Mary Kate is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, and a research assistant in CREO. Her research interests include sociology of education, social stratification, and racial and ethnic self-identification. She has completed qualitative and quantitative research exploring educational expectations and attainment, as well as racial and ethnic self-identification.
With generous funding from the W.T. Grant Foundation, for her dissertation, Mary Kate is using an institutional logics approach to understand how the rules and guidelines of the school counseling field, and that of the high schools in which counselors work, determine how they allocate their time, attention and advice to students regarding post-high school plans. Mary Kate conducted daily observations of high school counselors and counselor-student interactions in two public high schools, and embedded them with interviews with counselors, students, administrators, and counselor educators to provide a systematic look into the high school counseling profession. In particular, she is interested in the potential impact high school counselors could have on reducing inequality in college enrollment of minority and low-income students., or their potential hidden source of inequality in college access that fosters a pattern of cumulative advantage.
Mary Kate also has a number of quantitative papers on the positive and negative predictors of educational attainment, especially considering racial/ethnic and income inequality. One paper explores racial differences in positive college-going behaviors and their impact on college enrollment. A second paper, with Professor Amy Langenkamp, studies the importance of the alignment of educational expectations between parents, teachers, and the student to predict college enrollment. A third paper, with Professor Megan Andrew, determines how detrimental suspension and expulsion is for high school graduation and college enrollment.
Another area of interest for Mary Kate is the racial and ethnic identification process of multiracial individuals. She has a paper on the self-identification of multiracial/ethnic Asian and Hispanic college students, as well as a paper with Professor Jennifer Jones on the perceptions of racial identification of those with multiracial/ethnic backgrounds.
Mary Kate earned her Ed.M in educational policy and leadership studies, with an emphasis on higher education and student affairs from Virginia Tech. She received her B.A. from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.