About Me

 UPDATE: I’ve just launched a new blog: The Mean Girl Motive.com. Enter your email on the right hand side of the homepage to receive weekly updates on posts.

As an undergraduate student, majoring in Criminology, I took an interest in topics concerning youth early on in my coursework. It was not long before this “interest” developed into a passion, followed by a quest to know more, particularly in regards to girls.

Since the early 90s, we have been bombarded with the idea that girls are becoming increasingly violent and aggressive. Much of the public panic has certainly intensified with the unveiling of the “mean girl”, deemed to be one of the most “toxic” of female depositions. Yet, upon more critical evaluations, one can see that much of our fear surrounding female aggression is largely fuelled by sensationalist media propaganda, as well as societal stereotypes of how “good girls” should behave. While we are often quick to label particular behaviours as problematic, we are rarely as diligent in our attempts at understanding the social contexts in which “delinquency” occurs and is defined.

Recognizing the lack of academic engagement in the area of girl aggression, I began to conduct my own research as an Honours student, interviewing adolescent girls about their perspectives on girls’ “meanness”. However, given the constraints of undergraduate research, I was only left with more questions that required further and more extensive inquiry. Thus, upon entering graduate school the following year, I sought to examine how social structures such as gender, class and race influence the production of aggression and violence among girls. The outcome of this MA thesis was published into a book entitled, The Mean Girl Motive: Negotiating Power and Femininity, by Fernwood Publishing Ltd in February 2008. It is available for purchase online at Chapters.ca.

While working on my Masters research, I was approached to develop and present a workshop at the National Boys and Girls Club of Canada Conference held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This workshop was attended by staff, administrators and volunteers, who were involved in various levels of the development, modification, evaluation and delivery of programs and policy. The objective of this workshop was to find ways to enhance positive outcomes for girls’ programming within the organization.

With the publication of my book, I have received increasing recognition for my work on girl aggression, especially within my local community with newspaper, magazine and book review features, not to mention, radio interviews and guest speaking opportunties.

While my personal research projects have been focused exclusively on girls, my professional research experience has much more diverse, involving projects related to youth crime and delinquency, school violence and bullying, juvenile policy and programming, youth mentorship, adolescent health and development, as well as adolescent risk and resilience.

Most recently, I have been teaching at Saint Mary’s University in the Sociology/Criminology Department. Not only has this given me the opportunity to develop new skills in knowledge dissemination, syllabus design, student evaluation, and lecturing, but it has also kept me current in my engagement with academic discourse, particularly related to issues of gender, race, class and justice.