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Cassidy PuckettAssociate Professor


  • PhD in Sociology, Northwestern University, 2015
  • MA in Education, Stanford University, 2004
  • BA in American Civilization, Brown University, 2000


Cassidy Puckett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Emory University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. She is the author of Redefining Geek: Bias and the Five Hidden Habits of Tech-Savvy Teens (University of Chicago Press, 2022). Her research has also appeared in sociological and interdisciplinary journals, including Harvard Educational Review, Qualitative Sociology, Social Science Computer Review, and Social Science & Medicine.

Cassidy’s research focuses on the relationship between technological change and inequality. More specifically, she uses a mixed-methods approach to explain differences in adolescents’ ability to learn new technologies—what she calls their “digital adaptability” and measures on a 15-item Digital Adaptability Scale—and looks at how differences in digital adaptability influence educational, occupational, and health inequalities.

In education, she is currently involved in two projects. The first is in Chicago Public Schools and involves 26 schools and ~1300 adolescents from diverse demographic backgrounds. Thus far, research findings suggest that cultural practices—particularly those at home, such as parents helping children overcome a fear of failure when learning technology—may influence adolescents’ digital adaptability more than access to material resources alone. Further, differences in digital adaptability are correlated with adolescents’ educational and occupational aspirations, with potential implications for social stratification.

The second project in education involves collaboration with investigators at Tufts University’s Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. The project looks at how detracking in the comprehensive high school shapes students’ technology and engineering experiences, including what factors structure educational opportunity, in what ways detracking changes or maintains traditional achievement hierarchies, and how teachers and students negotiate the changes brought about by detracking in terms of how they think about and engage in technology learning activities. Finally, the project investigates the implications of detracking for pathways beyond high school. Using a case-study approach in a demographically diverse comprehensive high school outside of Boston, including a survey of 1285 students, initial findings suggest a subtler form of tracking based on math level, highly gendered practice where very few girls engage in any in-depth technology or engineering learning experiences, and confirmation that students’ digital adaptability is related to both technology and engineering course enrollment and future aspirations in these fields.

In healthcare, Cassidy is engaged in a new project that focuses on explaining differences in children and adolescents’ use of medical devices to manage Type 1 diabetes and investigating how differences in technology use may affect various measures of health, such as glycemic control.