A Q&A with Sociology and Criminology’s Brittany Hearne

by | Jan 9, 2020 | Dean's Corner, Faces of Fulbright, Q & A

Brittany Hearne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Criminology

In this conversation, Hearne talks about being a health, social inequality and family scholar who studies how young adult romantic relationships can shape self-concept and health; her passion for serving as a mentor and ally to students; how mental health is not only a result of biology but can be socially determined; and her love of spoiling her dog Benji, traveling, learning to cook and the road to tenure.

Brittany Hearne typing at her deskQ: Tell us a little about your research, academic passions and/or role within the college. What excites you about this?

I am a health, social inequality and family scholar. I examine how young adult romantic relationships (i.e., single, monogamous dating, cohabitation, and marriage) shape self-concept and health differently by race, gender, age and educational attainment.

I have also studied racial and ethnic differences in the impact of parenting styles for young adult educational attainment and mental health.

In other research, I have made contributions to intersectionality research by highlighting the contribution of black women in gender legal activism.

Across each of my projects, I am passionate about examining and highlighting social inequalities in domains that are assumed to be natural or too personal to be socially influenced (e.g., romantic relationships).

I am also passionate about acknowledging the influences of intersectional identities (ascribed and achieved) on social experiences and patterns.

Lastly, I enjoy highlighting that (mental) health is not only a result of biology but is also socially determined.

Image of Brittany HearneQ: How long have you been at Fulbright College? What have you enjoyed most about your time here?

I joined the Department of Sociology and Criminology in August 2018.

I truly appreciate my career and each of my colleagues. I have especially enjoyed serving as a mentor and ally for students.

Q: What do you most hope your students remember from their classes and/or interactions with you?

I hope that my students know that I am invested in their learning.

The main objectives in the courses I teach – Social Research and Sociology of Mental Health and Illness – are for students to understand how to read and understand sociological research and how to apply empirical research findings to their understandings and arguments about society and social life.

I enjoy teaching because the curriculum for my courses allow me to help students understand the usefulness of social science in understanding health and inequality.

Image of Brittany HearneQ: What do you like to do during your time outside of the university?

I spend most of my time spoiling my dog, Benji.

I also enjoy traveling internationally, typically to countries in the Global South. The flights typically give me time to catch up on sleep and reading.

Mindless shopping in large stores, sorting through racks and shelves, is also relaxing for me.

I also like catching up with friends after extended periods of work.

Brittany Hearne and friends in front of big lipsQ: What’s up next on the horizon for you?

I primarily want to focus on completing my research projects and earning tenure. I also look forward to building relationships with colleagues and students.

I am also dedicated to learning how to cook!

I like to believe I have mastered a few meals, but I have a lot to learn. As I told my students recently, I did not do so well with the macaroni and cheese this past Thanksgiving.

If anyone has good vegetarian recipes, please feel free to share!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add or let readers know?

I love coffee and I have recently discovered that I enjoy chocolate a little too much.

So, I am always happy to talk about teaching and research over coffee and a chocolate pastry.

I enjoy horror movies although they tend to have the silliest plots. I am also overly excited about true crime podcasts and documentaries.

I always want to know about the successes of my students. If any students are reading this, please feel free to tell me how things are going.

Andra Parrish Liwag

Director of Communications, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences 

479-575-4393 // liwag@uark.edu