Jessica Pfaffendorf

Assistant ProfessorSociology

Picture of Jessica Pfaffendorf


Jessica is a sociologist whose research explores the social psychological and cultural underpinnings of inequality among individuals. Specifically, her research follows two substantive streams. In the first, she uses ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews to examine how experiences and outcomes are stratified vis-à-vis gender, class, and race in new therapeutic programs for privileged youth. In the second, she uses experimental methods to build an integrative theoretical framework to bridge current understandings of how status and stigma relate as concepts. Her work appears in Social Psychology Quarterly, Gender & Society, The Sociological Quarterly, and a number of press and public outlets. 

Jessica received her BA from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota before moving to the Sonoran Desert to complete a PhD at the University of Arizona. She is a proud McNair Scholars alum and first-generation college student.

Teaching and Research Interests

Inequality, Social Psychology, Gender, Culture, Qualitative Methods, Experimental Methods


  • PhD in Sociology from University of Arizona, 2019
  • MA in Sociology from University of Arizona, 2013
  • BA in Sociology from Augsburg College, 2011