I am a professor of Religious Studies at Marymount University where I began as an assistant professor in 2006. I earned my Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2004 specializing in the fields of American religious history, sociology of religion, and race, ethnicity, and immigration. My scholarship focuses on contemporary religious trends in the United States including such topics as multicultural churches, the religiously unaffiliated, spirituality & secularism, funeral rituals, and the hospice movement (see Current Projects for more details). A complete list of scholarly publications and grant awards is available in my curriculum vitae below. I regularly attend the annual conferences of the American Academy of Religion and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
At Marymount University I have taught courses and Honors tutorials on world religions, American religious history, death and religion, young adults and religion, religiously-unaffiliated Americans, sex and religion, and peace and conflict. I will be teaching in the University's new certificate program in palliative care in 2022-2023. In addition, I served as the faculty adviser to the Muslim Student Association and coordinated the Marymount Interfaith Forum for many years. I was honored to receive a Commonwealth of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 2012. I was awarded a 2013-2014 Fulbright U.S. scholar grant and spent 5 months in Slovenia at the University of Ljubljana guest lecturing with the Faculty of Social Sciences. I received a second Fulbright award to teach at the University of Szeged in Hungary, fall 2020, but all Fulbright awards were canceled this semester due to Covid-19. I received a third Fulbright award to teach at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, fall 2022.
I also serve as the Founding Director of Arlington's Coalition to Improve Advanced Care (CIAC), which was launched in April 2016. The mission of CIAC is to improve the quality of life for those facing advanced illness and their caregivers. For more information about CIAC see our website: www.ciacarlington.org.