Katie Lynn Cantwell Butterfield


KatieL. Butterfield



Katie L. Butterfield
PhD Candidate
University of California, Merced
(Department of Sociology)

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My name is Katie Butterfield and I’m a quantitative sociologist looking for a research position in the health and wellness industry. I hold a master’s degree in sociology and have 6+ years of experience in mixed-methods research, including work with experts in the fields of sociology and public health. I’ve designed and implemented generative and evaluative research studies using interviews, content analysis, and surveys. I’m familiar with a variety of data collection methods, statistical and qualitative analysis techniques, and applicable software.

My academic research conceptualizing community gardens as localized food and health resources takes two approaches: (1) understanding users by exploring how they describe the values and challenges of community gardening, and (2) evaluating the effectiveness and accessibility of these programs. My work has been published in Sociological Perspectives and Health Education and Behavior.

My mixed methods and interdisciplinary dissertation investigates how race, class, and geography combine to shape access to, use, and benefits of community gardens. I created and administered a complex nation-wide survey of community gardeners and managers, and conducted in-dept interviews with urban and rural community garden organizers. I used this data to investigate how personal investments and garden organizational structures influence how drastic community gardeners’ health improvements are. I also consider the extent to which broader institutional inequalities are emdeded into community gardens through the goals their managers focus on. These interviews show strategies rural gardeners utilize to overcome geographic and resource limitations in building successful and healthy gardens. By highlighting strategies for, and barriers to, reaching disadvantaged populations, this work can help maximize the overall social equity of community gardens.

At University of California, Merced I’ve taught several courses, including Introduction to Sociology and Statistics for Sociology, where I guide my students through ethnographic and statistical research projects. I’ve presented my work at academic conferences and on-campus workshops aimed at audiences with varying technical and research backgrounds. I’m an active member of the Communication, Culture, and Health and Sociology of Health and Equity labs at University of California, Merced. I currently serve as co-chair of the California Economists Collective, and have served on Healthy Campus Network Committee, Sociology Graduate Student Committee, and Graduate Student Association at UC Merced. My work has been supported by the John & Victoria Elia Fellowship, UC Merced Blum Center Seed Grant, and UC Global Food Initiative Fellowship.