My research focuses on health and well-being of young people, with an emphasis on how youth well-being intersects with experiences in families, schools and neighborhoods. For the last decade, the majority of my research has focused on obesity among youth and adolescents, though my broader interests include health disparities more generally, mental health, and the ways that schools shape young people’s lives.I am currently completing a NICHD-funded project focused on the health and well-being of children of Mexican immigrants. My colleagues and I are investigating how families, schools and neighborhoods shape obesity among Mexican-origin youth. We are currently expanding this work to focus on the drivers of children’s dietary preferences and behavior. I am also in the process of developing new projects that more generally focus on health disparities among children and youth.

Research Interests

Families, Relationships and Interpersonal Networks; Demography; Health and Life Course


  • Ph.D., Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 2001
  • M.A., Sociology, Baylor University, 1996
  • B.A., Administration of Justice, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994