Community Engaged Researcher

Jennifer has experience with conducting community-engaged research including program evaluations, and policy informing investigations. As a Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for Urban Research and Learning, she has collaborated and published on many projects including but not limited to: community organizing, affordable housing, felony deferred prosecution, youth re-entry, and domestic and sexual violence.

Sociology in Action


Community Organizing Among Latina and African American Motherleaders: Civic Engagement and Family

  • Using an intersectional approach to race, gender, and class, Jennifer's dissertation examines how the family lives of lower-income parents, primarily Black and immigrant Latina mothers, shape and are shaped by local grassroots community organizing for social change in Chicago. She follows the activities of parents at Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), an organization that offers family-focused parent leadership trainings and institutional support for community organizing activities around violence prevention, childhood health and education, and economic insecurities. COFI focuses on the needs, strengths, goals, and visions of lower-income parents in Chicago to facilitate their participation in democratic processes. 

  • Using one-on-one interviews with 47 community organizers, participant observations of organizing activities over an 15-month period, and a content analysis of organizing materials, Jennifer demonstrates how family and collective action reciprocally shape each other. She attends to the meanings participants make of their work and the stories they tell as a way to understand how they see their efforts as refashioning their lives, their families, and their communities. This research highlights the importance of recognizing the gendered/raced/classed organizing impacts beyond publicly stated organizational goals and informs discussions of how we can increase and support the democratic participation of immigrants and communities of color.  

Dissertation Committee: 

Dr. Kelly Moore (Chair), Dr. Peter Rosenblatt, and Dr. Edward Flores (UC Merced)