I am currently the Executive Director of youthSpark, a nonprofit addressing the systemic abuse and exploitation of Atlanta’s youth. At youthSpark we lead research and advocacy to addresses the underlying causes of these complex social problems, while galvanizing social support services to help youth recovering from them. I use my background as an applied social researcher to figure out which types of tactics and strategies effectively reduce exploitation rates and problematic youth behavior, and then I help build and maintain strategic partnerships within the community in order to “move the needle” toward these solutions.
I am an Affiliated Faculty member of the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University, and hold a Ph.D. in applied sociology from Baylor University. Recently I’ve had the opportunity to focus on research involving homeless and runaway youth, as well as factors influencing offending behavior of youth and adults. I really love collecting new data from a variety of (often unconventional) sources, with the ultimate goal of analyzing the numbers to reveal an actionable story.