Graduate Students

Feyza Akova

Headshot of Feyza Akova

Feyza Akova is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining Notre Dame, Feyza earned an M.A. in Sociology from University of Houston and B.A. degrees in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Istanbul. Feyza has won several teaching and research awards, including the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award and the Robert J. McNamara Student Paper Award from the Association for the Sociology of Religion. Her dissertation project, “Journeys to Traditional Sufi Islam in America: Self-transcendence, Tradition, and Social Change in the Contemporary Modern World,” received Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Abigail Jorgensen


Research Interests:  Culture, Gender & Family, Political Sociology, Quantitative & Qualitative Methods

Abigail Jorgensen is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Notre Dame and a Notebaert Fellow. Her current work focuses on the motherhood shift, warfare theory, and child mortality. Prior to joining the Department of Sociology, Abigail earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame with a minor in Theology.

Brianna McCaslin

Brianna Small

Research Interests:  Gender, Religion, Sex, Culture

Brianna received her B.A. in sociology and English from Marian University and her M.A. in sociology from IUPUI. She joined the sociology department at Notre Dame in 2015. Her research interests include gender, religion, sex and culture, with specific interests in the role these institutional messages play in individual identity and intimate relationships. Her master's thesis examines the religious identity negotiation of married Catholic women who use contraception. 

Gregory Wurm

Headshot of Gregory Wurm.

Greg Wurm is a Ph.D. Candidate and University Presidential Fellow in sociology at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on understanding the changes to and relationships between the fields of family, religion, and politics. His dissertation research specifically looks at the phenomenon of political depolarization among ordinary Americans and at the organizational level through a study of the emerging depolarization field. Theoretically, he utilizes and contributes to the development of the meta-theoretical approach of critical realism and methodologically, he draws on both quantitative (survey and computational) and qualitative (interview, ethnography, discourse analysis) methods. He has published on the role of religion in various religious-ethnic families, how religion is a resource in forming strong family relationships, and on arranged marriages among South Asian Muslim immigrants in western societies. He is also interested in and working on projects related to Christian nationalism and civil religion.