Julia Wilson

Director of Government, Foundation, and Academic Grants; Visiting Associate Professor of Sociology

Morlan Hall, Room 210


I occupy a dual role at Bethany College, where I help the college raise and manage grant funding to support its programs and teach the occasional class. Prior to coming to Bethany, I served as Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at Emory & Henry College. I also spent several years teaching mathematics and science at the secondary level in both Maryland and Virginia. I also worked as an actuarial analyst for both Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland and CIGNA as well as a legislative policy analyst for the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

I meandered to my career as a sociologist and grant professional, as my bio suggests. I finally realized that I wanted to use my quantitative skills to study the social forces shaping human behavior more than natural phenomena or math in its own right. All of my life experiences and the lives of many people I have encountered through them have influenced my work as a sociologist, both as a teacher and scholar. My skills as a sociologist, in turn, inform my approach to grant writing and grant management.


I hold both a Ph.D. (2006) and an M.A. (2000) in Sociology from the University of Virginia. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Mississippi, where I earned a B.S. in Mathematics in 1984. Additionally, I completed graduate coursework in education and in health care administration and workshops in Hierarchical Linear Modeling and NVivo.

Areas of Passion & Research
My professional interests include issues of inequality, particularly gender, sexuality, race, and social class. I love to read works from other fields, particularly history, to enhance my sociological understanding of these issues. Much of my scholarship has focused on the gender division of labor among married couples and, more generally, work-life balance.

Personal interests
I love to spend time with my human and canine family, which includes my spouse, our two daughters, and our two “rescue” dogs. I travel to both international and U.S. destinations as frequently as possible and I am thrilled when my family joins me, which is most of the time. I also enjoy cycling, reading, and music.

Favorite Quote, Book, or Movie … Why?
Do I have to pick just one? Books that have stayed with me and influenced both my personal and professional outlook include “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, “1493” by Charles Mann, “The Devil’s Highway” by Luis Alberto Urrea, and “The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood” by Sharon Hays. I loved both “Americanah” by Chimamonda Ngozi Agichie and “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. My motto: So many books, so little time.

Fun facts

  • My first international trip was a performance tour of England, Scotland, and Wales as part of the Concert Singers, an a cappella vocal group at the University of Mississippi.
  • An avid U2 fan, I once followed the band to their hotel and managed to get autographs from Larry Mullen and the Edge.
  • I became a Cubs supporter at age 8, much to the chagrin of most of my extended family who root for the Cardinals.
  • In 2004, I joined a women’s only cycling tour of the Canadian Rockies and rode from Banff National Park to Jasper (both in Alberta). My first long-distance cycling trip in 1998, when my spouse and I rode 150 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Volunteer Work

Much of my work in the community has been tied to my work as a teacher, since I believe that community engagement is critical to developing a sociological understanding of our society and others. During my time at Emory & Henry, students and I collaborated with several community partners on events and projects, including the regional Migrant Health Network, part of the Southwest Community Health Systems; People, Incorporated; the Russell County (Va.) Government; Glade Spring (Va.) Head Start; Meadowview (Va.) Elementary School; Manantial de Vida (local Hispanic Congregation); and the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol/Washington County, Va. Currently, I am part of a group of Bethany community members working to revitalize the College’s trail system.

Recent Publications

  • “At Home Mothers – An Overview” for the EBSCO Point of View Reference Center; “Is this the traditional American family we’ve been hearing so much about? Marriage, Children, and Family Values in Mad Men” (with Joseph Lane) in Mad Men, Women and Children: Gender and Generation in Mad Men, edited by Nancy Batty and Heather Markovitch
  • “The Mommy Track vs. Having It All: The Reality of the Modern Workplace” in You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: Women, Politics, and Popular Culture, edited by Lilly Goren.