About Me

PhD Candidate

Department of Sociology

University of Pennslyvania

Hi, I’m Alexander, and I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania.

I am a sociologist and social demographer working at the intersections of social stratification, social mobility, and education with a focus on racial and class inequality. I am currently a PhD candidate and an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Pre-doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, I am concurrently pursuing a Master’s in Statistics at the Wharton School.

My dissertation focuses on heterogeneity in Black-White economic inequality in wealth, social mobility, and the returns to a college education. It is a three-paper dissertation that touches on three strands of my research. While research generally shows that Black Americans are economically disadvantaged compared to White Americans, the size of these disparities may vary across certain subpopulations of Black Americans. This focus is motivated by both practical and theoretical reasons. Practically, this variation is important because it helps identify groups that may be most in need. Theoretically, examining this variation is important because it may elucidate overlooked mechanisms that undergird racial disparities. You can read more about my dissertation and research agenda here or by clicking the “Research Agenda” tab above.

I am also passionate about disseminating social science research and methods in ways that are accessible to students from a variety of academic backgrounds. In line with this commitment, I co-founded (w/ Prof. Xi Song) a working group on quanitative methodology for graduate students in the Department of Sociology. The group aims to fill in gaps in methodological training by introducing students to quantitative methods not typically taught in the standard quantitative methods sequence. In addition, I maintain an extensive list of social science podcasts that can be used for class assignments or to keep up with the latest research across the social sciences. Finally, as a product of undergraduate summer research programs (i.e., University of Michigan SROP and CDC CUPS), I maintain a growing list of available social science research experiences for undergraduates across the United States. In the future, I hope to participate as a faculty mentor for students in such programs.

If you wish to contact me, then my email address is “adames” followed by the symbol for “at” and then by “sas.upenn.edu.”

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