Mary Tefft and John Hazen White, Sr. Assistant Professor of Public and International Affairs and Sociology
Areas of Interest: Social stratification, education, race/ethnicity, gender, organizations, social demography, population health.
I am currently the Mary Tefft and John Hazen White, Sr. Assistant Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Brown University, in the Department of Sociology and Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. I am also an affiliate of the Population Studies and Training Center. From 2013 to 2015 I was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I completed a Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography at Princeton University. I have worked at organizations such as the Urban Institute, Mathematica Policy Research, and the U.S. House of Representatives.
My research interests lie at the intersections of social stratification, education, organizations, social demography, and population health. I study how the social contexts of schools, families, and workplaces as well as the race and gender of individuals and their evaluators shape evaluations and, ultimately, lead to racial/ethnic and gender disparities in educational and economic outcomes.
I am interested in how the features of one’s social context influence the psychological processes through which individuals – those in authority and decision-making positions as well as those in non-authority positions – make sense of diversity and difference within organizations broadly defined, and how this carries implications for racial/ethnic and gender inequality at the social and organizational levels.
On the one hand, I consider how authority figures like teachers, parents, and workplace managers evaluate behaviors and competencies and make decisions about conferring punishments and rewards. I am particularly interested in how the same behaviors and competencies are differentially punished and/or rewarded based on factors such individuals’ race and gender and organizational culture. On the other hand, I examine how social context influences the ways in which non-authorities, like students and job applicants who are the targets of racial and gender stereotypes, manage stereotyping by modulating their behaviors, self-presentation, expectations, and achievement.
Owens, Jayanti. 2016. “Early Childhood Behavior Problems and the Gender Gap in Educational Attainment in the United States” Sociology of Education 89(3): 236-258.
Featured coverage in: U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The Telegraph (U.K.), The Seattle Times, Deseret News, Inside Higher Ed., Science Daily, Philly.com, Health Day, WebMD
Owens, Jayanti and Heide Jackson. 2016. “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Severity, Diagnosis, and Later Academic Achievement in a National Sample.” Social Science Research 61: 251-265.
Owens, Jayanti. 2014. “Racial/Ethnic Variations in the Consequences of Religious Participation for Academic Achievement at Elite Colleges and Universities.” Sociology of Religion 75(1): 80-112.
Massey, Douglas S. and Jayanti Owens. 2014. “Mediators of Stereotype Threat among Black College Students.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 37(3): 557-575.
Owens, Jayanti and Scott M. Lynch. 2012. “Black and Hispanic Immigrants’ Resilience against Negative-Ability Stereotypes at Selective Colleges and Universities in the United States.” Sociology of Education 85(4): 303-328. (Lead Article; Sociology of Education’s “Most Read Articles in May 2013”)
Owens, Jayanti and Douglas S. Massey. 2011. “Stereotype Threat and College Academic Performance: A Latent Variables Approach.” Social Science Research 40(2011): 150-166.
Owens, Jayanti. 2010. “Foreign Students, Immigrants, Domestic Minorities and Admission to Texas’ Selective Flagship Universities Before and After the Ban on Affirmative Action.” Peabody Journal of Education 85(4): 486-510.
Advanced Statistics for Public Policy (Fall 2015, Fall 2016); Sociological Research Methods (Spring 2016, Spring 2017); Experiments on Race, Class, and Gender (Spring 2017)