Laurie Petty

Doctoral Candidate
Primary office:


Areas of Specialization

Gender, Culture, Sociology of Knowledge, Inequality, Families, Medical Sociology, Organizations, Social Theory, Research Methodology (Quantitative and Qualitative)

Laurie Petty (Doctoral Candidate, PhD Expected 2017; University of Kansas) specializes in gender, culture, and the sociology of knowledge, with additional areas of interest in medical sociology, social theory, inequality, and organizations.  She completed her comprehensive exams in Gender (Spring, 2012) and Culture (Fall 2013).  Laurie’s dissertation explores how people holding the socially marginalized world view of atheism contest the dominant religious culture.  She is interested in what challenges, struggles, or tensions atheist parents face as they socialize their children in a wider culture in which religious definitions of the situation dominate, and how parents negotiate these.  She is currently collecting and analyzing in-depth interview data from atheist parents who live in a highly religious southern US area and in a less religious major US urban area.

Laurie is a mixed methods researcher with experience in both qualitative methods (in-depth interviewing, participant observation, autoethnography) and quantitative methods (SAS, Stata, SPSS – large and small datasets).  Laurie’s prior work includes a survey of university faculty parents and their perceptions of departmental and institutional kid-friendliness, focusing particularly on the role of the department chair.  She has worked as a research assistant for two projects involving large data sets examining issues in education. 

Laurie teaches Self and Society, and has been a teaching assistant for Research Methods and Introduction to Sociology. 

Laurie has received the 2015 Carroll D. Clark Post-Master’s Degree Award that honors graduate students who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship, integrity, and promise in the discipline of sociology; the 2014 Carroll D. Clark Award for Teaching Excellence; and the Outstanding Thesis/Research Project Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas.  She has also received the Christopher Gunn Scholarship, the Morris C. Pratt Research Award, and the Morris C. Pratt Travel Scholarship, as well as passing both her master’s thesis defense and her dissertation proposal defense with honors.

Graduate Education:

In Progress PhD Candidate
University of Kansas

2012 Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
University of Kansas

2011 M.A. Sociology
University of Kansas

2008 M.A. Higher Education and Organizational Change
University of California, Los Angeles


Carroll D. Clark Post–Master's Degree Award - 2015
Carroll D. Clark Award for Teaching Excellence – 2014
Christopher Gunn Scholarship – 2014 ($2,000)
Morris C. Pratt Research Award – 2014 ($3,500)
Morris C. Pratt Research and Travel Scholarship – 2012, 2013
Outstanding Thesis/Research Project Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas – 2012

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