PhDs on the Market

Don Willis | E-mail:

Research Interests:

Inequality, Health, Youth/ Life Course, Food and Food Insecurity

Dissertation Title:
"Feeding the Student Body: Insecurity and Inequality Among College Students"

Dr. Joan Hermsen (Chair), Dr. Eileen Avery, Dr. Amit Prasad, Dr. Enid Schatz


I am a Huggins Fellow and doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Broadly, my interests are in inequality and health disparities, with a particular focus on food insecurity. I frequently borrow from the life course paradigm and theories of social capital to help inform and frame my research. My dissertation examines food insecurity among college students—a population that has generally been overlooked within the literature—and the impact it has on academic, health, and social life outcomes. A primary goal of my research agenda is to broaden the understanding of food insecurity and how it impacts health by revealing the ways it operates through social factors; rather than treating food as simply a source of calories or nutrients, I emphasize the importance of food to social status and in shaping the same relationships it simultaneously moves through via practices of informal sharing and family role expectations. In other words, I investigate the non-nutritional pathways through which food and food insecurity may impact health.