The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and its promise.
” -C. Wright Mills
Dr. Lindsey B. "Luka" Carfagna is a visiting scholar in the Department of Informatics (Connected Learning Lab) at UC Irvine, works full time as a Learning Experience and Assessment Specialist at Thomas Edison State University, teaches at Rowan College at Burlington County, and is a modern military spouse. She currently resides on an Air Force Base in New Jersey, but can usually be found lurking wherever connected communities meet economic, educational, and ecological challenges. Her dissertation focused on how young people utilized open learning resources and practices as a buffer for hard economic times after the 2008 crisis and subsequent recession.
For her undergraduate degree, Lindsey went to the University of Vermont on a full athletic scholarship to play Division 1 soccer. After injuries forced her to medically retire from the game, she turned her focus to scholarship and advocacy. Lindsey transformed her passion for the beautiful game into a disciplined pursuit of sociology's unique vocational power to speak truth, heal wounds, and inspire calls to action.
In 2007, Lindsey entered a Masters program at the University of Chicago in the Social Sciences, where she was trained to cultivate "the Life of the Mind" in an environment well known for its contributions to sociology. Here, she became a student of organizational sociology and the sociology of education. Lindsey learned to craft her practical questions about educational inequity into theoretical questions about how organizational structures can communicate myths that we take for granted in daily life. After graduation, she worked as an adjunct at a for-profit college and then as a residence director at the University of Vermont. Two years later, she started the Sociology PhD program at Boston College.
At Boston College, Lindsey became an apprentice of the work of Juliet Schor and served as one of her research assistants as part of the MacArthur Foundation's Connected Learning Research Network. She also taught, co-taught, and worked as a teaching assistant for various courses in the Sociology and Education departments. In 2015, she was awarded the Donald White teaching award. During Lindsey's enrollment at Boston College, she continued to work outside of her department responsibilities and was fortunate to meet two independent scholars who helped her to imagine a career beyond the academy. With one foot in the academy and the other seeking new opportunities, she created a unique PhD process that captured the rigor of academia and the creativity of entrepreneurial work. As part of her dissertation fieldwork, Lindsey met many entrepreneurs and picked up entrepreneurial skills herself. Now, as a military spouse, she's using those skills to launch her own career as an independent scholar.
Portrait photos by Jenny Hogan