My parents and siblings immigrated from Colombia to Miami, Florida, in 1982. I was born a few years later and was raised in the “Magic City” at a time when it was experiencing a dramatic amount of social and economic changes. The McDuffie Riots and the Mariel Boatlift had both taken place two years before my parents arrived in Miami, and the surge of violence associated with the drug trade continued at a high pace. Although I was young, I was still aware of many of these realities. Miami was, in short, an equally exciting and dangerous place.
I graduated high school in 2004 and went on to attend Duke University. While an undergraduate, I was active in many research agendas. Under the tutelage of Prof Steven Churchill and Prof Nancy Barrickman, I developed a 3-dimensional model of a fossiliferous cave in South Africa using ArcGIS that contributed to the team’s understanding of the cave’s findings. Using the 3-D model, we were able to understand in greater detail how the fossils were deposited over time. In another vein, I worked with the late Prof Luis Diego Gómez to analyze the juvenile dentition of children in indigenous communities in Costa Rica. This work, co-authored with fellow undergraduate Christina M. Guzzo, included counts of dental abscesses as well as interviews with parents and children and was published in the McGill Journal of Medicine.
Following graduation, I taught for a year as a Colet Fellow at St. Paul’s School in London, UK, before attending Harvard Divinity School for my Masters in Theological Studies (Adviser: R. Marie Griffith). While at HDS, I concentrated in Religions of the Americas and worked as a reporter for Religion News Service, the largest secular news wire solely dedicated to religion and ethics topics worldwide. During this time, I expanded on my previous research in science and religion so as to study secularization, secularism, and the nonreligious. My historical work on the secularization of suicide in England was published in Cult/ure.
Upon graduating from HDS, I began my Ph.D. studies in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University (Chair: Robert Wuthnow). My work at Princeton focused on questions at the intersection of economic sociology, sociology of culture, and sociology of religion. Previous publications address questions about those who identify as having no religious preference, known as the “nones” in the academic literature, and on joining theories of economic sociology with those in the sociology of religion (a full list of these publications can be found on my CV). My dissertation work combined all my interests in markets, culture, and religion to study how the global art market shapes small neighborhoods. I went back to Miami to work on a long term (2-year) ethnography of the neighborhood of Wynwood, the former Puerto Rican barrio of the city that has exploded into an international destination for the arts.
As of April, 2017, I am the Board Liaison and Project Manager for the Miami City Ballet.
Feel free to explore the links on this website to learn more about my current and past research interests.