Dr. Wilson, who joined the faculty in 2005, teaches a wide variety of courses, including sociology of the family; race, class, gender, and sexuality; methods of social research; and social theory. She actively engages students in undergraduate research and, each spring, takes students to the Southern Sociological Society Annual Meeting to present the results of their own work. Students in Dr. Wilson’s classes also serve and learn from the local community in projects that range from compiling oral histories of local Hispanic immigrants to providing volunteer support for a local non-profit agency dedicated to helping children who have been abused. Dr. Wilson is an active scholar in her own right; her most recent work examines the intersection between gender, work and family life. Her other research interests include feminist theory, family policy, and the sociology of religion. Prior to becoming a sociologist, Dr. Wilson worked as a health care policy analyst for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and as a secondary mathematics instructor.


Dr. Wilson’s most recent publication is “The Mommy Track vs. Having It All: The Reality of the Modern Workplace” in You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Women, Politics, and Popular Culture, edited by Lilly Goren (University of Kentucky Press, 2009). Her work also has been published in Sociology of Education, Michigan Journal of Gender and the Law, and Family Relations, and she is a frequent presenter at both the American Sociological Association and the Southern Sociological Society. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Celeste Gaia (Psychology) on “Who Cares? The Tension Between Motherhood and Paid Work Among Rural Employed Women,” a qualitative project designed to study the strategies rural women use to cope with the competing demands of work and family life. Her dissertation examined the role that religion plays in shaping gender negotiation in the early years of marriage; she anticipates publication of much of that work within the next year.

Student Research:

Dr. Wilson and her students have received financial support to conduct undergraduate research from the Appalachian College Association/University of North Carolina’s Faculty Institute on Undergraduate Research (2008-2009) and the Appalachian College Association’s Colonel Lee B. Ledford Award (2009). She has supervised three honor’s theses since 2005, including “The Social Impact of Public Policies on Payday Lending” (Jessica Edmunds, E&H 2007); “Location, Location, Location: Parental Expectations and Dropping Out in Rural and Urban Schools” (Anneliese Markle Gregory, E&H 2009) and “The Balancing Act: How Working Mothers in Southwest Virginia Balance Work and Home” (Corey Burchett, E&H 2010). During the 2010-2011 academic year, Dr. Wilson plans to mentor Kelli Smith (E&H anticipated 2011) as she completes her work examining the relationship between religiosity and sexual behavior and knowledge among American adolescents.

Educational Background

  • B.S., University of Mississippi (Mathematics)
  • M.A. and Ph.D., University of Virginia (Sociology)