ecuadorian Communities of Northwestern Esmeraldas”

Davis, Donna J. (PhD 2009) is an Attorney, Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, Bentwood, TN ( Dissertation title: “Fraying at the Edges: Qualitative Insight into the Experiences of CPS Caseworkers and the Issue of Voluntary Employee Turnover”

Hoffman, Cheri (PhD 2009) is Director, Division of Children and Youth Policy, at ASPE (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Washington, DC ( Dissertation title: “Young and Homeless in Nashville: The Scope of Runaway and Throwaway Youth and the Experiences of Homeless Youth”

Pullmann, Michael (PhD 2009) is a Research Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Washington School Mental Health Assessment, Research, & Training (SMART) Center , Seattle, WA ( Dissertation title: “Predictors of Criminal Charges for Youth in Public Mental Health Services During the Transition to Adulthood”

Suiter, Sarah (PhD 2009) is an Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: “Freedom Means”

Christens, Brian (PhD 2008) is an Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the Community Research and Action Program, Department of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN (( Dissertation title: “Vehicles of Change: Context and Participation in Power-Based Community Organizing”

Freedman, Darcy (PhD 2008) is Mary Ann Swetland Professor of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and Director of the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH ( Dissertation title: “Politics of Food Access in Food Insecure Communities”

Jones, Diana (PhD 2008) was an Associate Professor, Department of Human Services and Rehabilitation, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA ( Dissertation title: “Organizing Through Congregations: Mediating and Moderating Roles of Spirituality”

Taylor, Kelly (PhD 2008) is a Research Scientist, Prevention & Public Health Group, Global Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco ( Dissertation title: “Caregiver Strain among African American and Caucasian Family Members Caring for Children with Emotional and Behavioral Problems: the Role of Race”

Jacobs-Priebe, Lynette (PhD 2007) is an Accountant, University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute, Pittsburgh, PA ( Dissertation title: “The Social Norms Approach to Preventing Violence Against Women : The Role of Ambivalent Sexism”

Armstead, Theresa (PhD 2006) is a Behavioral Scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA ( Dissertation title: “Exploring Synergic Power and Network-Based Leadership in a Community Organizing Context”

Bess, Kimberly (PhD 2006) is an Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN ( Dissertation title: “The Challenges of Change in Human Service Organizations : Identity, Values, and Narratives”

Evans, Scot (PhD 2005) is an Associate Professor and Director of the Major in Human and Social Development, Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL ( Dissertation title: “From Amelioration to Transformation in Human Services: Towards Critical Practice”