Alumna Spotlight: Emily Mann (by Anya Galli)

Emily Mann received her PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of
Maryland in 2010. During her time a Maryland, her research focused on the sociology of sexualities, in particular, teenage sexuality and social regulation. She taught courses in the Sociology and LGBT studies Departments and received the 2010 Robert W. Janes award for Excellence for her work in our department. Emily generously agreed to answer some questions about what she’s been up to in the (incredibly productive) years since she left UMD.

What are the highlights of the past few years since you left UMD?

After leaving UMD, I had the opportunity to pursue a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University, which provided me with a skill set beyond my graduate training. In addition to collaborating with an interdisciplinary research team to implement a multi-sited, mixed-methods study with Latina/o youth in California, I was also able to connect with numerous scholars and advocates focusing on sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice. In particular, I became a member of the Reproductive Justice Working Group, organized through the Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice at the University of California, Berkeley, and attended regular talks and events organized through UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health). All of these experiences proved to be instrumental in helping me grow as a scholar and land my first tenure-track position at the University of South Carolina, which begins this August. It also didn’t hurt that I got to spend a couple years living in San Francisco.

Can you talk a bit about your current research/interests? What are you working on/ what are you excited about?

My current research interests remain focused on the social regulation of youth sexualities but have evolved to focus mainly on how Latina/o youth make decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives within an array of structural constraints and inequalities. Morespecifically, I am interested in how Latina/o teen parents navigate their social worlds with an eye toward situating their experiences within a reproductive justice framework. There is a movement afoot to challenge and reshape our dominant understandings of teen pregnancy and parenting away from shame and blame and toward support and empowerment, and I am excited to be contributing to that conversation through my research, scholarship, and collaborations.

Looking back at your experiences with the job market, what is your advice for current grad students? Was there any advice that was particularly helpful to you? 

Mann_2I went on the job market at a time when the recession was hitting the academic job market the hardest (2009-2011), so my perspective is colored by that. That said, my advice to current graduate students boils down to this: Figure out as soon as possible if you really want an academic career and if you decide you do, then learn as much as you can about recent graduates’ trajectories and model your approach on what they did (as well as what they wish they did differently). In addition to this general advice, I especially recommend forming a writing group with a few other graduate students who are at a similar point in the process. I found that tremendously useful and supportive.

I am also happy to chat individually with current graduate students in more detail about navigating graduate school and the job market. I can be reached via email at

One topic we’re focusing on in the newsletter this semester is how to create and maintain a professional web presence. Can you talk a bit about how you’ve used social media to advance your research/interests/career? Any tips for current grad students?

I am avid user of Facebook and Twitter (@emannphd) and the latter in particular has allowed me to connect and communicate with a variety of folks that I otherwise might never have gotten to know and to share information that I use in my teaching and research. I am somewhat unusual in that I use the same account in both a professional and personal capacity – some may argue this is a no-no – but I prefer to integrate the two. Given that, it’s important to be reflexive about what you say within that very public space, so for some it may make sense to maintain a public professional account and a personal locked (or anonymous) account. I also think it’s great to use or create your own website to maintain a professional web presence. When people use search engines to look you up, these show up as the first hits so you can more actively shape how others make sense of who you are.

Outside of academia, what are your loves/hobbies?

While my current position as a VAP hasn’t left me with a ton of free time, I do have a couple of hobbies that I really enjoy. One of my favorite things to do in my free time is pursue various culinary adventures. Since I have had the opportunity to live in two wildly different cities – San Francisco and Las Vegas – in the past few years, I have been able to explore their respective food scenes, which has been a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to continuing that hobby in the context of the South. Beyond that, since moving to Las Vegas, I have been fostering dogs for a local dachshund rescue organization, which has been a real joy. If you like dogs and have the space, I highly recommend it!

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