I have three objectives as an instructor: (1) help students identify and critique their own and others’ understandings of the social world, (2) provide students with the tools to comprehend and evaluate empirical evidence, and (3) create an equitable and inclusive classroom. My teaching philosophy is inspired by C. Wright Mills’ “sociological imagination,” an awareness of the intricate relationship between the individual and the society within which the individual is embedded. I have taught courses in the Sociology of Deviance, Self & Society, Statistics, and The Family. In 2018, I was recognized by my colleagues for my exceptional teaching with the Annual Best Teaching Assistant Award in the Sociology Department at UMass Amherst. Teaching is one my favorite parts of my job.
"Katie made herself accessible and approachable."
"I really appreciate your teaching style and all the thought that you've put into readings, discussions, and class policies. Amazing class!"
"I loved this class. This was my favorite class so far that I have taken in college."
Self & Society (Summer 2023) - Instructor
Why do people behave the way they do? In this course, we explore social psychological concepts that help students better understand themselves, others, and their social worlds. Understanding conformity, decision-making, persuasion, and emotions benefits students no matter what career they choose after UMass. How should you market an advertisement to a given demographic? How do you promote equity in your classroom? How do you challenge your unconscious biases during a hiring process? We answer these questions and more throughout the course.
[Evaluations not yet released]
Sociology of Deviance (Fall 2022; Spring 2023) - Instructor
Why are some behaviors and identities considered deviant while others are not? When do we conform to the group and why? How does society exerts its control on us for the sake of social order? When is deviating from social norms a social good? In this course, we explore different theoretical orientations and cases to help us answer these questions. In the first part of the course we learn about different theories of deviance. In the latter section of the course, we apply these theoretical orientations to our analysis of sexuality, gender, race, social class/status, law, criminology, and mental health.
"I have never felt more included in a class before in high school or even college. Katie does such a great job encouraging our participation, frequently saying things like "great point", "perfect", and much more. Not only does this boost my self esteem to participate, but it makes me feel like I'm in a very safe environment to learn. She really understands her students and I actually feel like she sees me as an individual, not just one of many students in her class."
"Best prof ever! We love Katie and I am really glad I was able to take your class."
"The lectures on racial inequality were extremely powerful and important. I learned how to call in, call on, and call out."
"Katie's lectures always kept me engaged and I never found myself bored or not paying attention."
"I never felt like I wasn't engaged in the discussion the class was having because of how intriguing both the material was and the actual teaching was."
"The more I learned about Katie as a person, the more I respected the class as a whole. I make every attempt I can to make it to this class, not only to learn but because I want to show Katie that I respect her time and what she does for us as well. That is definitely the most helpful factor for my learning, because my motivation is intrinsic rather than extrinsic."
"I think the articles we were assigned were extremely helpful in order to understanding the importance of the topic we were focusing on for that week. They were super engaging and interesting which made class more enjoyable and small group discussions more thought provoking."
"I liked having language in the syllabus and in class that allowed me to feel comfortable to go to office hours and ask for help. The lectures and class discussion allowed us to speak with others in class."
"I learned how to apply theories of deviance to real-life examples and a memoir."
"I can't unsee Deviance Theories in my day to day now"
"The term 'social construct' I thought I had understood, but through Katie's course I actually understand what the term meant and how it's evident all around me. It's fascinating."
"I really enjoyed how open and honest you were with your teaching, I felt like I was actually interested in what i was learning because of the intriguing manner you taught in. I enjoyed being able to to discuss things that I am interested in with my peers as well, the constant class discussion definitely made me feel more involved."
"The fact that you seemed to genuinely care about student's lives and our success made it much easier to approach you when we had questions and increased my desire to pay attention and care about the course content."
The Family (Spring 2018; Fall 2023) - Teaching Assistant
This course explores how we define family, the ways we construct families, and the relationship between families and larger social forces. We examine what families do for one another, how families roles are tied to individual identities, the forms various families take, and the range of social consequences families make on individuals' lives. Exploring these questions requires understanding changes in the family: definitions, forms, and beliefs about families. Thus, we attend to historical variation in families as well as inequalities in contemporary family forms, practices, cultures, and emotions. Using sociological research, we will challenge myths about family structures and what we mean today when we hear "family values."
Student Reviews (of my discussion class):
“This class changed my life because I notice a lot more going on around me and how it relates to my family.”
"This is easily the best discussion I've had in any class."
"I always leave feeling like I learned something new. Great TA."
“I really enjoy the atmosphere in my discussion group. Everyone is respectful, listens to each other, and contributes to the conversation without judgement.”
“This class made me more personally aware of my own situation and self economically, socially, and otherwise.”
"You are very passionate about the topics which promotes more interesting conversations."
"I like how prepared & well read you are. It really impact how smoothly the class goes."
"An amazing TA all around."
"I love that you always have a study of some kind to back up the claims we make or push back against claims we make. This is super important to me."
"This is a great class that makes us more aware of our own implicit biases and makes us more well-rounded students."
"I like how you always take everyone's answers and opinions into consideration. Class is always open."
Statistics (Fall 2019; Spring 2020) - Teaching Assistant
This course provides an introduction to basic statistics employed in the sociological analyses. We cover descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, inferential statistics, tests of significance, contingency tables, measures of correlation, and more. This course provides students with an introduction to the basic statistical techniques used by social scientists. It will emphasize the interpretation of statistics as well as their calculation. These methods are important because they can help us understand social life and social organization. Students leave this class with the ability to apply their knowledge of statistics both to their own research and to evaluating research articles and news sources presenting statistics.
Student Reviews (of my discussion/lab class):
"Discussion is the best part of this course, as someone who struggles understanding math in general, especially statistics, discussion has been the extra help each week I need to really understand the material."
"I enjoy discussion classes. I like that you take the concepts and give different examples and more broken down explanations of the concepts. I learn more in discussion sections than in the designated class times."
"I look forward to coming to discussion. It gives me the change to ask questions and review material. You're a great TA. Thank you for showing us how to use excel and I think you do a great job at doing the equations by hand!
"I appreciate seeing bits of your research for real-use examples."
"This discussion has been one of my favorites that I've had so far. It's really laid back but at the same time it helps me learn the material better. Discussions help me feel more confident going into tests."
"Discussion is very helpful, and it is where I can actually conceptualize the material and reinforce how to actually do the problems."
"The mix of lecture and problems works really well for me. The ability to ask questions during class is also a plus."
"I think you are doing a great job at discussion. You seem to be able to understand people's struggles and help them understand it in a simpler form."
"Overall, I love this class. I'm looking into the Data Analysis certificate because of it!"
"I like discussion a lot, and I have found it to be very helpful. As someone with math anxiety who is taking this class because I needed to take a statistics class, I was nervous going in, but discussions help because you explain it in a different way that I get."