I am an applied sociologist with research expertise in gender violence, the illegal commercial sex marketplace, and hard-to-reach populations, and am currently tracing a history of the rape kit. I have training in quantitative, qualitative, and public health methodologies, and have earned a M.A. in the sociology of science and technology from Georgia Tech, and a M.A. in gender and sexuality from Georgia State University. I am the Director of Research at youthSpark, an Atlanta-based non-profit focused on ending the commercial sexual exploitation of youth through victim services and demand-reduction strategies, a member of the interdisciplinary research collective The Race and Racism in Contemporary Biomedicine Working Group, and also provide research assistance for gender violence advocacy groups in Atlanta.
I am currently a PhD student in the School of History and Sociology at Georgia Institute of Technology, where I hold the Presidential Fellowship. Before beginning the Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech, I taught Social Problems and Introduction to Sociology at Georgia State University, and was awarded Excellence in Higher Education by the GSU Center for Instructional Innovation. In 2012, I was selected as Outstanding Graduate Student and served as an Urban Fellow in the School of Law 2013 at Georgia State.
Broadly, my research interests are in the relationships between science and technology, medicine, and gender and race. I am currently researching the history of the rape kit, and other forensic technologies–focusing on how cultural norms interact with and mediate science and technology. By taking a critical perspective, my work illuminates the relationship between cultural values and institutional responses to sexual assault, and aims to provide mechanisms to support victims of sexual violence. My research has been published in the academic journal Criminal Justice Studies, Sociation Today, and in a social problems textbook published by Oxford University Press.
Follow me @rshelbycobra