PhD in Sociology of Education

Karly Sarita Ford

Name: Karly Sarita Ford


Expected Date of Graduation:

Why did you choose to pursue a Doctoral degree in Sociology of Education?

While working toward my master’s in international education policy at Harvard, I realized that my questions were different from those of my colleagues. I wanted to know about the source and scope of inequality education. I wanted to understand the many and varied ways education stratifies society.

What is the focus of your research?

Broadly, I study the role of educational institutions in perpetuating or interrupting patterns of social inequality. How do schools contribute to social stratification? Looking beyond our national obsession with test scores, what other social outcomes do schools produce? How can we thoughtfully and precisely measure school related indicators? My dissertation work focuses on educational homogamy. I am tracking how educational credentialing is quickly becoming a social boundary with strong influence, not only in the labor market, but also the marital market. My research interests also include causal quantitative methodologies, especially as they are used to influence educational policy decisions.


Arum, Richard, Irenee Beattie & Karly Ford (2010). The Structure of Schooling: Readings in the Sociology of Education. Washington DC: Pine ForgePress/SAGE.

Arum, Richard, Karly Ford & Melissa Velez, “School Discipline, Student Achievement and Social Inequality,” in Arum, Richard and Melissa Velez, eds. (2012). Improving Learning Environments in Schools: Lessons from Abroad. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

Arum, Richard & Karly Ford. (2012). How Other Countries “Do Discipline.” Educational Leadership. 70 (2). pp 56-62.     

Ford, Karly. 2012. Book review of David Watson, Robert Hollister, Susan E. Stroud, & Elizabeth Babcock, The Engaged University: International Perspectives on Civic Engagement (New York: Routledge, 2011), Teachers College Record.

Manuscripts In Progress

Ford, Karly & Richard Arum. Same-College Partnering in the U.S. 1975-2005.

Ford, Karly. Ms. Harvard and Mr. Florida State: The role of selectivity and social background among partnering college graduates.

Ford, Karly& Jason Thompson. Inherited Prestige: Educational Privilege Across Three Generations.        

Awards & Fellowships

Institute of Education Sciences Pre-doc Fellowship              
September 2010 – May 2012

Institute of Educational Sciences (IES), National Center for Education Statistics
Washington, DC

Funding is awarded to education researchers to conduct methodologically rigorous and relevant scientific research related to American education .

Research Fellowship                                                         
September 2012 – present

MacArthur Foundation Funded, New York University Project
Washington, DC

I collect ethnographic data to develop a clear understanding of how teens progress between the stages of “hanging out,” “messing around” and “geeking out,” in the YOUmedia space at the Hirshhorn Museum. I conduct interviews with teens, adult mentors, and librarians to generate data that will be used to make comparisons with similar projects in Chicago and New York.  The goal is to understand teens’ experiences with digital media for social and educational purposes

Steinhardt Fellowship                                                                 
September 2007 - 2010

Steinhardt School for Culture, Education & Human Development
New York, NY

The Steinhardt Fellowship in Education provides three years of financial and mentoring support to promising Ph.D students at New York University ($20,000 per year).

Graduate Student Award                                                           
February 2012

Asilomar, CA

Based on excellent reviews on my conference paper and potential promise as a scholar, conference organizers selected me to receive this recognition.

What are your career goals?

I’m open to the possibilities.  I enjoy the research and writing process. I love teaching. I’m considering the academic path.

What do you like the most about the Sociology of Education program at NYU Steinhardt?:

My classmates are spectacular.