The pandemic has made it really hard to tell when I “finished” grad school and when I “started” being a community researcher, but in order to streamline my networks a little, I’ve created a newsletter for my colleagues and friends. Since the first one is all-encompassing, I figured I may as well share it here, too.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I’m starting an informal newsletter to maintain my professional network. I’m going to share below what I’ve been up to, tell you about the contact lists I’ve developed, and ask you to stay in touch about your own projects. I ask only that you take a look at some of my recent and ongoing projects and let me know which interest you for future correspondence. I am also eager to hear about other folks you know who may be doing relevant work and/or may be hiring someone with my skills in 2022; I will gladly send you my CV/resume/writing sample(s)/video links to forward. I completed my Master’s last summer, but the pandemic has delayed my family’s plan to make a new home somewhere colder. The year since has been extraordinary for collaboration, publishing, and speaking on topics I care about — even clarifying my vision for the work ahead.
Let’s get right to it. I’ll introduce four broad (and often overlapping) categories I serve and how often I expect to send updates, then give you some examples of recent projects. The categories that best encapsulate my work topics and audiences are:
- Care partner support, especially caregivers of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. (In addition to facilitating 3 online support groups, I have been averaging 1-2 events per month as a community educator.)
- LGBTQ community, especially gender expansive identities. (I expect this one to start slowly but build great momentum in the next couple years.)
- Strictly academic updates. (Research publications and/or presentations, maybe 1-4 times a year.)
- COVID-19, Long COVID, and the pandemic’s long-term impact. (As often as necessary for as long as necessary, but let’s assume quarterly for now.)
It is my hope that you can already guess which category above I assume we share as a common interest, but please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. Now let me show you what I’ve been up to for each:
Care Partner Support: I serve as a Community Educator for multiple chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association and as a presenter, blogger, and podcast guest for Caregiving Wellness Retreats. Some of these presentations have been certified for social workers, counselors, and nurses; others have been made available as videos on Facebook. I facilitate 3 online support groups for dementia caregivers (including one specialized for the LGBTQ community and another specializing in young adult caregivers). I also offer care coaching services to individuals and families.
LGBTQ and Gender: This summer, I proudly joined the board of the Coalition for Aging LGBT (a Dallas non-profit that coordinates resources and information in the interest of older LGBT adults) and we have already launched Silver Linings, our virtual support group for caregivers in the community. (If you’d like to support our work, please consider donating to CfA!) I am also a Research Assistant on an NSF-funded qualitative research team (based at UIC and UNT) studying the experience of adults who identify outside the gender binary; we recently moved from interviews to coding, and are beginning to present preliminary findings from what will eventually be a public (anonymous) dataset.
Academia: My first publication came out this spring, a book chapter exploring the statistical relevance of several models of “generations” to caregiving. I also have a short autoethnography accepted for publication (no date as yet) and a dataset of personal writings ready for further development. My Master’s thesis explored disparities and social identity for dementia caregivers. I have been a guest lecturer/panelist for graduate and undergraduate classes in sociology, psychology, and speech pathology. I joined Sociologists for Trans Justice and continue to offer peer feedback to Master’s or early PhD students across disciplines.
COVID-19: So far, I have spoken about COVID in caregiving contexts (covered above), but I remain vigilant over its impact on not only public health but caregiving and even the trajectory of social science; I am eager to expand these conversations and swap resources with others.
A little bit of everything above: Although it was brief, I was quoted in the New York Times this past spring. I’m on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) and occasionally blog; engagement varies by platform, but generally I post public events and share others’ works (especially study recruitment for caregivers or gender expansive individuals).
Finally, I now have a Linktree (a link aggregator), which includes most of these links, my email address, and a link to donate toward my work; it will be updated regularly.
Thanks for taking the time to catch up with me; please, as you are able, let me know which topics you’d like to stay connected around and from this point forward you’ll just hear about those. I hope each of you is safe, that your families are strong, and that this fall is a time of peace and learning.