Brennan Miller, a doctoral student in sociology, was one of 13 advanced doctoral students awarded the University Fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year. Read further to learn more about his research, future goals and Kent State experience.
- Please give a short overview of your research.
My project focuses on how individuals interpret and cognitively attend to information when evaluating job applicants’ résumés that differ on status and work ability to better understand how individuals interpret such information. Since workplace inequality is a partial function of both unconscious and cognitive mechanisms, I use a mixed-methods experimental design that collects evaluations, physiological measurements and qualitative interviews. Neurological and eye-tracking methods will be used to investigate implicit and cognitive attention during résumé evaluations and qualitative interviews will be used to observe how decisions are rationalized. A neurological approach captures evaluators’ cognitive attention when evaluating different types of information. Eye-tracking methods will triangulate what information is implicitly capturing evaluators’ attention. Qualitative interviews help provide insight into the interpretive frameworks evaluators may use to justify unequal outcomes. Project findings will inform workplace and governmental policies and practices to modify and improve hiring strategies that address inequality in evaluations relevant to key aspects of the work process.
- What made you choose to pursue your graduate degree here at Kent State?
I decided to attend Kent State after meeting a professor, Dr. Will Kalkhoff, at an academic conference. Dr. Kalkhoff told me that Kent State’s sociology department had acquired a new neurological laboratory, the Electrophysiological Neuroscience Laboratory at Kent (ENLoK). To my knowledge, Kent State is the only sociology department in the country that has its own neurology laboratory. This is what convinced me to pursue my graduate degree here.
- What do you enjoy most about attending Kent State for graduate school?
I enjoy the ability to develop and explore my own research at Kent State. My advisor, Dr. Carla Goar, has challenged me in ways to explore my own interests and helped me grow as an independent scholar.
- What are your future goals?
My future goals are to find an academic position that will allow me to pursue research. Tenure track positions are becoming scarcer, but, in an ideal world, I will be able to attain a research focused tenure track position.
- What does this award mean to you and how will it aid you?
I am ecstatic about this award! This award will allow me to focus on data collection and put me in position to graduate by the end of the year. The award will help push me into the next phase of life and toward starting a career.