Ph.D Sociology, Baylor University, Expected 2021
M.A. Sociology, Baylor University, 2018
B.S. Sociology, Brigham Young University, 2013
I am from a small town in rural Oregon called Coquille: when I was born, it was a thriving town surrounded by lumber mills and supported by logging, commercial fishing, and dairy production. Shortly after I was born, the mills moved or closed down, regulations on commercial fishing tightened up, and a national surplus of milk lead to the federal government buying out many of the nation’s dairies. Due to no fault of their own, the town went from boom to bust.
This early life experience informs my interest in sociology: how do larger societal factors outside the power of individuals shape all of our lives? This question sat in me, but was never formally explored until an introduction to sociology course at Brigham Young University. Immediately I changed my major, and I graduated with a BS in sociology in 2013.
At the time, however, I didn’t have a specific topic that really spoke to me, only a general interest. I took several years off to work as a freelance writer and substitute teacher. During that time, I searched for a topic that I was passionate enough about to dedicate my life to it. Eventually, I realized that topic was religion.
Once I had decided I wanted to study religion, Baylor quickly jumped to the top of my shortlist for graduate programs: I pored over journals focusing on the sociology of religion (Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, etc.) and found Baylor faculty and students everywhere I turned.
I chose Baylor over other programs because of its open, collegial attitude, and this has continued to be its greatest strength. Regardless of position or prestige within the department, practically every door is open for graduate students to come in and ask questions of professors. There are many research opportunities and an emphasis on giving students experience they need to let them hit the job market running.
I am just beginning my third year at Baylor and have just recently defended my thesis, “In the Shadow of Death: Insecurity and Miracles in Latin America,” I plan to submit this for publication by the end of the summer. I am also working with fellow graduate students on two other papers that should be ready for publication by the end of the year, one on divorce and religiosity and the other on female employment during the Great Recession. My current research interests are religion, political violence, and minority groups (especially how groups with very few members interact with and reflect their larger society).
Edwin Eschler's Full Curriculum Vitae.