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 U.S. 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 young adults, the religiously unaffiliated, spirituality & secularism, campus ministry, multicultural churches, funeral rituals, and the hospice movement. A complete list of scholarly publications and grant awards is available in my curriculum vitae. I regularly attend the annual conferences of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
At Marymount University I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses on American religious history, race and religion in the United States, Religious Diversity in the U.S., death and religion, young adults and religion, religiously-unaffiliated Americans, sex and religion, and peace and conflict. I helped to create the University's new graduate certificate program in palliative care and will teach the introductory course in the program when it is launched. I have served in a variety of leadership roles at the University including Academic Integrity Director, Faculty Council President, and Chair of the Institutional Review Board. I was honored to receive a Commonwealth of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 2012. I have been awarded three Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grants. In the spring of 2014, I 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, 2020-21, but all Fulbright awards were canceled due to Covid-19. I received a third Fulbright award to teach at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest in the fall of 2022.
In addition to research, teaching, and university service, I am 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.