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Rachel Nickens portrait

Rachel Nickens


Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Childhood and adolescence
  • Culture and popular culture
  • Education
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Qualitative methods
  • Sexuality
  • Social movements

Rachel Nickens is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Whitman College. In addition to teaching Principles of Sociology and participating in the senior thesis sequence, she teaches courses in family, gender, childhood and adolescence, and the sociology of everyday life.

Professor Nickens’ research broadly explores youth, families, and gender, with a particular interest in young people’s experiences in extracurricular activities and the use of extracurricular activities as part of parenting strategies. Her current research focuses on Girl Scouts of the United States of America, including an ongoing collaboration with a Whitman student looking at the career and gender messages presented to the youngest Girl Scouts.

After a somewhat winding academic journey through International Affairs, Humanities, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Nickens found her disciplinary home in Sociology, earning her Ph.D. from University of California, Davis. She has a deep interest in enhancing teaching and learning at the college level and brings her experience in educational development into the classroom.

Outside of the classroom, she enjoys swimming and cycling, working on the craft project of the moment, and staying connected to the gymnastics community as a youth gymnastics judge.

Ph.D. Sociology (Designated Graduate Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research)
University of California, Davis

M.A. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
University of Cincinnati

B.A. International Affairs and Humanities (Women’s Studies)
Florida State University

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