Starting out as an art major, I took a bit of a detour on my way to sociology. In order to fulfill a general education requirement, I enrolled in an introductory sociology course and immediately knew that this was the direction I needed to go. I switched majors and completed my BA in sociology, and haven't looked back since.
My MA thesis explored the differences in perceptions and experiences of stigma across race, class and gender in a group of regular marijuana users in Southern California. Through that research I became interested in the social construction of race and the roots of the norms, behaviors, and stereotypes that are connected to racialization. Continuing on this path, my research now focuses on whiteness and blackness in reggae music and the role of reggae as social change. Examining the reggae culture in the United States, Jamaica, Sweden, Japan, and Western Africa, I seek to understand how political and social history has shaped today's reggae music in those regions and how they are connected.
I am also prone to social activism on a personal level, and was an activist with Amnesty International for many years. In 2012 I co-founded and was elected president of the California State University Fullerton chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), a global grassroots organization dedicated to ending the "War on Drugs."