Hire a Duke Ph.D.

We are proud to have outstanding students on the job market. Available below are Brief sketches of our placement candidates, including contact information, research interests and education. Some students also include a personal webpage link and/or their resume.

If you have questions about graduate student placement, please contact our Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies Jessica Ellington. If you have questions about our Ph.D. program in general, contact our Director of Graduate Studies Scott Lynch.

Job Candidates

Brian Aronson

Brian Aronson

Research and Teaching Interests
Social Network Analysis, Organizations, Inequality, Public Health
  • Duke University, Ph.D., Sociology, expected 2019
  • Duke University, M.A. Sociology 2016
  • Stony Brook University, B.A. in Sociology with Honors 2012

Dissertation Title: “The Structure of Organizational Ecosystems”

(Committee: Lisa A. Keister (co-chair), James Moody (co-chair), Martin Ruef, Christopher A. Bail)

Simon Brauer

Simon G. Brauer

Research and Teaching Interests
Religion, Socialization, The Life Course Paradigm, Higher Education, statistics
  • Ph.D. Sociology, Duke University, expected 2019
  • M.A., Sociology, Duke University, 2016
  • B.S., Sociology and Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2012

Dissertation Title: "The Role of Weakening Religious Socialization in National Religious Decline"

(Committee: Mark Chaves (chair),  Linda K. George, Stephen Vaisey, Jen'nan Read)

Molly Copeland Photo

Molly Copeland

Research and Teaching Interests
Social Network Analysis, Medical Sociology, Gender, Life Course Perspective, Service-learning
  • Ph.D. Sociology, Duke University, expected 2020
  • M.A. Sociology, Duke University, 2017
  • B.A., Linguistics, The College of William & Mary, 2011

Dissertation Title: "When Friends Help and Harm: Adolescent social structure and mental health"

(Committee: James Moody (Chair), Linda K. George, Tyson H. Brown, Christopher A. Bail)

Brent Curdy

Brent Curdy

Research and Teaching Interests
Survey Methods, Experiments with Human Subjects, Cross-Cultural Surveys, Identity theory, and Social Problems


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Duke University 2018
  • M.A., Sociology, Duke University 2015
  • B.A., Sociology, University of California, Berkeley 2012
    • Highest distinction at the University and Highest Honors in Sociology
  • Arabic Language certification, Defense Language Institute 2003

Dissertation Title: "Error Revisited: the meaning and ramifications of variance for Affect Control Theory"

(Committee: Lynn Smith-Lovin (chair), Stephen Vaisey, Linda K. George, Kenneth Spenner)

Jarron Bowman Photo

Jarron Bowman

Research and Teaching Interests
Political Sociology, Economic Sociology, Race, Inequality, Mental Health
  • PhD, Sociology, Duke University, 2020 (expected)

  • Quantitative Methods
  • Political Sociology

  • MPP, University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy, 2014
  • BA, Political Science, University of Michigan, 2010

Dissertation Title: "Economic Insecurity, Political Inequality, and the Well-Being of American Families"

(Committee: Scott Lynch (Co-Chair), Angel Harris (Co-Chair), Eduardo Bonilla Silva, Nicholas Carnes)

My work focuses on economic insecurity and the interrelated dynamics of economic and political inequality. The dramatic growth in income and wealth inequality over the past half century is a defining characteristic of our time. Meanwhile, the income volatility of American families has also increased. My research investigates how these seismic shifts in the flow and concentration of capital relate to political power and the well-being of individuals and families.

Miles Marsala Photo

Miles S. Marsala

Research and Teaching Interests
Medical Sociology; Demography; Aging & Life Course; Research Methods; Introduction and General Sociology
  • In Progress: Ph.D., Sociology, Duke University
  • 2019: Certificate of College Teaching, Duke University Graduate School
  • 2018: M.A., Sociology, Duke University
  • 2015: M.S., Sociology, Brigham Young University
  • 2013: B.A., French Studies, Brigham Young University

Dissertation Title: "Essays on the Complexities of Social Inequalities and Disparities in Health Outcomes"

(Committee: Scott M. Lynch (Chair); Tyson H. Brown, Jenifer Hamil-Luker; Matthew E. Dupre)

I am a medical sociologist, demographer, and teacher. My research focuses on the social determinants of health and health inequalities in society. This research aims to understand how social factors influence individual and population health. I approach this research through various theoretical frames with an emphasis on the cumulative effect of inequality, disadvantage, and advantage have over the life course on health disparities. My current research investigates the effects of the Great Recession on health inequalities between social groups over the life course. In my dissertation, I am also researching the potential symmetry in health outcomes between social groups based on positive and negative health behaviors. Previously, I published an article on public approval regarding euthanasia over time by cohort, religious belief, and religiosity. More of my research activity is available on my CV and on my website.

In addition to my research, I am a passionate teacher. During my time at Duke, not only have I been a teaching assistant for several classes, I have had the opportunity to teach several courses, including introduction to sociology and research methods. I have also completed the Duke Graduate School's Certificate of College Teaching and am a 2019-2020 fellow in their Preparing Future Faculty program. 

Guangyu Tong Photo

Tony Guangyu Tong

Research and Teaching Interests
Immigration, Mental Health, Gun Violent Crime, Racial Achievement Gap, Statistics (research areas: causal inference, missing data, meta-analysis, generalized linear models, survey methodology, Bayesian modeling)
  • Ph.D. Candidate, Duke University (expected May 2020)
  • M.A. Sociology, Duke University, 2017
  • M.A. Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences, Columbia University, 2014
  • B.L. Sociology Peking University, 2012
  • B.A. Economics, Peking University, 2012

Dissertation Title: "Selective Migration and Asian Americans’ Academic Advantage: Destination-country, Sending-county, and Methodological Perspectives"

(Committee: Angel Harris(Chair), Mark Chaves, Scott Lynch, Guang Guo (UNC))

Lauren Valentino

Lauren Valentino

Research and Teaching Interests
Culture and Cognitive Sociology; Inequality and Stratification; Race, Class, and Gender; Mixed Methods
  • Ph.D., Sociology, Duke University, expected 2019
    • Vorsanger-Smith Award
    • Kenan Institute for Ethics Fellow
    • Education and Human Development Scholar
  • M.A., Sociology, Duke University, 2016
    • Certification areas: Culture, Inequality
  • M.A., Sociology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2013
  • B.A., Sociology (with honors), French Studies, Wesleyan University, 2010

Dissertation Title: “What is a ‘Good’ Job? Cultural Logics of Occupational Prestige”

(Committee: Steve Vaisey (chair), Chris Bail, Kieran Healy, Jessi Streib)

Lauren Valentino is a cultural and cognitive sociologist studying inequality and stratification. Her research uses a mix of methods (experiments, surveys, interviews) to understand how people form beliefs about poverty and the occupational hierarchy in the United States. Her recent work has been published in American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Poetics, among other outlets. She is the winner of the Vorsanger-Smith Scholar Award and the Graduate Teaching Award. 


Bethany Young

Bethany J. Young

Research and Teaching Interests
Race, Gender, Identity, Experimental Methods
  • Ph.D Sociology, Duke University, expected 2019
  • M.A., Sociology, Duke University 2017
  • J.D., George Washington University Law School 2012
  • B.A., Spelman College 2009

Dissertation Title: "Invisible Girls: Growing Up Black and Female in Elite, Predominantly White Schools"

(Committee: Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (co-chair), Lynn Smith-Lovin (co-chair), Jessi Streib, Tyson Brown)

Zimife Umeh Photo

Zimife Umeh

Research and Teaching Interests
Criminal Justice, Reentry, Gender, Race, Inequality
  • Ph.D. Sociology, Duke University, expected 2020
  • MA. Sociology, Duke University, 2017
  • M.Ed. Secondary Education, Chestnut Hill College, 2011
  • B.S. Finance, University of Pittsburgh, 2009

Dissertation Title: "Formerly Incarcerated Women and Institutional Interactions"

(Committee: Martin Ruef (co-chair), Angel Harris (co-chair), Jessi Streib, Tyson Brown, Phil Cook)