Department of Sociology

Megan Neely

M.A., The University of Texas at Austin

Megan Neely


  • Office: Sociology Department, CLA 3rd Floor
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2pm and by appointment


Gender, Race, and Class; Work and Organizations; Income Inequality; Economic Sociology; Gender and Politics


I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology. My research interests are in gender, race, and class inequality in the workplace, financial sector, and political systems, as well as how these issues relate to the recent growth in widening economic inequality.  

My dissertation is a qualitative study of the hedge fund industry. I examine the cultural norms and practices that prevent women and minority men from advancing in this industry. For my research, I conducted 45 in-depth interviews and engaged in participant observation in New York and Texas over a three-year period. I find that this industry demonstrates how rising income inequality, even among the financial elite, is a gendered and racialized phenomenon.

My master’s thesis, “Nine Women World Leaders: Sexism on the Path to Power,” examines women presidents and prime ministers’ paths to executive office.

At UT, I am a graduate fellow in the Urban Ethnography Lab, the editorial committee chairperson for the Working Paper Series at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, and the Sociology Department Representative to the Graduate School Assembly. Beyond UT, I currently serve as the student representative on the Organizations, Occupations, and Work section of the American Sociological Association.

Before coming to UT, I worked as a research analyst at a finance firm and earned a BA in History with honors at Seattle University. 

For more information about my work, please visit my website.



SOC F323 • The Family

85905 • Summer 2016
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM JGB 2.202
(also listed as WGS F345)


This course will explore how, when, and why people form families in the United States. We will apply a sociological perspective to examine the family as a social institution, with attention to how it is historically and culturally situated. Specific topics will include dating, “hooking up” and marriage; parents and children; cohabitation, divorce and stepfamilies; LGBTQ families; work-family policy; and gender, race, sexuality, and social class as systems of family inequality.

During the course, first we will define basic terms, concepts, and theories about the family and review a brief history of the family in the U.S. Next, we will consider trends in the family at the macro-level (large-scale social processes) and micro-level (small-scale interactions), with attention to the complexity and variation in family formations. Then we will cover the causes and consequences of inequality within and among families, with an emphasis on race, class, gender, and sexuality. To conclude, we will consider the future for families in the U.S. and discuss public policy solutions for the social issues covered throughout the course.

Studying the family may seem intuitive as we all have our own knowledge from being part of families. In this class, however, you will develop your sociological imagination by learning how to connect your own family experiences to societal-level phenomena as well as to a variety of family experiences that differ from your own. My goal is for you to demonstrate an understanding of the cultural and structural forces that shape family life, and how these shift over time and across groups. 

Grading and Requirements:

Students will be evaluated on two exams, two 5-8 page papers, and class attendance and participation.


SOC 307K • Fertility And Reproduction

44514 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CMA 3.114
(also listed as WGS 301)


Why do birth rates rise and fall? Why is fertility falling in over half of the world? Why does the United States have high rates of childlessness, delayed parenting, teen childbearing, unplanned pregnancy, and maternal and infant mortality? Why is the U.S. exceptional among industrialized nations in terms of fertility and reproduction? And why do countries in the Global South face unique issues when it comes to family planning and population control?

This course will explore when, why, and how people bear children around the world. We will explore the social factors associated with declining fertility, voluntary childlessness, unplanned fertility, non-marital and teen childbearing, delayed parenting and infertility, assisted reproduction, adoption, maternal and infant mortality/morbidity, population control, family planning, and government support for families. Throughout the course, you will develop your sociological imagination by learning how to connect what happens in individual’s lives to broader, demographic trends that transform the economic and political landscape of societies worldwide.

The course will feature current publications by sociologists and journalists. The format will be a combination of lectures and discussion.

Grading and requirements:

Students will be evaluated on two exams, two short essays, and class participation.


Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    CLA 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086