Jessica Marie Shotwell (she/her) is a Black Queer second-year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology in 2017. 

Jessica studies health disparities as a mechanism of difference on racial lines, interrogating the structural conditions and systemic issues that shape health behaviors. She prides herself as an interdisciplinary scholar, and her dissertation research draws from Black studies and critical ethnic studies to look at Black girls' experiences with stress and coping in the U.S. public educational system. She is currently collecting qualitative in-depth interviews for her dissertation, funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Her work is guided by Black feminism and a Critical race theory lens.

Jessica is also an abolitionist organizer in Black Youth Project 100's DC chapter, where she serves as Policy Co-Chair. Her activism is informed by the writings and work of Black radicals. 


Areas of Interest

  • Black feminism
  • Black girl adolescence
  • Racism & Health
  • Education
  • Affect theory


  • BS


  • 2020-03-31
    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
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1103A Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building
Department of Sociology
jshotwel [at]